I was an exchange student in Berwyn, IL on 1993-1994. My host Mom is a minister at a local church there, while I am a muslim. This is the first time when I truly learned about understanding differences.
Being a Muslim to me is like anyone else being whatever they are: Christians, Hindus, atheists. It's a part of our identity and it is what we believe in. As we are growing up, there are times when we question about our identity, so was I questioning about my faith. I am not saying that I am a devoted muslim, but yes, it is soemthing that I believe in.
Muslim world (if you want to call it) is not complex at all. It is a part of identity that connects us with Allah, as God. It is people's cultures that make things complicated and complex. I strongly dissagree to generalize all muslims. People generalize Iranians, Palestinians, poeple of Aghanistan as Muslims, while not all of them are muslims. People should not see other people only from what religion they follow. For instance, we see Americans as Americans, not Christians. We see Europeans as Europenas, not necessarily as Christians. That is why, I think it is ridiculous if Americans wants to embrace the muslim world. Which muslims? Indonesian? Egyptian? Arabian? Don't you have muslims also in your country and don't you want to learn from them first? Or is it the reason behind the hatred from the Iraqis, the Iranian and so on that you want to learn?
I am an Indonesian as well as a Muslim. Islam is my religion, it is about me and God. As an Indonesian, I also have Indonesian culture that runs in my blood. Islam, as well as Indonesian culture, really value harmonious life. Which I believe, the same thing is also valued in other religions. To me there is no muslim/Islamic culture. There are only Indonesian, Arabian or American cultures and some or most of the people happen to be muslims.
Religion is like love. You can't really describe why it is beautiful. You just drawn to it and surrender your life to it.
So, to me, being a Muslim is just like any other people. We breathe, we eat, we go to work. We valued different things because of our different cultures, but we pray the same way.
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