I am one little voice, and I am also a private person. But today I am pissed and sad, and I want to vent. Twenty-three years ago I converted to Islam. For those who know my soul mate and dear husband, it’s also known I didn’t convert to Islam to please him. It was my choice, and I did it for one reason: God, which is English for Allah, led me to Islam. Simple.
Now why was I allowed to convert to Islam with no fear from being persecuted? Because of the sacrifices made by my direct ancestors through my father’s family who came on the Mayflower to escape religious persecution, by my ancestors who defended, this country in every war from the Revolutionary War thru the Vietnam War, because of the sacrifices made by Veterans, including my parents who ARE and forever will be United States Marines,and because of those currently serving in the military, including my lovely cousin and those four Marines who were slaughtered in cold blood in Chattanooga, Tenn. on July 16.
I also have been to Pakistan a few times, and I’ve lived there, too. It’s a beautiful country with beautiful people. In all my time there, I was always treated with the utmost care and respect, whether as a guest in the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, or in the villages of my mother-in-law and father-in-law, or in my favorite place of Kohat, or the cities of Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and several other places. Like my family, many members of my husband’s family have military background. May be it were the striking similarities and the identical sacrifices in my and my husband’s families that lead Sami (Khan) to marry an American and take her home. I was even able to visit some of the most beautiful rest houses, messes, and the elite Pakistan Military Academy from which my husband graduated.
Sadly, my country, my husband’s country, and the ancestral homelands of my children — USA and Pakistan — and countries all around the world are suffering at the hands of people who corrupt the beauty of Islam. These people are not just killing and hurting the innocent non-Muslims, which is FORBIDDEN in the Quran, our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters all across the world are also losing their lives in their bloody and senseless campaign. And they are doing this during the holiest of times, Ramadhan, on the eve of EID!!
This “vent” is not about which government, religion, or people is at fault. As an American, I don’t agree with all of my government’s policies, but because of the sacrifices mentioned before, I have the right to vote and try to help get someone in office that I do agree with. I also have the right to practice my religion.
As a Muslim, I have the right to “enjoin the good and forbid evil.” Hatred is destroying our beautiful religion. Hatred is evil. As an Ummah we need to join together and fight this evil somehow. On the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (RA) who said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Sahih Muslim]
So as a middle-aged housewife I can fight the battle with my heart, my tongue, and in small ways with my hands by casting my vote on election day to amplify my political power and influence on decision-making. Remember empowerment brings influence and which can impact politics. The realm of American politics may be tricky but the reality of Americans being kind-hearted people remains a simple truth. And this fact stands true for the country’s seven million Muslim population as well. There may be a few rotten apples in both barrels, but we don’t need to throw all the apples out. We need to pluck the bad apples.
A very simplistic vent with no real answers to the cruelty on a world-wide scale. But let’s do what we can, one little step at a time….
The author is a Virginia-based freelance blogger. She is married to a noted businessman of Pakistan descent.
Filled under: Guest Blog, U.S., ViewsWeek Exclusive