My family and I moved into this quiet neighborhood several years ago.
I’d say I’m generally an outgoing and friendly person, but when we first moved in, I was actually a little afraid to cross paths with my neighbors.
Naturally, I would be inclined to go knock on their doors and introduce myself; but subconsciously I wondered if they would gasp…
What if they were in there talking about the horror of Muslims moving into their neighborhood?
That fear, that shyness, prevented me from being myself.
Thankfully a lady, who is now my closest friend in the neighborhood, walked over while I was out in the yard with my children. She introduced herself and struck up a friendly chat.
She put me at ease.
She removed my fear of not being welcome, or worse; of being hated.
Since then I’ve established great relationships with all of my immediate neighbors.
I am telling this story because I still do have fears. I fear that if a Muslim moves into your neighborhood that they might give the impression of being unfriendly.
They might keep to themselves.
Looking at them from a distance, they might seem strange to you. You might feel compelled to ignore them.
To just pretend they aren’t there.
But they might just feel the same way I did. They might be afraid they aren’t welcome.
Lets face it, we know what they are saying about us on TV…
and in the papers…
and all over the Internet.
And sometimes it’s hard to imagine that you haven’t been affected by it.
That you are exposed to those negative caricatures of Muslims so readily, yet somehow it doesn’t determine your opinion of us.
But my own experience proves that not everyone is so impressionable.
I have valuable relationships,
people in my life;
caring and reliable people around me
that are proof.
The Quran teaches us that God has created all the variation in humanity so that we can know each other.
The variation creates interest. It gives us something to talk about.
We all have something to learn from one another because we are different.
If we look at it that way- then life with each other becomes beautiful and rich.
Filled with curiosity and learning…
Which leads to understanding and compassion.
6 thoughts on “When Muslims Move In”
I thought this would be a story from the other side i.e Muslims moved next door to a writer who was Jewish or atheist or whatever.
‘Kay so I’m interested in what you feel could be done to take back control of your own PR as Muslims and rescue it from the news channels?
Thanks for visiting and I appreciate your comment. 🙂
I intended that with the title. I feel that the idea of “Muslims moving in” evokes a visceral reaction for a lot of people who are not Muslim. At the same time, that means something for us when we are the ones moving in- evoking that reaction.
So as far as taking control of PR. There are many ways we can chip away at the overwhelmingly negative image of Muslims and Islam that exists. The thing is, we are not only up against main stream media-
There are many people out there working hard to discredit Islam and to make people think that Muslims are either deranged and sociopathic inside, even if we seem nice enough on the outside. Or, that we are just stupid, and we don’t really know the truth about our religion. So we have our work cut out for us.
So, many Muslims are working hard. We make a lot of effort to both educate ourselves, and to express to the general public what we really believe and that we are normal people.
I think we just need even more of us making the effort. We have to overcome our own fears of being unwelcome, of being hated and we need to go meet our neighbors. We need to be present in communities doing the things we are encouraged to do in Islam, like helping people and bettering our neighborhoods.
We need to tell our stories where people like you can read about us and identify with us.
It’s easier for me because if someone tells me to go home, I laugh because I’m third generation American. I’m white. It’s a joke. But to someone who really migrated here or whose parents are immigrants, that stings. It really hurts.
So I hope to be part of the solution and to encourage others as well.
Thanks for that. I am fascinated by your faith. Sometimes I get it – sometimes I just don’t. I bought the Koran some time ago in an effort to ‘get it’. I had just finished reading the Bible cover to cover and that was my next mission – never got round to it!
I was asking questions of a Muslim on Facebook at one point and I have to say I have never heard such drivel in my life. He started off by telling me that Facebook was a religion and that we (the heathen) all worship it that’s why we use it. I said no, I use it to talk to people? It went downhill from there with statements about people really being frogs and such.
However I did not colour my opinion of the religion by this one guy who I thought was a pillock.
I think your suggestions are a good way to reverse people’s opinions – but yes you have a mighty fight against the media and people who do bad in the name of your religion. I look forward to reading your posts.
Wow! If you could read the bible through, you shouldn’t have trouble getting through the Quran. For added ease, on your first round I suggest reading from the end. Last chapter, then second to last chapter etc. It’s easier to absorb that way. After one round like that it becomes easy to read beginning to end.
Glad you’re not holding us or the religion accountable for what that guy said! lol. Who knows, some people have psychological issues you know. Or it could even have been one of the many detractors acting as a Muslim.
We do have a lot of work to do, but I’m up for it. 🙂
You are part of the solution. If more people were open minded like you seem to be and willing to learn new things, it would make a huge difference.
Thanks for reading. I look forward to conversing with you further.
Also check out my other blog. It’s more about me and converting to Islam.