Get to Know Us!

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Some non minorities who show up at social justice advocacy events don’t actually take the time to learn about the people they’re advocating for. They don’t know us. They haven’t been to our houses of worship, haven’t had a meaningful conversation with us, haven’t been to our schools, have never visited our neighborhoods (somehow our neighborhoods are always considered to be on the bad side of town), and generally can’t put a face to the names of our groups. 

Black people? They’re the waiters at your favorite overpriced restaurant, the maids you hire for your houses that are comfortably situated in the best school districts. Muslims? They’re those people who dress funny that you have seen in the movies, usually in the middle of a bombing scene. Hindus? They’re the people who came up with curry, which by the way is only fashionable to eat if cooked by a white chef who studied in France. Jews? They’re conservative women who wear wigs, and families with a number of children that makes you uncomfortable. Immigrants? They make your tacos and talk funny. Their accents are good for laughs on your favorite sitcom. You see, there are no faces in your mind to mentally put with these names. 

When I think of black people, I think of my lovely friends C and Z, for example. When I think of Muslims, I think of my amazing community of countless people across the world. When I think of Hindus, I think of some old friends that I haven’t seen in a while and another that I try to keep up with regularly. When I think of Jews, I think of a brave author I have on my Facebook, and an activist that I met online who I adore. When I think of immigrants, I think first and foremost of my wonderful Brazilian husband. When I think of the LGBT+ community, I think of several lovely souls that I know.  And so on. And you know what’s so important about knowing real live people from numerous minority communities? It creates empathy. It also opens pathways for honest communication about the very real challenges facing our respective communities. And when those of you who are more privileged than not get to know those of us who are more underprivileged than not, you learn to see us as individual human beings with very real needs. You become better equipped to use your power to advocate for us. 

How can you possibly advocate for people you don’t know and therefore at the end of the day don’t particularly care about? But once it becomes personal – once it’s about your friends and loved ones – you’ll come to know what we need and you’ll work hard to help us get it. Furthermore, you may be surprised to find that you, despite having considered yourself to be a social justice advocate, actually harbor misconceptions and perhaps even prejudice about us. By getting to know us, you’ll bypass the media and get information about our communities from those who know us best: us. You might be surprised to discover that our communities are neither secretive nor monolithic. We are composed of individuals – unique, diverse, and above all: human. 

So, take the time to get to know us. Visit our community centers. Meet us online. Strike up a five minute interaction in the checkout line at your neighborhood supermarket. Listen to our music. Take an introductory language class to learn any one of the countless languages spoken by the world’s population. Travel! Get. To. Know. Us. See for us the beautiful, diverse people that we are. Thank you. 

I’m So Tired 

“What do you think of ISIS?” Smile. Be calm. Be gentle. “Don’t Muslims believe you’re supposed to kill Christians and Jews?” They don’t mean any harm. They don’t know any better. “Do you shower with that on?” Laugh. Take it in stride. “Does your husband make you wear it?” It’s ok. It’s just a question. “I’m not islamophobic. After all, I’m friends with you!” Smile, laugh. Be quiet. You have to give a good impression. You’re the token Muslim, whether you like it or not. These are my thoughts when my dignity is taken away. 

It’s so tiring to always be representing 1.6 billion people from all over the world. As soon as people find out I’m Muslim, which generally is pretty quickly because I wear the hijab, they think they have the right to ask me invasive questions. Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about friends who ask sincere, curious questions hoping to learn more about me and my faith. I’m talking about random strangers who interrupt my meal in a restaurant to demand information in an accusatory tone. There is a huge difference between the two. 

A good example of this is my friend K. She and I often have conversations about faith and culture. She asks a million questions, and they’re all sincere and respectful. She often reminds me that if I don’t feel comfortable answering, that’s ok. THAT is actually wonderful. She wants to understand me. I love answering her questions. 

On the flip side, there’s an incident that happened yesterday. I went to a local gyro joint for a nice Arab meal. The cashier, who I later found out was the owner, asked me why I was wearing a headscarf. I told him I was Muslim. He said he was an Egyptian Christian. I said “Assalaamu alaikum,” and he said “wa alaikum salaam.” We exchanged smiles. I took my food and found a seat. I dug in. A few moments later he pulled a chair up to mine and my husband’s table. He started by asking me why I converted, and I gave him the condensed version of the story. He proceeded to tell me I didn’t understand Christian theology, I didn’t know God and couldn’t know Him or love Him. He told me that ISIS were Muslims, the Quran teaches violence, and Islam is a cult. I patiently gave him simple but logical refutations to his horrible comments. He went on and, during our entire meal.  My husband, I should add, stood up for me and told him off. But I knew I couldn’t say anything.

