I came to the United States in 1971. I came as a visitor, and CHOSE to make this country my home. This is my home. I consider myself a practicing muslim and have never found being in America in any way to hinder with my practices. I like to pray as often as 5 times a day, fast during the month of Ramadan and have been to the Hajj pilgrimage a few times. My friends have always been very sincerely interested in all my practices, and I have never been hesitant to share with them my experiences. I have been asked to give talks/ presentations to womens groups and have been received with utmost cordiality and a desire to get to know me, my faith and how I practice. It has always been my pleasure to promote their understanding of Islam. To me, Islam is a way of life...I do not practice Islam as a religion per se. I know of no other way to live my life. Ofcourse that does not mean I practice Islam in its perfection...I just try to do the best I can with all my human shortcomings. Islam teaches me to be patient with myself, and with my fellow human beings...in this too I am not perfect and slide from time to time...more often than I would like to, but this is also part of being human. The most beautiful thing about Islam I find, is its Universality. I try to visit church gatherings, temples of various faiths an pray with all of them and feel one with them. So far I have found nothing that is in any way uncomfortable in any of these services or gatherings. To truly appreciate other religions, I have been taught by my family and my teachers ; is to keep an open mind and to embrace the universality in religions as opposed to dissecting the minor differences. I am not a scholar...just an interested student/human being. I love people, I love being a part of this cosmos and I know i am not created in vain. My existence serves a purpose. I am part of a whole. I make this life whole and it does not matter if only in a tiny way.
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