Dear Ladies

Dear Ladies in the Booth Behind Us

In Advocacy by Amanda Mouttaki12 Comments

Dear Ladies in the Booth Behind Us,

I know you are just here with your friend to share an ice cream cone, but I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation you’ve having. I know there’s a lot of information that bombards you all day long, and I’ll be the first to admit that the Fox News channel the restaurant has on doesn’t provide the best “balance” of opinion. But, I still couldn’t help but cringe when I heard your comments.

Those people, “over there“, those “Moooozlems” that are “hell-bent on Sharia…”

Well, you’ve already got the story wrong.

Your friend spoke up and said “Sharia?” to which you respond, “you know they don’t give the women any rights, those poor women.”

“That’s why they’re protesting, they hate us, they hate us because they want to be like us.”

They do, they want what we have, but right now it’s all about Sharia. That’s why they want to get rid of this guy, they want the sharia. You know I just don’t get them.”

I’m ashamed I didn’t come sit down next to you. To shake your hand and introduce yourself. It might have been the only chance you had in this small Midwestern town to meet real “Moozlems.” To see that we don’t really hate you. But, I stood there frozen, wishing and praying that the moment would pass, praying that my sons didn’t hear you.

As you got up to go on with your day, you smiled at my son, and complimented me on your way out the door on how well my boys behaved and how adorable they were.

But did you know that one day they would be them?

Did you see that we’re a family just like yours? That we love this country, and we don’t want to “be like them,” because we are like you – just like you. We might pray different, and lead a different lifestyle, but fundamentally we’re the same. Today we’ll wave an American flag at a parade, and we’ll watch fireworks go off – celebrating America’s birthday.

Not because we want to be like you – but because we are like you.

I’m sorry I didn’t say anything. I’m sorry that I missed the one opportunity to help you see that, to help you understand. I’m even more sorry that my boys had to hear the disgust in your voice.

So lady in the booth behind me, the next time I happen to hear a conversation like this I promise to speak up.

Sincerely,

The “Moozlem” Lady in the Booth Behind You

 

Amanda MouttakiDear Ladies in the Booth Behind Us

Comments

  1. Aisha from Expatlog

    GREAT POST!!!! Like you I always wish I was braver when I overhear this kind of ignorance, and I too find myself frozen by fear for my children and what they might face in the future when dimples and a sunny disposition are no longer enough to overcome prejudice.
    I’m a white ‘moozelim’, having converted over a decade ago. I’m married to a Pakistani man and we have three kids – together we span Irish, English, Scottish and Pakistani heritage; somedays eating roti, others soda bread ;-)
    Judging from your About page, I think I’ve just found a fab new blog to follow! Hope I see you over on mine sometime.

  2. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    Oh Amanda, what a terrible conversation to have to hear. The unfortunate thing is that I’m sure it wasn’t the first time and it sure as hell won’t be the last. There is so much ignorance and fear out there and a lot of it is peddled by the media. Stand strong, girl! Thank you for this poignant post.

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Thank you for reading, and thank you for responding. I am constantly amazed at the people I meet through blogging. There are a lot of bad apples out there but there are so many good ones too! I know this situation will happen again, I need to come up with a better game plan how to handle it!

  3. Stacy

    When I was studying journalism, way back when, impartiality and straight reporting of facts was stressed beyond all else. I guess tv ratings and advertising dollars changed all that. Such a shame.

    It’s so hard to speak up, Amanda, but you just might be the only Muslim some folks ever meet. And when they meet adorable you and your beautiful boys, their minds just might be opened to the possibility that we are all more alike than different, no matter where we worship. At least, that’s my prayer. Courage for you. Acceptance for them. You are a beacon of truth and friendliness in a nation of sensational media shows and misunderstanding.

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Stacy – thank you for your balance and insight in this. It’s so hard, and although we’re moving to a Muslim country I tend to believe I’ll face similar issues when it comes to views on the US. I think no matter where you are it’s easy to talk about “them – those people” without having a person or people to really place situations in context. All I can do is hope and pray that we all learn to be a little more tolerant, and a little more accepting.

      1. Stacy

        I don’t know if I have sent you this link before, Amanda, but I think you will enjoy and relate to Marilyn’s blog. She grew up as a TCK in Pakistan and lived in Egypt as an adult with children. When I discovered her blog, I spent hours reading back posts, written by a kindred spirit. http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com/

  4. Noor

    Ugh I remember those days in the states :( I always felt sad being an American that people would make me feel like I was from somewhere else bc I was Muslim. But now living in Saudi I have a new set of problems lol.

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      This is something I’m really preparing myself for mentally after we move to Morocco in a few weeks. I know that there will be the complete opposite that turns up in situations. It’s a unique position to be in for sure!

  5. Sharon aka Sue

    This was a great post. It’s hard to know when to speak up and when to stay quiet. You can’t know if speaking up would have resulted in a heated argument instead of the thoughtful conversation you had in mind. Undoubtedly they would have benefited from hearing your insights, but don’t beat yourself up. I wish people didn’t use Islamist and Islamic interchangeably. I wish they didn’t seem to always reflexively attach “fundamentalist” to Islam when there are many people whose religious beliefs are “fundamentalist.” Kudos to you for a heartfelt, thoughtful post.

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      xoxo Thank you for taking the time to read and being one of the rare gems we meet in the world who truly have an open and kind heart to accept those who are different.

  6. Rebecca

    What an interesting post. Thanks for sharing. Here in France, there’s a higher Muslim population but people are still uneducated on what Islam is all about.

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      It’s really sad when the only information people do have is bad information. I think in Europe there’s this added dimension of colonialism and the racism and nastiness that went along with that – and most people don’t care to admit to the dirtier parts of their history (true here too!)

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