It’s Time for Me to Speak: I am an American Muslim

I never planned on giving a bio when I launched this literally magazine , never intended to share personal narratives, never intended to detail my education or merit. This magazine was to be a platform focused on the issues that matter in order to encourage activism on topics that matter. However, due to the recent events in Chapel Hill, the Indiana and Arkansas RFRA laws, the new even worse Indiana law which will allow for discrimination in hiring and employment based on religion, and ending with the arrest of two men here in the Heartland who are being called “home-grown terrorists,” I cannot silence myself any longer regarding these topics.

I am afraid. This threat feels very real. I am stunned and terrified.

John Thomas Booker Jr., 20, was once enlisted in the military and later rejected after posting several comments on Facebook about dying in a jihad–the Arabic word meaning “struggle” or “resisting,” but more commonly used and defined in the West as “holy war.”  Authorities alleged that Booker was on a mission to bring devastation to this rich, vibrant country from the state I call home. Alexander E. Blair, 28, was arrested along with Booker based on evidence that he too allegedly knew of the attack plans and did not report them. Both men are from Kansas. Booker was arrested based on evidence and statements regarding the planning–more specifically, an attack targeting Fort Riley and numerous threats to the safety of soldiers, families and children in a crusade of destruction.

Normally, I write about this type of topic in editorial form, without bias. I ended up with three editorials, none of which had a handle on the heart of the message. I sent the pieces to my editor and my best friend who responded with a series of questions. After reading those, I knew it was time to share a little about me and how these events have censored me, scared me, and changed me.

My parents were both forced to flee Beirut, Lebanon due to the war that was tearing their country apart. The last straw was a car-jacking. My parents were driving their new SUV up the mountain from Beirut to Kayfoun when they were held at gunpoint. The carjackers told my very pregnant mother to run. She did, but she ran to my dad instead of away despite the guns pointed at her face. My father calmed the men down, and gave them instructions regarding the vehicle so they wouldn’t overheat the engine. The men with guns left my parents on the roadside. With sectarian tensions so high, they were lucky to be alive.  

The first thing that my father did was take my pregnant mom to Cairo, Egypt. His goal was her to get her to safety in a country that spoke her language and was similar enough to her homeland that she would feel safe while waiting for her first child to be born. Egypt is beautiful, but it is no Lebanon. And, likely due to the fear my mom experienced after the trauma she endured fleeing to Cairo, my older sister did arrive in Egypt, prematurely.

My father also ensured the safety of my mom’s brother and her parents, and eventually moved us all to Kansas where I was born.

***

I am a Kansas native, born in Wichita, Kansas at Wesley Medical Center on September 13, 1977. Shortly after my birth, we moved briefly to Saudi Arabia where my father exported and imported Coleman Coolers and supplies that, in a desert, proved to be as valuable as oil. Water, clean and transportable to a desert region, was a commodity.

My father was successful in Saudi Arabia. He was wealthy and great friends with one of the many princes of the area. Although my father was very comfortable, my mother was less happy. As a woman, she did not have the same freedom she would have had in Lebanon. By the time I was ready for Kindergarten, we moved back to Wichita, Kansas  and rejoined my mother’s family.

As children, our mother instilled in us–with the help of our grandmother–the importance of freedom of religion. Although we were Muslims in America, our mother ensured that we were able to experience life the way she imagined we would in Lebanon. Our experience in Islam with our mother was nothing like Saudi Arabia. Moving back to Wichita was vital because living in Saudi Arabia was very oppressive for all of us.  

An aside: I never sensed that that the women of Saudi Arabia felt oppressed. My impression remains that with their wealth, these women could travel frequently if they desired. Adulthood lends a new perspective. Reprehensible actions are perpetrated not solely in Islam, but across the world by representatives of varying faiths, including here in the USA. Oppression of women is an example. In some cases many women do not know they are oppressed. In contrast, others fear the blow-back for speaking out.  

Back to my mother’s discontent. Simply, she was not free in Saudi Arabia as she would have been in Lebanon. Unwilling to allow her daughters to live any differently than she expected for herself, she insisted that we leave the Middle East. She missed her country and the freedom she had there, but could not go back because it was no longer her Lebanon. War changes everything. Moving to the States was the only safe option. Our relocation made us one small part of the large exodus of so many Lebanese.

My mother, a stunning beauty, to this day is a strong woman of faith. She is modest, classy, but not a woman who would wear a hijab. (Although, I imagine if it were Burberry or it happened to look amazing on her, she would). After returning to the States she was able to move freely, dress modestly, fashionably, and have faith in God/ Allah as she had in Lebanon before the war.

