I was sitting there, in Luquillo, Puerto Rico, a place where I have never been before, in a house I had never stayed in, with a man in my living room, whom I had not met before that day. He was a Palestinian man, who speaks very little English. His primary language is Arabic. I speak almost no Arabic, and my primary language is English. So, we spoke in Spanish. Even that was difficult, because he spoke the Puerto Rican dialect, ommitting s's and other letters, while I spoke the Mexican dialect. There is one thing however, that connected us more than any other thing. We were both Muslim.I have been Muslim since 1999. I converted from Catholicism, in a search to provide a spiritual and moral guide for my life. Islam seemed to be a great fit. Since then, I found the religion has opened me up to a whole new world. You see, being an American, Latino Muslim, has pretty much made the world my home. I have been to visit Muslim communities in China. Simply because I am Muslim, I feel like, and am welcomed like, I am visiting family. I have traveled to India, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Saudi Arabia. By virtue of my darker skin tone, I automatically fit in, but the fact that I either speak the language or am of the same religion, almost gives a sort of celebrity status on occasion. You see, India and Saudia Arabia, don't see many Mexican visitors. But, a Mexican American Muslim! They look at me like I came off of Galapagos Island.You see, I'm not such a rare breed here in the U.S. In fact, I've found that the world is becoming more like me every day. Or perhaps it is more humble to say I have become part of the natural evolution of the world. As I continue to travel, God willing, I will continue to discover the goodness of humanity and incresingly more cosmopolitan world we live in.My friend, Zayad, in Puerto Rico, will always be my friend. He helped us a great deal while we knew him for those 6 short days, and we had him and his children over for dinner the night before we left. And he, may God reward him, did even more for me, because as he stated, I was a traveling Muslim. How many of you would do that? Invite a strange man, in a foreign place, into your home for dinner, only because he is the same religion? Well, we did, and he'll forever be my friend, because first, he's my brother in Islam. He's progammed into my phone as "Zayad de Puerto Rico" to be sure I don't forget who he is.
(The picture I attached is my family in Puerto Rico: my wife and children,and In-laws)
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