Another note by Juliana…
The world all of a sudden seems so small to me. I met a group of friends in Austin through Katie from a place called Bahrain that seemed so far away… then this past weekend we were actually there. It’s so much like Austin but all of sudden we were the foreigners and they were the locals. It just happened to be F1 weekend and we had a blast! After graduation everyone left Austin and it was so amazing to see everyone back in their own hometown.
Even on this small island of Bahrain they announce prayer time and people are not afraid to leave a room to take a minute to pray. I have felt so proud to be from the United States and love our American dream motto, but I realized there is a small portion of this middle eastern culture that I am jealous of. I am jealous that here people can openly pray and every tourist that steps onto this land knows the religion and culture they are willingly walking into. I wish that Americans could stand behind their religion the same way. I would be an even more proud American and even more ecstatic as an American Christian if our country wasn’t so willing to back down from a fight when some one challenges our rituals or mottos due to their own religious beliefs. I still stand beside the idea of an open mind and friendly smile to a foreigner in our country but some things have been a part of America since its very beginning and we should welcome new comers but not at the risk of losing sight of what our country stands on. Today Katie and I went to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and I couldn’t help but feel envious of such a beautiful creation that people are so proud of, and for good reason. This place is flourishing with artistic detail from floor to ceiling.
I imagined what it would be like on a religious day filling over with people pouring in for gender segregated ablutions and prayer. What an amazing and spiritual experience it would be no matter what your religion is. Then as beautiful and inspiring as it was I tried to imagine a Christian walking in and complaining because there are no crosses or that the multiple prayers are heard from the road. I think the government and leaders here would laugh in their face and I can’t blame them. I know The United Arab Emirates does not label themselves as a cultural melting pot as we do in America but it would just be nice to be as proud and public of our founding religion as they are here.
BY: Juliana Garcia