As for my mother’s family, we taught my grandmother English so she could become a citizen. My uncle, who had studied English as a second language in Lebanon, attended Kansas State for Architecture, all the while blending in with his fair hair, hazel eyes and light skin. These distinct features betrayed not a hint of where he came from.  My grandfather, a man of great joy and humor, worked diligently to earn a living. His English was also excellent, and his fair skin melded with hazel eyes–like my uncle’s–never gave away his status as an Arab and Muslim.

At that time, my aunt and her husband were globetrotting. Her husband. a pilot, and their two children, moved to New York to California and even abroad. She too, with her blonde hair and bright eyes–was strikingly gorgeous. As with my mom, my aunt clung to the more free rules of Islam under which she was raised, back home, amongst other Muslims, in Lebanon. Neither of my cousins (on my mother’s side), myself, nor my sister were ever taught that being a Muslim meant anything more than believing in a higher power and that being good people was the way to win the grace of God/Allah.

We were never told to discriminate, alienate, or judge. We were taught that every person is different even within our own family. My cousin served as a Marine and studied law at Washburn University while his sister remained with her parents jetting back and forth between the States and Lebanon, always traveling.

As I grew up, it became clear I was never going to be like the rest of the women in the family. I was the stereotypical Lebanese woman in my tenacity, will and, most importantly, my voice. Melding the Lebanese woman with American freedom, I transformed into a unique, driven person. I was  insecure and made mistakes, but had a big heart and well-spoken, loud voice. I was once told I was like a bull in a china cabinet by my favorite instructor; a compliment on her part intended to encourage me to use my voice but not destroy the beauty of the message or its importance. A voice cultivated to articulate and represent a new demographic appearing in the United States: Muslim women who, although they believed in Islam, controlled their own modesty, wove science and common sense, and worshipped and believed as they chose.

***

Although, it may seem that I have wandered from the point I was trying to illustrate, let me tie this back for you: the new discrimination laws and the arrest of Booker have been driving my writing in directions that I did not wish them to. Long ago, I gave up on my voice, doubting and subduing it. I inflicted a gag order. I stopped speaking Arabic frequently. I didn’t teach my kids Arabic, and I silenced the parts of me that are Lebanese. It was a slow change that reshaped me.

I began censoring myself on February 26, 1993. On that day, Osama Bin Laden made his first attempt at killing innocent people in New York City during the first Twin Tower attack. My most major censorship occurred on April 19, 1995 when the Oklahoma city bombing occurred. I covered the Oklahoma City bombing as a teenage intern at a local TV news station learning to navigate the field of Journalism. I grew traumatized by the media rhetoric (language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content) in the form of non stop messages, words and accusations–all questions of whether the bombing was an act of terror by Muslims.

From my unique perspective–from the inside looking out–I could see the media rhetoric as it was produced. Forced to endure incessant coverage of the event and press conferences where reporters would ask if it was related to Islam, a door began to close inside me. I took all my faith, all my pride and buried it. I stored it, never nurtured it, never grew it. The young American elementary school student who had once shared a large detailed presentation of Lebanon was no longer feeling safe. This was the reason I chose not to pursue a career in journalism.

After the arrests of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, it was discovered that this attack was not related to Islam at all. Rather, it was the actions of two unstable Americans who were upset over the government’s actions in Waco and Ruby Ridge. It was an irrefutable fact that had the Oklahoma bombing been committed by a Muslim, only then would it be an act of terrorism.

***

9/11. That was the day when everything changed. That was not something I could ignore.

I chose to use my voice. I wrote an editorial for the local newspaper. I’d had an editorial published in this paper before in which I urged young voters to care about the country and vote. I urged them to use their opportunity to create the government they wanted to have, the laws they wanted, the changes they begged for. This time, my editorial was a condemnation of the attack.

The Twin Tower bombings were horrific and my words were intended to echo those of other Muslims who were afraid to speak up. Others like me who wanted to speak and say this is not Islam. I chose to write the editorial for them and myself. September 11, and any other attacks like it are not for God/Allah. What happened on 9/11 was not something any person regardless of religion, race or creed would ever be able to commit if they truly believed in God/Allah.

The editorial was published and applauded by many in the community. I spoke on the radio on one occasion, reiterating the points of my editorial. Any time I spoke about this issue, my words reflected the truth of what I knew of Islam, of God/Allah. Most important was the universal truth that this act was something a real Muslim would never endorse or consider right.

