Thursday, September 11, 2014

What would happen if you sat beside me?

We're not in grade school anymore right? Well when you convert to Islam it feels like you are plunked right back there. This month I will have been a Muslim for 23 yrs insha Allah. When you convert you lose your friends and family least that's what happened to most GenX converts. BabyEcho converts have chill parents that used to be hippies so it plays out a bit differently. But then you think hey there will be replacements. Not so much. You go to the mosque and no one wants to sit with you. You are not from their country, do not speak their language, are not engaged in their country's politics etc etc. You go out into the world and your countrymen don't want to sit with you either. They think you are a foreigner, a terrorist. You spend your new life sitting alone, being alone. At first its are deeply involved in learning Islam. You are in love with it. But then? What would happen if you sat beside me? Would the world end? Or would you make a friend? The other day I saw a woman and her daughter from the library and told my daughter to say hi. She did and also sat with them leaving me alone like a freak. My daughter said would you like to sit with my mother (my daughter is 5) and the woman said and did nothing. Then at the park I was sitting on a bench with room beside me but a mom/grandma avoided the bench and went to sit on the....curb. Really? What would happen if you sat with me? I promise I don't bite. Before becoming Muslim I don't ever remember being shunned like this..well the popular girls like to play that game but I just ignored them; I had my own friends. But now when everyone shuns you it becomes glaringly obvious. You know you don't even have to talk, just sit next to me. Would it hurt you? Seriously? How bad could it be? Half my life (almost) I 've been Christian and half my life I've been Muslim. So either way I could easily talk to anyone. I always have in fact and have never been afraid to sit with you. Now come sit with me.


  1. "What would happen if you sat beside me? Would the world end? Or would you make a friend? "

    This is a question I would love to ask the parents at my daughter's Islamic school. I went to pick up my daughters from school today, my 1st grader's class was taking a long time to finish up and I was left waiting while my kindergartener played with her friends in the playground. A few women I made small talk with last year looked right through me today as I tried to make eye contact and smile directly at them, they were with their friends....I realized that was it, I'm not part of their group and that is exactly why they only talk to me when they are alone. Another woman who made it painfully clear last year that she doesn't like me made it her priority to sit right next to me and then turn her back to me and loudly talk to her friend. I get it. When I have the opportunity to make non Muslim friends I shut down, I may not appear to be a Muslim so when people realize it they suddenly walk away, stop talking to get my point. My religion usually comes to light when I'm asked what school my kids attend.

  2. Asalaamu Alaikum Stacey

    So sad isn't it? We don't fit in anywhere! Wished we lived closer. You'd think that mothers who sent their kids to Islamic school would be more inclusive eh? And look what they are teaching their kids! And the non-Muslims and their feel you out questions..within seconds or minutes they have you all figured out. Shallowness is what it is really. Where is the sisterhood in Islam and where is the sisterhood in humanity? People say it gets better but I think that is only if you move to a good location. Many people have told me they suffered in certain places but that once they moved it got better. If I could move I would! How about you?

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  4. sorry too many grammatical errors above.

    Alaikum Salam,

    Sometimes it seems that some people who involve themselves in religious education for their kids do so for the sake of "hey look at me, I'm religious". Of course this isn't the case for everyone, but people like this do exist.
    As far as I'm concerned sisterhood in Islam the way it is now is conditional ie you must dress as I do, you must have the same lifestyle as I do and you must speak the same (1st) language as I do. The word sister is very much abused by some people, or maybe I just have a different idea of what the word means.
    I use to think that if I lived somewhere else things would be different...better, but I'm skeptical now. I use to want to live in England because I thought how great it would be to live in a country with such a large number of Muslim converts. After really looking into it I saw many people who have the same issues as I face here and on top of that there are cultural issues with some Mosques not allowing women in to pray, and the fact that the party lifestyle is all too common with the general population didn't really make it feel like the place I want to raise my kids in. When I was in Syria, I was mostly welcomed, but still felt like a foreigner, I was a curiousity and asked a tonne of questions, but didn't quite fit in, it really didn't bother me though. It was while I was in school in Syria that I was able to make friends, for as long as I'd become Muslim I had felt there was something wrong with me, and that's why no one liked me. I would love to meet more women like the ones I met in that school. Now I think the only better place to live as a Muslim is a place where the community is small and diverse. When you get a large population of one or more cultures, it seems like that is when there are problems, cliques form and are usually closed to "outsiders". These groups are less about Islam and belief and more about saying the right thing in front of others, only worrying about their reputation in the eyes of other people and not Allah SWT.
    Right now I don't think I would be comfortable moving, I'd be afraid that I'd have to go through all this emotional stress all over again, and I don't think I could take it. After the last few years I've just kept my religion and beliefs to myself, it's hard to know if it's the right thing and having kids makes me question even more if it's the right choice.