"Oh, you don't look like a Muslim..." "Oh, I didn't know you were a Muslim - you speak English so well!" "Oh, you're a Muslim? But I thought you're an American..." I've heard these comments countless times since 9/11, although I've lived in this country for 30 years & have been proud to hold a US passport since I was 18! There remains so much confusion & misunderstanding about what it means to be a Muslim, especially an American Muslim. Yes, I'm an American Muslim - my skin is brown because my parents are from Sri Lanka & Pakistan, my English is excellent because that's the ONLY language I speak, & I pray to God every day. The same God which Jews & Christians pray to - the God of Abraham, Moses, & Jesus - simply God...yet why do so many of my fellow citizens continue to view my religion with suspicion & hatred?
Even after my two teenagers & I wrote 'The American Muslim Teenager's Handbook' in order to dispel stereotypes & misconceptions about Islam - we still hear racist & negative comments, whether in the media, the blogosphere, or letters to the editor in newspapers across the country. After 8 years, why are so many people still so intent on willfully misunderstanding me & my religion?
I was the Vice President of the Arizona Interfaith Movement - interfaith dialogue & religious pluralism remain my passions in this life. I dream of a day where people of all faiths (or no faith) can respectfully share their beliefs with each other, a day where a person kneeling in a pew or prostrating upon a carpet are viewed equally as co-religionists on their spiritual path, a day when my children are proud to be called 'Muslims'...
More information about text formats