Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Muslims underneath American skies


This morning I woke up to a special email from a lady who works on an incredible initiative called 'My Fellow American'.

It is "an online film and social media project that calls upon concerned Americans to pledge and spread a message that Muslims are our fellow Americans. It asks people of other backgrounds to pledge, and share a real life story about a Muslim friend, neighbor, or colleague that they admire. Using the power of social media, 'My Fellow American' seeks to change the narrative of Muslims as the other, to Muslims as our fellow Americans."

I applaud this effort and encourage you to watch the video and spread the word. It is a program urging the non-Muslims in America to open or reopen their hearts towards American Muslims and extend a friendly gesture. It offers a rare platform for them to share their positive experiences in knowing or dealing with American Muslims.

But that's only one part of the equation. What about us Muslims? What about me, a non-American Muslim living outside the USA, one who has a somewhat negative perception towards the country. Yes I admit that I have been pessimistic about America because (as you might guess) she appears to be a nation which is unfriendly to Muslims. But after knowing about 'My Fellow American' project, it has made me want to reasess my perception towards America and rethink my thoughts about the country.

Really I should not be having ill thoughts about America. What was I thinking? I had spent two colorful years in California in early '90s. My professors had treated me well. My classmates never once did they discriminate me. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf had read 'Religious Studies' at the same university I went to and at about the same time too. I could imagine the atmosphere in his class would have been filled with even much more tolerance and compassion.

That brings me to my next point on why I should like America. I like the fact that it is home to many shuyukh from whom I have benefited. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya An-Ninowy, all live in America. I imagine the wonderful lives they lead in beautiful California, Michigan and Georgia. In fact, everytime I hear or hum the song 'Georgia on my mind' - Shaykh Ninowy comes to my mind. Yes I enjoy American music too. And of course their food! (Think clam chowder at San Francisco!)

What else have I learned to like about America? I like that it has become a wonderful home for a close friend of mine. When I told him recently (before today's awakenings) that I would not want to live in America, he said  'everywhere is the same if you know how to make your home heavenly'. How could I disagree? I used to have stereotypes about people or Muslims living in big cities such as Miami. But really Allah has proved me wrong. You will never know, there might be a Muslim in the 'sin cities' who wakes up to pray every night, while one like I who lives in a Muslim country, sleep like a log!

I think, in short, it's not just about non-Muslims in America opening up to Muslims in that country. It's also about Muslims everywhere else to open up their minds.

May Allah help us remove all negative mental barriers. May Allah help us have husnul zan (positive thoughts) about one another. After all, we are all standing underneath the same one sky.

Wallahu a'lam.

Please watch this video at
and show your support on

p/s Thank you Ms. Elizabeth Potter.
Your email this morning has inspired this sharing.

No comments:

Post a Comment