After 9/11, a big question I got a lot was, “why are you still a Muslim?”
This question was often pre-empted or followed by distaste, horror, or anger with my decision to remain in a religion that, until now, hadn’t received much screen time.
From then on, as it did for many others, my religion now equated to American lives lost, and atrocities committed.
It is hard to justify Islam in a world where many people make assumptions when they heard the word so often equated with something terrible.
It is even harder since we don’t have holiday movies to point to, or music, or décor. Even cheesy Hallmark movies make people equate Christmas with good cheer and good feeling.
When you see it on a TV show, it’s never a good thing if someone is a Muslim. On those shows, it’s more about perpetuating the stereotypes, and thus, the fears.
But to this day, it’s a question I face often, “why are you still a Muslim?”.
You know what’s funny? Now, I actually want to answer it.
Because I do, truly, see God everywhere.
Because I seek guidance in all that I do.
Because my religion teaches patience and understanding.
Because I’ve seen what a feminist Muslim marriage looks like, and because it’s made my husband and I conscious advocates, allies, and feminists.
Because one act or belief does not exclusively make me a Muslim, and another make me less of one.
Please, the next time you assume something about what I believe, ask me about the way I believe.