To My Non-Muslim Friends,
Thank you for understanding me, thank you for supporting me, thank you for defending me. Growing up in today’s society has been pretty difficult with all the anti-Muslim beliefs; there are extremists in every religion, not just ours. It just so happens to be that if there is a terrorist attack, they must define it as Muslim or non-Muslim.
I have been petrified to tell the world that about my religion because it brings an endless supply of negative emotions. Ever since I was five, my family and I have suffered through racial profiling and fear that we can no longer practice what we believe in. Our mosque was desecrated before which shocked me; I guess I was too naïve to think that others could be terrified and angry enough to shatter another person’s relief and comfort.
Ignorance is a frightening idea. It is used for good and evil. It can either protect us from the truth or annihilate all that we believe. Ignorance is like a pair of glasses: it can make the world brighter or darker. Don’t get me wrong though; sometimes ignorance is beautiful! I’d rather have my world as a steady rock than as turbulent as the sea.
Back to the main point now.
I reluctantly told you guys what my religion was and I was terrified I would be judged or blamed for something I had absolutely no control over.
I was scared of losing you…
For years I had constructed a wall as high as the clouds to protect me from possible abuse. I didn’t want you guys to turn your back on me. But these words had to be said. My heart dropped devastatingly low when the words crawled out of my mouth.
However, you welcomed me with open arms and a curiosity for something you didn’t understand. You politely asked me questions to figure out what it meant to be a Muslim and we talked about traditions. You found out that it wasn’t necessary to wear our headscarf because that was tradition and tradition depends on what your society thought was the most important qualities. You found out that it was a choice to eat pork. You even found out that I was the nicest person that you knew. But, you already knew that I was nice because you were my friends first.
Ever since I confessed that I was a Muslim, you guys were always there to support my religious choices. Whenever there was a party, you guys would always label things to tell me that they had pork. At cookouts, your parents would go out of their way to make sure that there were enough beef products to feed me for months! And the best thing of all, you guys always wished me the best on holidays. You would text me at midnight when the holiday began and you would wish me the whole shebang!
It always broke my heart knowing that I had such wonderful friends who didn’t care what color my skin was, what I followed, or what I did with my life.
You guys were resilient and unflinching to protect me and love me and I love you guys more than the world! There are no words to describe how grateful and how appreciative I am for knowing you; I only wish that I return all your support you have shown me in the last couple of years. You guys have shown me what true friendship is.
You have shown me what true sisterhood is! And I don’t believe I can compensate for all of that you have done for me! Like watching out for me and telling someone off for saying a racial slur. Your tolerance is admirable and your souls are as bright as the sun. I sincerely hope that I never lose your un-wielding kindness.
Love you through thick and thin,
Hannah- Your friendly Muslim!