Today we are hearing from another amazing Muslim woman from the Peoria area. I think you will be fascinated with her answers, as I was.
Were you born in the states?
Yes I was! In Peoria, IL.
Where is your family from?
My dad is Palestinian, but his family left a few years before he was born and raised in Jordan! My mom was born outside of Peoria, Il her, family is a mix of German and Czech
Why do you wear (or choose not to wear) hijab?
I choose not to wear the hijab because it is a commitment I am not ready to make. I believe it is such an amazing thing to decide to wear it, but I am not ready for it. I want it to be from my heart when I decide to put it on, from my relationship with God not because of feeling pressure from the community. I think it is such a beautiful thing when the girls decide on their own to wear it and for the right reasons.
What does your Islamic faith mean to you?
Straight forward the faith means to me a sense of peace, using its translation. That being said, it makes me at peace to have a relationship with God. It is peaceful. Our morals, ethics, and rules supply our lives with peace and meaning.
What is the most important thing in all of life? Why?
God of course is important, as the creator of all of us and then I would say my family. I am so family oriented and I couldn’t imagine life without them. They love and support me as I do for them. They lighten up my life!
What has your experience as a Muslim woman in America been like?
Since I do not wear hijab people do not always think I am Middle-Eastern. I usually get other ethnicities. When people do know, I have gotten many questions, support, etc. It would be a lie to say I have not been harassed, which is funny because again, I don’t look the part.
9/11 I was in fifth grade and had a classmate come up to me and yell at me “Why did your family do this to us? It was your Uncle wasn’t it?!” At the time I had no idea really about my faith, coming from a small town predominately Christian. Again, freshmen year of college I was faced with a classmate coming up to me while studying Arabic, asking me questions like “Are you even proud to be American?” And telling me how disgusting I am, my language and culture. At the time these instances almost made me shy away from my culture and religion but now as an adult I couldn’t be more proud. Sadly it’s people who make our religion ugly.
Share your thoughts on ISIS, terrorism, and war.
ISIS breaks my heart. I am not one to follow the news or get into much detail about terrorism, wars, etc because it does stress me out. ISIS genuinely feels like it struck home with me….it breaks my heart and genuinely hurts that people who don’t know Islam would claim that this has something do with our beautiful religion. When the pilot from Jordan was murdered I spent the whole day having anxiety and crying. My family is in Jordan now and it really felt real. ISIS and terrorists are no representation of Islam. They are slenderizing our religion’s name for their own selfish purposes. We get enough people confused about our religion…it kills me that these people would help increase people’s lack of knowledge. Islam is against war and terror.
Things from the Quran can be taken out of context where people say we must kill to help our religion survive but really our Quran says “and do not kill a soul that God has mad sacrosanct, save lawfully” and “whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.” I wish ISIS would end, and terrorism, and war. I hate that when one thing happens I immediately start praying to God, “Don’t let it be a Muslim”.
What are your hopes for your children?
My hopes for my children are to be brilliant little ones who love life and appreciate it to the fullest. Who love everyone no matter what color, ethnicity, religion. I am raised with a mom who was raised Christian and a Muslim father. I believe in acceptance and generosity and doing on to others as you want on to you. I pray my kids will have these values.
If you could say anything to American Christians, what would you say?
I would tell them time and time again, that people make our religion ugly. People take things out of context and do things we do not condone in Islam. People over complicate our religion to something it is not. We are meant to love, respect and care for one another.
Let us all strive to understand each other on a basic human level. To love neighbors, strangers, and enemies.
Grace & Peace.