Years of media rhetoric following 9/11 shut me back down.

***

I am now 37 years old, a stay-at-home mom and wife.

If this religious freedom controversy continues, it may cause my family to move out of the United States of America and my birthplace-my home. My children must learn that religion is where you find peace, safety and comfort, and I genuinely do not feel safe or comfortable in saying I am a Muslim in America. I do not feel that speaking up about religious freedom  is acceptable or tolerated.

I am afraid that after writing this essay, the wrong message will be concluded. My parents taught us to be brave, sincere, honest and kind. I have lived my life much like every other American. Made the same mistakes, felt the same heart-break.

When the first plane struck the Twin Towers I was horrified. Seeing the devastation and death of so many innocent people remains one of the most painful memories in my life. I held my breath and hoped the attacks were not the result of Muslim extremist who were indoctrinated into Islam in the wrong way. Traumatized, I quit celebrating my birthday. My birthday is only a few days from 9/11.  Still to this day, my birthday is virtually non-existent. A deep shame resides inside me for that horrible act that was proclaimed to be an act of Islam.

***

If I am to be honest, I must come clean on numerous things. As children, my mother sent us to Sunday school. Her main goal was to socialize us the way she had been socialized in Lebanon. She proudly displayed the holy cross magnet we made at school on her refrigerator till my parents moved from the house we were raised in.

Additionally, my non-Muslim friends know I will take their hands and pray with them as well as for them. When I was in a coma, after the sedation stopped and I was awake, a pastor came into my room. I was very impressed with this man because he knew I was Muslim yet never hesitated to come into my room and politely ask me if it was okay to pray for me. I took his hand and let the words he spoke from the Bible help heal me. This was a man who reflected the ideals which my parents promised Christians would have if they were sincere.

Further, my husband is a Christian with devout Christian parents–a pastor’s son. His father left the States during the Vietnam Era to follow his dream to create art in Canada.  Most importantly, my father-in-law did not believe in taking lives. My husband is a Canadian-born, naturalized American citizen raised in Wichita, just like me.

Our kids are starkly different from one another. While both have the fair skin, the eldest has striking blue eyes and European features. He was born with blonde hair which has turned to an ash blonde while his younger brother has almond-shaped, brown eyes, fair skin and appears to be a muted version of me.

On this day, my choice to open back up and speak about my background is to serve one purpose: there is a lot at stake for me, my family and especially my children. My voice must be heard on this matter because of the diversity within our ranks.

The worst thing to do is remain silent. Silence will hurt my children and change them in the same ways I was changed. I cannot take their faith or pride, and I refuse to bury it to protect them. I stored my faith for too long. Now I will nurture it, grow it and cultivate it the way I was taught by mother and grandmother. The beauty of faith is that when one truly believes in God/Allah, they will find comfort in their prayers and thoughts.

***

While writing, the following were the questions posed to me that I grappled with:

Why don’t people speak out about religious freedom, especially muslims in the USA?

What happened to the separation of church and state?

Can you really tell the difference between an Atheist and a Christian, or a Muslim and a Jewish person?

Will businesses see a person with Middle Eastern features and assume they are Muslim?

How do you know a Caucasian person doesn’t practice Islam, especially a male? Or a person with Serbian ancestry isn’t Muslim?

Exactly how do businesses and employers cite religion to discriminate and alienate and refuse? How are they citing the religious freedom?

And, more importantly, can a Muslim run business cite religious freedom, too?

After trying to edit the three pieces I wrote, those questions became the heart of this story. Just asking them illuminated the conflict brimming inside me.

Although the above questions were enough for me to understand my struggle, I had more to ponder:  

Is this the America our founding fathers fought for?

Is this the world we want to raise the diverse generation that has evolved in our nation?

Is this what America is about?

Is America about oppression, racism, discrimination?

Is freedom of religion even real in America anymore?

Should I change my religion on Facebook?

Should I not wear my Allah charm?

Should I not speak Arabic in public to my mother or father?

Should I deny I am Lebanese altogether and say I am just tan?

The simple fact that these questions trickle out illuminates the obvious. There is something very wrong with the tide that has started.

Think about these questions. They are all about social justice. I hope you will join me in raising your voice to answer:

Is social justice expected for everyone or just a select few?

