So Why Did You Become Muslim?

One of the most common questions put to me is, “so what was it about Islam that made you convert?” It is interesting on how the demographics of this inquiry break down. Overwhelmingly, the vast majority of those who seem [and this is putting it “politically correct”] puzzled are of a Whiteamerican background. Today’s interlocutor was a white woman, raised in Minnesota, who has had very little to no real world experience with Muslims. Instead, as admitted by her, she’s only informed by popular media.

Our conversation started out on another track but ended up on her realization that I was a Muslim [a fact, that she stated, she “never knew about me before”]. She followed up her new found view of me by asking why I became a Muslim. It was phrased as, “what was it about Islam that made you want to be a Muslim?” I replied that it was not a mere single item but yet the amalgamation of my 19 years as a human being, my rearing from my parents, who being moral people, led me to be attracted to the moral teachings of Islam and so and so forth. She became irked, stating that I was “dodging the question”, which I in turn asking what that question was. Instead of clarifying her point, she instead asked why so many Muslims adhere to extremist views! I asked her what she meant by this, where she added that in the Middle East, so many Muslims are willing to blow themselves up with innumerable innocent people. She found that a “curious morality”. I asked her, keeping in line with her apparent way of thinking, what she thought of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, or Timothy McVeigh? She quipped that despite these groups or these individuals partaking in violent behavior or association with violent groups, “it didn’t measure with the numbers of peoples hailing from the Muslims world”. She pointed to Iraq as well as the 9/11 attacks on New York City. When I then questioned her about the atrocities committed by Christians against the indigenous peoples of the Americans [North, Central, South and the Carribean] as well as the countless millions who were slaughtered in the Atlantic slave trade as well as the numbers of Germans [who were not all Nazis], who were white and of Christian backgrounds, who supported the extermination of millions of Jews, she again appealed that the still didn’t compare the barbarity of the Muslim world.

Our conversation took a turn toward the heated as I fed her back her words, leaving her perplexed, that essentially, whenever someone white or European, who was also a Christian, performed some heinous act, that it was an unfortunate event, somewhere far off in History, that was made “alright” by the kindly efforts of the Europeans to accommodate these groups in the aftermath [Civil Rights, Black History Month, Latino Heritage Month, etc.]. That it is somehow valid for millions of brown-skinned people to be murdered, subjugated and wiped out, all in the name of Progress – that their actions were accidental, unfortunate but somehow justifiable and ultimately redeemable. Yet, when similar actions [even if they were to a far lesser extent or intensity] on the part of Muslims, it was precisely their Islam that informed them, with no chance of being just “fallibly human”.

I am sharing this because these conversations are becoming more frequent, at least as far as me being the target/participant. Muslims are going to have to find a way to not simply counter these attacks or measures but find a way to “deal with them”. This will prove to be extremely difficult when the other half of the conversation believes they never evolved out a history.

And God knows best

2 Comments So Why Did You Become Muslim?

  1. leia905@yahoo.com'Irisblue

    I ran into the same problem at work the other day. I was struck by a couple of things. One, that people seem to have no clue about how bigoted they really are and two, they have no idea who Muslims are. This idea that white is right is so deeply entrenched in people’s way of thinking…you’re so right-it’s as if white people and the western worlds didn’t evolve out of their own bloody history. Certainly the fact is ignored that many of the issues facing non-western nations can be traced back to western/european maipulations.
    I wonder what it must be like to be so assured of your assumed natural supremacy in the world…from the toothless illiterate who refuses to talk to me because he thinks I don’t speak english to the “leader of the free world” who is waiting for the rapture to snatch his arse up.
    From a social psych perspective we see groups who are different from us as being all the same with no diversity, while we see our own group as being diverse and make allowances for personal differences. In theory its interesting, but seeing it put into practice is scary and in the end theory is no excuse for this type of thought process.
    Everytime someone makes a stupid comment to me I make du’a that their child marries a really religious Muslim. That’ll teach them:)

  2. scooby@doo.com'Umm Zaid

    Salaam ‘Alaikum

    Iris Blue: Ending it by making such a beautiful du’a is a constructive way to channel your energy. Let’s add in that we hope they eventually become pious Muslims as well.

    I find these conversations extremely frustrating. I don’t even do them anymore. It’s so far divorced from the reality here on the ground. It’s like there’s White People Land and then there’s Everybody Else Land. Their vision of the Middle East and the people here is so far divorced from what’s really going on here. And I just think that they will never get it. I don’t even know where to begin most of the time, and I wonder if you can begin with people who insist that all of your neighbors and friends and family are homicidal maniacs, and that “somehow” there’s just something different about us Mozzies that makes us respect life – even our own — and peace less than the whole rest of the world… and that when the White Man was (is) disrespecting life and peace, well, that’s different! That’s Christianity or progress or democracy or bringing liberty or whatever they want to call it this week.

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