Did You Know? As of 2010, there were an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity.
( v i a )
Heads up – Muslims come in all shapes/ forms/ colors/ background
s/ beliefs/ families/ countries/ parents/ lifestyles.
They do not all wear a hijab or thobe or a long beard. They are not all brown. They are not all from the Middle East. They ALL have long, black, thick, curly, beautiful eyelashes.
As much as I would love to say I’m a scientist and am knowledgeable on this subject because of my time living in the U.A.E., I’m not. This is basic common knowledge.
You probably have Muslim friends. And you might not even know it. Hello, my Muslim brother.
Some Muslims pray at every call to prayer. Some don’t pray at all. Some believe all words of the Quran. Some have never read the Quran.
I feel like the word Muslim is connected to an image of what that looks like to a lot of Americans & I wanted to paint a realistic picture, because even I wasn’t as aware as I am now.
Muslims are white skin, Muslims are from a small town in Poland, Muslims are your suburban neighbors, Muslims donated to your charity, Muslims work at Starbucks, Muslims drive toyota’s, Muslims are Canadian, Muslims have blogs where they talk about fashion & dessert, Muslims wear gold chains & Adidas, Muslims wear short sequin dresses & fake nails, Muslims listen to Eminem, Muslims listen to Beyonce, Muslims are blonde, Muslims go running at 5:00pm after they leave work.
Muslims are from Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. They’re also from Jamaica, South Africa, Honduras, France, Canada, and The United States.
Lucky me, I have my own little Muslim immigrant. With everything going on last week having this immigrant has kept my anxiety at a steady level 5. And, in order to keep the playing field fair, I’ve asked him a thousand terrifying questions, staring directly into his eyes, waiting for him to feel the same anxiety that I have.
The truth is, he doesn’t.
Visa’s and being allowed entry to the United States is not something new for him. We’ve been struggling the past two years with ways to get into the immigration system. I think we had enough moments to make the current situation feel like a breeze? That’s the reality of immigration, IF you’re trying to do it legally. Wondering if we’ll get through customs (I say we’ll cuz I’m considering us same-same), is our normal. Countless times I’d be waiting at the customs exit doors crossing all my fingers & toes that my precious Muslim immigrant would come through doors without being denied & sent back home. Two years ago, after a grueling customs process, we were told by an immigration lawyer that Visa’s get denied in the airport all the time and they don’t need to give a reason, so hello reality, American’s are finally meeting you.
Immigration is tough. No matter what side you’re on.
So what I want people to know is that no matter what side you’re on, it’s ok. You can still be compassionate. You’re still a human being. Some people/families are hurting, some are not. It’s ok to push your opinions aside (trust me, we all know them) and be a human being to another human being. That’s it, simps.
For example, if you live next door to a Mexican family that’s being deported & the immigration officers come knock on the door & are stripping the parents from the house as the kids cry with screams for their parents – and you agree that illegal immigrants should be deported. There are two ways to act: 1. You sympathize, feel compassionate & act like a human being. 2. You scream out the door “GOOD! LEAVE YOU MEXICANS! GET OUT OF HERE!” Possibly with a huge sign.
Don’t be #2.
There’s opinions & loud noise flooding every outlet of social media, television & papers. But you don’t have to do that. You can, but you don’t have to. Why not have a conversation with your friends, ask the Muslims you know (because you know one, trust me) how they’re doing. What they think about everything. Having that compassion, completely disregarding loud opinions, is so completely refreshing. Genuinely see what the fuck is up, salam aleikum my brother. (I just like using the minimal Arabic that I know, forgive me.)
With everything so elevated, it’s wonderful to have a conversation. And you DO NOT have to push anyone into feeling bad, scared, or anxious – like I did.
At this point my precious immigrant is milking it:
“Katie, please hand me the remotes, I need to watch TV all night to distract me from the problems” “Katie, please make me dinner, my stomach is hurting, it must be the stress”. “Katie, if you go buy me a large Toblerone I’ll feel much better as it’ll remind me of home.” “Katie, Maybe playing video games all day will put me at ease”
(WTF have I done)
My point is, maybe you’ll talk to someone with a visa & they won’t be super bothered. Figure out why. Maybe they have a spin on things that you didn’t understand before. Now is the time to be a human being, be kind, be thoughtful, and ask questions. Keep an open mind & listen.
We’re choosing to be patient through this process, like we have been. I don’t believe the end of big change is near, so taking it day by day while eating Toblerone’s & watching American Crime Story, is how we’re handling current events for now. It’s good to be alive.