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62 thoughts on “It’s Time for Me to Speak: I am an American Muslim

  1. Wow, you are one amazing woman. Thank you for writing this and educating others. I was a Christian for most of my life but am now a Spiritualist. I believe the term “freedom from religion” has never been practiced in the USA, nor has the separation of church and state. When I was a Christian we were taught this is a Christian nation, which is a total and utter lie. I do not believe that this country is truly free country. We are loosing more and more of our rights and freedoms every day and we are quickly becoming an oppressive nation. The mere fact that articles such as this need to be written is proof of this. Although there are many Christians in my life who are sincere, there were too many that were hypocrites and bigots. The teachings of the church no longer resonated with me. The Creator I come from, am part of it and is part of me is not one that would discriminate, treat others cruelly or hate. We need to remember, that unless we are Native Americans, we are all foreigners to this country. Someone in our family was an immigrant and outsider at one time. This country was brutally stolen from the Natives and unfortunately to this day the cruelty and entitlement of their ancestors continues. We are all equal because we are all one. Allah loves everyone no matter what they believe, the color of their skin, their sexual preference, their gender preference, etc. Those who are prejudice towards Muslims need to remember that every group has their fanatics and must remember things such as the Crusades, the Inquisition and the KKK, who use Christianity as the basis for their hate. Again, thank you for your bravery.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment . I appreciate that you read it. If you are interested I will share a link that reflects why I love America. Your comment gives me hope. I see in your words the humanity and goodness that truly reflect the importance of faith in God. We are his children . That makes us all family. We must stay united ! ❤

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    2. Please share your own experiences with me. I want to get to know you . OTV was launched due to my reaction to Pence & an essay I had to write about my sister . I thank you for reading. We have a wonderful team on OTV. I’ve stepped back from the page in order to publisher more diverse voices . I’d love for you to share anything so we can connect & find the path out of this maze!

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      1. I have been trying to figure out how to briefly tell you about myself. This will not be easy to do so briefly. I was raised Catholic. As an adult I switched to the United Methodist denomination and then to the Assemblies of God. The rules and rituals of the Catholic church never resonated with me. The Methodist church was not Spiritual enough for me. The Assemblies of God church was way to strict and bigotted for me. Constantly trying to be “a good person” to win god’s approval was exhausting in all three denominations. As someone who has always been able to connect with Spirit, I saw much propaganda and control tactics in organized religion. After losing two babies due to miscarriages, I would ask pastors what they thought happened to my babies after I “lost” them. I would either receive out right lies or “I do not know”. The problem was that the church did not realize that I knew the answer. Practicing psychic abilities was not accepted in the Christian church at the time, and still is not in the Assemblies denomination. I spent my life hiding who I was because I believed I was going to hell for being psychic. My oldest son was atheist and gay in this lifetime. When he took his life over 2 1/2 years ago, I received some very rude and hurtful comments from “Christian friends”. It was my gay atheist son who taught me that these teachings were very wrong before he crossed over and after. It is because of him that I am a more open minded and loving person today. Imagine that? Learning this lesson from a homosexual atheist.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This tells me you are listening to the world around you. My grandmother was a pious woman. I see colors , auras , sounds …point is I was taught that intuition/psychic abilities are real. Did the voice of God come to the prophets on a loud speaker? Was the burning bush a hallucination ? No. Whether one choose to believe or not isn’t important. Faith is much more than a label . My husband is decidedly anti organized religion . He was raised by devout Christian’s in communes. Telling him how and when to pray or judging , excluding hurt him. People assume my parents were controlling . I’m an American Muslim but I swear I have more freedom than many here. There were no gender roles forced on me. I was told that if I wanted to succeeded or expected to have freedoms and equality I had to go after it. It’s bizarre . People assume so much . My perspective is open mind, open heart. I’m sorry for your loss. Having had two miscarriages myself I hurt for you right now. I believe those babies stayed with you. They are in your heart not lost. I think it’s disgusting that anyone would attack someone after they endured the loss of loved one by suicide. Homosexuality isn’t new. The holy books wouldn’t specifically condemn it if it wasn’t happening . We have to remember that they used those laws to control society. Remember your faith, your spirituality and any intuitive aspects of yourself are to be embraced. I get the impression that you were receptive to others because others hurt you by shutting you out. I’m listening . I hear you.