 If I asked him to leave me alone, his belief that Muslims are evil and rude would be reinforced. I had to be kind. I had to smile. I had to be patient. I had to know theology well enough to give good answers. I couldn’t be just another average Muslim. I had to know so much, be so much. I was representing an entire group of people and all of them would be judged by my actions. 

Forcing every Muslim to answer for the actions of every other Muslim is, to put it simply, unfair. It’s wrong. It’s dehumanizing. Since when do we have a policy of guilt by association? There are over a billion and a half of us. We come from every imaginable country and culture. We are young, old, black, white, Arab, Asian, conservative, liberal, anarchists, tyrants, educated, and illiterate. We are not a monolith. Furthermore, my being Muslim does not give me the magical ability to understand every other Muslim’s mindset. It also doesn’t give you the right to invade my privacy and personal space! Being Muslim doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get to have a meal in peace. I should be allowed to be grumpy without my entire religion and community being judged for it. I shouldn’t have to smile and grit my teeth when people are rude. I should be allowed to tell jerks and creeps to FUCK OFF without risking the safety of my fellow Muslims. I like representing my faith to some degree. I love that people look at me and know I’m Muslim. But I don’t love that they think that by knowing me, they know my entire community. They don’t. They can’t. 

How to Support Your Muslim Neighbors 

So, a lot of people are asking what they can do to support the Muslim community as we face four (who knows? maybe eight!) years of systematic discrimination. Some ideas for standing in concrete solidarity with us to actually relieve our burdens would be to: 1) take flowers and cards to local mosques to show love. 2) start attending interfaith events at mosques to get to know us. We don’t bite, I promise! 3) offer to escort women in hijab if they’re afraid to go out, especially in specific areas. 4) sit with and begin conversing with immigrants and Muslim women you see on public transportation, especially if someone is harassing them. 5) learn how to safely and effectively intervene when a Muslim woman is being harassed, and be prepared to put such skills to use. 6) provide emotional support. Right now we are scared and need love. 7) ask us individually what we need and how you can help us one on one, and then listen to what we say. Above all, listen to us. Right now society isn’t hearing us. 8) Contact your senators and representatives to speak up against policies that negatively affect Muslims. 9) Take part in peaceful protests. 10) Engage family and friends who are islamophobic in discussion. Educate them, and don’t let their hate slide. Don’t go with the flow! They won’t listen to us, so be our voice. 11) Learn the basics about Islam so that you can educate people and also so that you can lose any misconceptions that you may still have. 
There’s always more, but those are some starters. Thank you for your allyship! 

Please share.

Privilege / Privilégio 

Can you walk into a public place without most of the people there turning their heads to stare at you? Yes? That’s privilege. Can you walk down the street in a hoodie and not get shot by a cop? Yes? That’s privilege. Can you go into a store, look at expensive merchandise, and not have sales staff tell you that you probably can’t afford it because of your skin color? Yes? That’s privilege. Can you speak your native language in public in the US without glares and stares? Yes? That’s privilege. Can you eat your own culture’s food in public in the US without people making fun of you? Yes? That’s privilege. Can you dress in accordance with your religion and/or culture without eliciting hateful reactions from the general public? Yes? That’s privilege. Can you say your prayers in public and have people either ignore you or positively comment on your piety? Yes? That’s privilege. Are your major holidays widely celebrated in society? Yes? That’s privilege. You get the idea. Now that you know that you have privilege, acknowledge it and use it to help the marginalized. // Você pode entrar em um lugar público sem atrair olhares fixos? Sim? Isso é privilégio. Você pode andar de camisola na rua sem ter um policial atirar em você? Sim? Isso é privilégio. Você pode entrar numa loja, olhar coisas caras à venda, e não ouvir de um funcionário que você deve ser pobre demais pra comprar tais coisas simplesmente por causa da cor da sua pele? Sim? Isso é privilégio. Você pode falar sua língua nativa em público nos Estados Unidos sem atrair olhares fixos e rudes? Sim? Isso é privilégio. Você pode comer em público nos Estados Unidos a comida da sua cultura nativa sem as pessoas tirarem onda de você? Sim? Isso é privilégio. Você pode se vestir em acordo com a sua cultura e religião sem atrair reações odiosas do público geral? Sim? Isso é privilégio. Você pode orar em público e ou ser ignorado ou até mesmo receber comentários sobre sua piedade? Sim? Isso é privilégio. Suas maiores datas comemorativas são comemoradas pela sociedade? Sim? Isso é privilégio. Você está me entendendo. Agora que você sabe que tem privilégio, reconheça esse fato e use esse privilégio pra ajudar quem é marginalizado. 

Prayer For World Peace

Assalaamu alaikum brothers and sisters.  In light of the horrible violence which is consuming the world in these past few days, tonight including my own country, I found this dua for peace on the Internet and thought I’d share it with you all. 

