Except- I'm not just another American.
At least not according to King. I generally avoid discussing my faith here. Mainly because its a personal and spiritual connection between me and my Maker- but also because I speak here only for me, not my entire faith- and as most minorities can attest to- every good or bad I do lends itself to generalizations for everyone who looks like me. Every single interaction I have I'm aware that I'm not just imparting an impression of me, Aisha- but an impression of over a billion people. And this is a heavy burden I'm neither knowledgeable nor capable enough to carry. While this is inevitable even in the purchasing of a pack of bubble-gum or a doctor's office visit, I do my best to minimize this burden and speak seldom on topics of faith.
But my silence on this topic does not mean I can escape that burden like during my Masters when the teacher asked me to explain exactly why all Muslims shouldn't be sent to internment camps if a few pose risks with the majority of the class nodding in agreement, or five years ago, asked by my professor to explain terrorism and the perceived silence of Muslims with every eye trained on me as though I was a learned sheikh, not a fledgling law student like them. I wrote this post then, but my thoughts from then apply just as well today to the King Hearings and to a man who wants to put a religion on trial for the actions of some of its adherents. Most relevant:
People from professors to friends have said that if Muslims are not speaking out in droves against terrorism than our silence equals complicity. There are over one billion Muslims in the world. Almost four times the size of the United States population. Most Americans don't feel the actions of a stranger in South Dakota or New York or even our next door neighbor speak for us, but as Muslims we must go out in throngs to disavow the actions of a stranger who happens to be one of 1.6 billion people who call themselves Muslim. David Koresh was Christian. The BTK killer went to Church faithfully. Should I assume Christians love the actions of these men because they did not make a public announcement ("We as Christians do not condone murder. We are peaceful as a faith. These people do not represent us")? Baraka wrote a fantastic post where she included a quote from Anne Frank's diary: " Oh it is very, very sad that for the umpteenth time, what one Christian does is his own responsibility; what one Jew does is thrown back at all Jews.'" Such is it now a days for Muslims. . .
. . . For the record, I am against violence. period. You call yourself Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, WHATEVER I am against violence as a means to resolve issues. Call it cheesy, idealistic, unrealistic but I am for peace, and love and harmony and tolerance and patience and kindness. That is my stance.It's still my stance.
As much as the vitriol spoken at these hearings leave me feeling bruised and terrified for my son- and what the future may entail I remind myself of what I know to be true: the actions of a few of my fellow Americans do not speak for all my fellow Americans. This is the same nation that elected Barack Obama as its President, and Keith Ellison as Congressman and doesn't blink an eye when thanking my decidedly brown husband for his military service.Yes that's my country. And every time I feel that ache of worry swell inside, fears of internment camps of our relatively recent past haunting my dreams, I remind myself of this.
[For other perspectives on the King hearings you can also read Jamila's take. And Cecily's. And Keith Ellison's. And CAIR's [Council for American Islamic Relations].
*As an aside, its been a while since I've touched on a topic on my faith- if you have something against this I respect your right to hate but please, just click away- I'm not in any place to have an argument or hear bigoted statements in the comment section- and if I see them- I'll simply click delete*