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  2. http://i0.poll.fm/js/rating/rating.jsMany Muslims in the Arab countries have taken advantage of the fact that people can’t read and write Arabic so they misinterpret words of Islam to suit their cause.Some of these are Imams who have learned what they’ve been told instead of glorying in the written word and pass on this perverted teaching to others who form ISIS.
    In the West, many people have grabbed the perverted message of Islam and again twisted it to include all Muslims not even checking that the true message of Islam is different.
    It takes a courageous message like yours to speak up and say what the followers of Islam believe and how they practice their faith.Hopefully more and more people will learn to discriminate between the different layers of Islamic society and see that the majority are just peaceful people doing their jobs and following the dictates of Allah as they were meant to be. Hopefully more Christians will see that it’s possible to live at peace with their Muslim neighbours and allow religious freedom.
    As for those who pervert the message in order to sell weapons or to generate a religious Jihad, they will always be there but perhaps tolerance will diminish their power.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Shareen. I just woke up and read your comment. I am going to read the links you gave me later today. I will definitely tell you my story or you may read it on my blog, ahealinggrief.wordpress.com. The first several blog pieces tells my story, although I do not believe I spoke of my feelings on the direction our beautiful country is going. I will team up with anyone who wants to promote unity and equality. My dream is to see oppression done away with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is fantastic! Common ground is so easy to find. Our humanity is reflected in our choice to accept the differences but be brave enough to speak out against injustice ! We are all unique! We…are Strong!

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  4. Reblogged this on A Healing Grief and commented:
    Last night, before falling asleep for the night, I came across this blog piece written by a very amazing and courageous woman. Although we are all one in Source, one of the reasons we incarnate is to experience individuality. In doing so, we must remember that we are all equal and every group has its fanatics and bad apples. They do not represent the group as a whole, in fact, they do not represent the group at all. We need to remember that we are one and equal. We must strive for unity, acceptance and peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Powerful article. My heart goes out to you.

    I live in the U.K. and have a Muslim friend who has told me recently that she is afraid. She feels it’s an act of bravery simply to wear a scarf in public these days. I don’t think she is afraid of any sort of violence, or eve verbal attack, but she is conscious of being judged. However, she is acutely aware that Muslims in the USA are facing much worse.

    Here in the U.K. Church and State are one, with the Queen being head of state (albeit a figurehead) and head of the Church of England. This is a Christian country. But despite that, it does not permeate politics anywhere close to the degree it seems to in the USA.

    I can only hope that religious freedom will prevail. There are a lot of good people in the USA. That much is obvious. But as you say, the media rhetoric is a constant onslaught of anti-Islamic propaganda these days. However, as time goes on and traditional media starts to wane in favour micro-news from blogs and the like, I hope that people will see the multitude of stories out there – stories like yours – and it will change minds and hearts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t imagine being a visual target. My parents didn’t agree with sectarian rules. Frankly, they despised it. My mom is fiercely independent. My dad taught us that we are the hero’s of our own stories! If we wanted equality we had to work for it. I’m confused by all the assumptions. No matter what I say or how I say it – it’s not enough. Someone will always write a manifesto or threat to me. I can’t even tell you what happened the day after the election. Our team at OTV strived for balance when covering it. Obviously, we had personal essays but we covered the debates in a fun way. I rarely write for my own publication because this magazine was launched after I couldn’t regain silent when Pence started with RFRA & LGBTQ attacks . I chose to keep my FB page public so that readers could see me in my daily life . I have made my life an open book in order to help others see past A label . We will get there. I’m sorry your friend is afraid. I have always been bold and honest because I had a lot of weight on my shoulders-I couldn’t just say nothing . I hate that I’ve been saying this since I was 6. I was bullied for simply being Lebanese.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hugs to you and yours. It stinks how divisive and frightened of “the other” we are (though this isn’t a new phenomenon by any stretch, some version of it’s gone on forever, of course). I have difficulty subscribing to anything that tells me that these people are wrong and those people are, so I’ve forsaken most religion and political associations. Religion and politics are too often in the eye of the beholder now, and we’re a nation of over 300 million pairs of eyes. We’re human beings with different beliefs, and reducing someone different from you as one of “those people”–well, when the hell did anything positive ever come out of that?

    I’ve been trying to fight against it, and if there’s anything I know, it’s that there’s millions of things I don’t know. But I want to know people as people, not who or what they’re supposed to represent. We all have something positive and negative in our backgrounds, communities, etc. It doesn’t mean it defines us, and that’s the problem–it can’t define us because we’re all so much more complex than that.