  “Oh Lord of the Universe! Save us from all words which hurt and bless us with hearts that touch. 

  God, grant us the wisdom to learn from the Guidance that you blessed upon all Your Prophets. 

  Please God, comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow.

  Our Lord, please give us compassion and mutual understanding so that we may live in peace and with justice. 

  Please help us to stop those who oppress, whether they be of our nation, race, or tribe or not. 

  Give us the strength to work for the good of all humanity, and against what is harmful to all of us

  Let our children learn from our errors and work to establish a safer, more peaceful, and just world for all. 

  Guide our leaders to make wise and fair decisions.

  Protect us from hate and intolerance.

  Make us all among those who struggle for what us just, good, and beautiful. Ameen.” 

The World Is Bleeding

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​In Saudi Arabia, during Ramadan – the holiest month of the year – Daesh bombed Medina, Islam’s second holiest city. Many people died. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon. In Turkey, Daesh bombed an airport, committing the worst of sins – murder – in the holiest month. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon. In Orlando, a man inspired by Daesh killed dozens of people, in the holiest month. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon. In Baghdad, yet again Daesh set off a bomb and many people died. People with families, with hopes, and with dreams. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon.
Ya Rabb have mercy on us. So many are dying, the world is bleeding, and we can’t fix it. We are tired of saying “Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon” every. single. day. Grant us Salaam, Peace, in this world. Let the children grow up going to school to learn to read and not to fight. Let them play in the streets without gunfire and bombs marking the rythm of their days. Don’t let them know the pain of orphanhood. Don’t let them see their classmates and playmates die to satisfy the gods of war and greed for whom angry men lay aside their humanity. Save us from ourselves. Ameen.

New Voices in the Conversation Part 2: Multiple Belonging (Hybrid Spirituality)

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~REBLOG~ 

My thoughts: This is very very relevant to me right now. I’d greatly appreciate hearing from anyone who has identified as or does identify as bi- or multi- religious. By the way, I highly recommend this person’s blog! 
The phenomenon of “multiple religious belonging” is now deeply engrained in American Culture – Francis X. Clooney The first time I heard someone referred to as a Jewbu, I thought it was a pejorative term. But it’s not. Jewbu (or Jubu or Bu-Jew) is simply is the abbreviation for a Jewish Buddhist. This fairly recent […]

http://intrafaithconversation.com/2016/03/10/new-voices-in-the-conversation-part-2-multiple-belonging-hybrid-spirituality/

Islam Makes Stronger Patriots, US Study – The Atlantic

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Worth noting: Donald Trump’s calls for a ban on Muslim immigration and the closing of American mosques seem to reflect suspicion that Islam and American citizenship are incompatible. But religion and patriotism are not opposing forces for American Muslims; in fact, they’re strongly correlated. That’s one of the key findings of a first-of-its kind poll […]

https://multiculturalmeanderings.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/islam-makes-stronger-patriots-us-study-the-atlantic/

Destiny Is Crazy! / O Destino É Louco!

Tradução Em Português Abaixo

Two years ago today, our lives changed and we didn’t even know it! On this day two years ago, I added Daniel on my new Facebook account, after losing my first one. When he clicked on “accept friend request”, neither of us had any idea that two years afterwards, we would be married. I almost unfriended him because I thought he was annoying, but I kept him on my Facebook because his smile was so cute! It is amazing that with a simple click our worlds changed. Everything about our relationship has been about strokes of luck, the hands of fate doing magical work, and near misses that have landed on target. Obviously, without God we never would have seen each other on a rainy evening in Brazil – a place I seemingly never should’ve gone. Without God, we never would’ve connected on Facebook or Skype. Without God, we never would’ve conversed – after all, at the beginning we didn’t even speak the same language! Without God, I never would’ve travelled alone to a new (old) country to speak a language I barely knew and stay with people I had never really met. But because of God, those things happened. Because of God, and with a lot of determination and sacrifice, we are here together. Every moment is made even more precious by the fact that it almost didn’t happen. I’m so thankful it did. I love you, Daniel: my soulmate and best friend.

