Tag Archives: Intolerance

I Was Once A Muslim

I am not sure if you knew I was once a Muslim. Yeah, it’s a long story. Perhaps one day I’ll write about it. But for now, I want to focus on tolerance or the lack thereof.

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I went to Egypt, in June following 9/11. I was there for about three weeks. I went alone and rented a spacious loft, overlooking central Egypt.

I thought Bombay had a lot of traffic, but Egypt took it to another level.

I’ve always been a seeker of truth. I had been a Christian and decided to explore Islam. I was in contact with a young, intelligent Muslim zealot, who convinced me to come to Egypt. I’m always down for an adventure. So I booked a flight and head over there. I didn’t even know what the dude looked like. I know, I was crazy, but what else is new.

I arrived to a crowded, hot, and busy Cairo airport. I didn’t speak the language. I stood in what looked like the center of chaos. It was overwhelming. I had to pull myself together and figure things out quickly.

When I exited the airport, he was waiting there with his mother. The first thing I noticed was how tall he was. Egyptians are tall.

We introduced ourselves. I fell in love with his mother immediately. She was by far the sweetest woman on earth. They drove me to where I would be staying for the next three weeks. Then the fun began.

I was driven here and there, meeting with so many powerful leaders. Yeah, little ole me. I was able to ask all sorts of questions and I learned a lot. The one thing I loved was their sense of community. I never saw that in Christian circles. They all helped one another and they showed me nothing but love.

I wept when I had to return to New York City. I didn’t want to leave. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was part of something meaningful. They demonstrated unconditional love that I didn’t experience. They will always hold a dear and special place in my heart until the day I die.

When I returned to New York City, I wore a hijab, which resulted in my getting spit at, cursed at, and accused of being a suicide bomber.

For the short duration, I experienced what it is like to be a Muslim in America. In a city, which is a known for its tolerance, or so I thought. I learned otherwise.

I learned more than I thought I would ever learn. I was able to identify what Muslim women go through and what they continue to go through today.

It saddens me, between the racism and religious intolerance in this country, we haven’t gotten very far at all. Jesus said, we must love our neighbor. This means, even if they believe differently than you.

Have you been the victim of intolerance? What did you do? How did you handle it?

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No… I’m Not Stupid.

My morning began with commenting on my friend’s Facebook thread. The thread had to do with yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling.

Courtesy of tomharveytraining.com

As most of you know, I’m a Christian. The word Christian connotates a variety of definitions nowadays.

What I mean by Christian, is that I believe in the inerrant, infallible Word of God and I try to live it out to the best of my ability, which is flawed and imperfect. However, this does not take away from my sincerity of faith and willingness to learn and grow in Christ.

There were those on the thread who opposed what I believe. I was well aware in stating my beliefs that I was the minority. However, I respectfully wrote my stance and then was indirectly accused of being a coward, wasting my brains, intellectually lazy and basically, stupid for lack of a better word.

This person did not display an ounce of respect, kindness or tolerance toward me or my beliefs. They just condemned Christians as being unloving, biased and narrow minded.

However, this same person couldn’t see that what they were doing was precisely what they were accusing Christians of.

This person showed absolutely no tolerance for my beliefs, but accused me or people like me, of having no tolerance for others. Meanwhile, this person doesn’t know me to make such an outlandish accusation. This person was basing their opinion on their own limited experience.

This person falsely judged me. They don’t know me, they don’t know my history, education, background or life experiences. They simply threw me into the same batch as everyone else they’ve encountered.

There were a number of things I would have liked to have said to this person. But I held my peace. I knew debating with them wasn’t going to get me anywhere. They were determined to be right. They prided themselves on their intellectual and academic prowess. As if they’re above it all, having all the answers and condescendingly looking down at Christians, like me, as a pathetic, stupid and lazy.

As I’m getting older and maturing, I realize that trying to prove I’m right is futile and a waste of time. Winning a debate or argument all stems from pride and high-minded arrogance.

Jesus didn’t argue or try to be right. He kept silent most times. He demonstrated His love in actions. He was humble.

God gives grace to the humble. He wants us to be humble; not prideful, arrogant or argumentative.

I want to demonstrate love toward those who are vehemently against me and Christians, instead of trying to be right or having the last word.

Trust me, it wasn’t easy for me to keep silent. It’s not in my character or make-up to do so, especially when I’m being provoked or disrespected.

But I’m glad I listened to the Lord and didn’t feed into it, because now I have a peace that passes all understanding. I pray this person experiences the same one day.

What about you? Have you been persecuted, condemned or disrespected because of your faith? How did you handle it? Did you respond or keep silent? Please share in the comment section below.

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