    Sorry if it’s rambling, my headache’s coming back after an intense working weekend and I need more sleep. Still, hugs and prayers for you and yours…and all of us, really. We all need it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry you have a headache. I hope you are feeling better. I had to step back from the page . A few comments and emails have shaken me. I almost unpublished this. Then I read the comments and saw that overall it’s only 2% of the comments . I hope more will read this and show the humanity and kindness of so many. I shared my story because I am an American and alive by the grace of God and despite a civil war. I know first Hand how dangerous radical religion of any kind can tear us apart. I’m living proof. What confuses me is that I’m speaking on my own behalf and my families. Does my voice not matter?

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  7. Shareen, it not only scares me but it breaks my heart that you no longer feel safe in America. One of the principles upon which the U.S. was founded was freedom of religion, meaning citizens have the right to practice any religion they choose or no religion at all if they so choose. The U.S. was founded on religious tolerance because the colonists had lived under the church and state being one and the same and that’s not what they wanted in their new country. I admire you for speaking out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. This means so much to me. I shared this because I felt compelled to. This isn’t a new conversation for me. That’s the cruelest part. I can’t imagine what it’s like for those who are a visual target. The day after the election was difficult for me. I’ve lived here all my life. Most of it front and center. My son asked me if he could deny I was a Muslim or Arab. Half his DNA he would bury if he could. I don’t understand the divide and conquer . What’s wrong with diplomacy? We are the United States of America. Period. If America hurts I hurt. Humanity is what I know. That’s what I will remember. I’ve asked my dad several times what group or faith the hijackers were. He still refuses to tell me. He says that knowing who did what or who started it won’t bring back the dead. What frightens me is how quickly things escalate. We have to get it together now. We can not wait. Thank you SO much for sharing your thoughts. I feel hopeful again when I see the comments. I feel reassured . ❤

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      1. As much as is possible, Shareen, I have your back. I am almost 64 years old and I don’t recognize our country now. It really makes me sad that your son asked you if he could deny your religion. No child — or adult — should ever be made to feel that way, especially in America. WE’re stronger together!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This article makes me want to get you a birthday present every year just to show how thankful I am that God made you and brought us together as friends for at least a lifetime. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thanks for writing this! It’s important that Muslims speak up. The Muslim voice is totally missing in this matter.
    I’m a Swedish non-Muslim woman interested in world politicks and I found your blog by a coincidence. I understand the fear that is wide spread among Muslims. And not only Muslims. The world is holding it’s breathe for what might appear om Twitter. It’s surreal. Somehow these mad things must come to an end. It’s the only way. Hopefully through education. Speaking without knowledge is dangerous. Thank you again for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! I have committed to being an open book. If I can share my truth surely others will want to . I’ve written a Memorial Day letter from publisher . I hope that sharing more about my life , my story and my family will showcase a truth. We stand together and we will never falter

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  10. Thank you for sharing this. It is very thought-provoking. Reading it, I am reminded that there are many stereotypes out there of what a typical Muslim is or Christian is, etc. But we are all individuals and wonderfully made. On a personal note, as a believer in Jesus, I was wounded by fellow Christians and others who tried to control me, but Christians like that pastor who prayed for you have helped me to forgive. I have discovered that without forgiveness, I have nothing. I have also come to realize that not every person who calls themselves a Christian is a Christian, and some believers cause offense due to immaturity. Anger issues can easily erupt due to miscommunication, and terrorism in any form can result in fear. That’s why it’s good you wrote this, to help bridge the communication gap between people of different beliefs and traditions. Wishing you the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I can only be honest. If you get a chance to read my other pieces you’ll see that my belief is in humanity. When I pray or you pray we are praying for good. Allah translates to God. My dad told me God was in all things I love. That means God is in every person , everything I breathe , eat or love. My heart breaks for anyone who doesn’t see that God is great. Jesus is pivotal to Islam. The Virgin Mary . People assume they know things about Islam that they don’t. I can speak for myself, my family and all those I know. It’s time we start listening. I so appreciate the time you took to respond ! https://otvmagazine.com/category/in-shareens-words/page/4/

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  11. Wow. 2310 Followers! I can learn something here. Re the topic, um, I’m going to chill on the Red Sea for a bit, till the orange baltagi is relegated to a home for the insanely senile.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you much for sharing! I know very little about Islam and the plight of Muslims in America.

    Did you and your now husband have conflicts of faith before you deduced to get married?

    Informative post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No. We have no conflicts of faith or anything related to of. Faith is a deeply personal matter. It’s a gift that each person should nurture for themselves & it is a relationship that is between oneself & and God. Being Good, Being, Kind, Being Human have nothing to do with faith. Those attributes should be universal .

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