Dois anos atrás, as nossas vidas mudaram e nós nem sabíamos! Neste dia há dois anos, eu adicionei o Daniel no meu novo facebook após perder o meu primeiro. Quando ele clicou em “aceitar solicitação de amizade”, nenhum de nós dois tinha a menor noção de que dois anos para frente nós estaríamos casados. Eu quase deleitei ele do meu facebook pois achei ele chato, mas acabei deixando ele na minha lista de amigos porque ele sempre teve um sorriso tão lindo! É incrível que com um simples clique, os nossos mundos foram alterados radicalmente. Todos os aspectos do nosso relacionamento têm sido um caso de sorte e de magia. Obviamente, sem Deus nós nunca teríamos visto um ao outro numa noite chuvosa no Brasil. Na verdade, nem era pra eu ter ido lá, mas por sorte eu fui. Sem Deus, nós não teríamos conectado nem no facebook e nem no Skype. Sem Deus, eu nunca teria viajado sozinha a um país estrangeiro, para falar uma língua que eu quase não entendia e pra ficar com pessoas que eu praticamente não conhecia. Mas por conta de Deus, e com muita determinação e muitos sacrifícios, hoje nós estamos aqui juntos. Todo momento se torna mais precioso ainda por quase não ter acontecido. Fico tão grata que tudo isso aconteceu. Eu te amo, Daniel: minha alma-gêmea e meu melhor amigo.

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Minha Primeira Postagem Em Português

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Olá, pessoal! Sei que vocês estão pedindo postagens em português há muuuuiiiiiito tempo. Me desculpem por não ter escrito um artigo nessa bela linguagem antes, mas eu tenho medo de errar na gramática :(. Mas, porque vocês continuam querendo um blogizinho em br, vou criar a coragem e vou escrever. Vamos lá….

Recentemente eu vi uma postagem no facebook, dizendo aquela horrível frase, “Bandido bom é bandido morto.” Sinceramente, eu entendo que no Brasil a situação está péssima. Mas, mesmo assim, toda pessoa é preciosa e valiosa, e mesmo quando ela erra nós devíamos dar valor à ela. Tem muita gente de bom coração que acha que a solução aos problemas da sociedade brasileira é legalizar a pena da morte. Pessoas argumentam que legalizar a pena da morte assustaria os bandidos tanto que eles não iam cometer mais crime nenhum. E por uma lado esse argumento faz sentido, né? Mas, para saber qual a solução de um certo problema, em primeiro lugar nós temos que determinar qual a causa dele.

Por que será que alguns adolescentes se tornam bandidos, cometendo crimes horríveis segundo às aparências sem vergonha nenhuma? Bom, na minha opinião – e lembra-se que eu não quero ofender ninguém, apenas quero publicar a minha opinião –  existem muitas causas e tem muitas coisas que a sociedade devia melhorar para salvar os futuros da próxima geração.

A primeira causa é o péssimo sistema de educação. Para saber respeitar os outros e pra um dia criar oportunidades, as crianças têm que aprender! Como alguém que mal sabe ler ou escrever vai obter um emprego bom e honesto, que paga dinheiro o suficiente para se cuidar e cuidar da sua família? Como? É praticamente impossível. Aquela pessoa vai acabar vendendo drogas, roubando, ou se tornando uma assassina paga, simplesmente para se alimentar. A falta de educação escolar, e o fato de adolescentes mal-educados se tornaram criminosos acaba virando um ciclo inquebrável que afeita geração atras de geração. É uma tragédia, na verdade. Quem não tem educação e vive só cometendo crimes não vai conseguir dar um bom futuro para os seus filhos, e o ciclo de pobreza crônica continuará.

A segunda coisa que precisa ser melhorada é o fato de muitas crianças – sim, crianças que nem são adolescentes ainda – não terem exemplos bons para seguir. Em muitos casos os pais não são bem-educados, as escolas não dão uma chance pra essas crianças, na TV só tem besteira que só serve pra tirar elas do caminho certo, e elas não têm nenhum adulto confiável e bem-educado em suas vidas para mostrar pra elas que elas têm o potencial de ser alguém e de criar uma vida boa, sem cometer crimes. Sem esperança e sem a menor orientação, essas crianças fazem o que os amigos ou outros adolescentes fazem, pois acham que vender drogas ou cometer outros crimes é a sua única opção. E como reage a sociedade? Ela, que colocou as crianças nessa situação põe a culpas nelas, por não terem feita a magia de criar oportunidades além de uma vida criminosa.

Por favor, saibam que escrevi esse texto com todo respeito. Amo o Brasil, seu povo, sua linguagem, e a sua cultura. Com certeza eu não quis ofender ninguém. Eu acredito que todo país tem seus problemas e defeitos, mas a sociedade brasileira consegue resolver seus problemas.

Este artigo já é grande demais e eu ainda não almocei hoje kkkkkk. Então, agora chegamos ao fim desta publicação em português, a minha primeira de muuuuiiiiiitas se Deus quiser 😀  Espero que tenham gostado!! Se vocês quiseram, eu faço mais postagens em português. Se não quiseram… bom, talvez eu farei mesmo sem ninguém lendo porque eu amo escrever em português :P. Que Deus abençoe todos vocês. Até a próxima, gente! ❤