Thursday, July 07, 2016

With love, the peaceful and caring one

Dear Homo sapiens,

That is Latin for “wise person”. We all fall in the trap of generalising and believing stereotypes, and it’s very important to realise what we’re stepping into. I’ve heard enough “Americans are ignorant”, “Muslim women are oppressed”, “Germans are rude” and the classic “Muslims are terrorists”. Whatever experience you’ve had, please don’t become another statistic.

We live in a time where, generally, Muslims are linked to ISIS when, in fact, the majority of Muslims are against what ISIS are doing. So it’s sad, hurtful and scary to know when an innocent Muslim Arab wearing his traditional attire got detained in Ohio because a hotel clerk suspected he has links to ISIS. I understand the need to keep people safe from terrorist attacks but it’s also not fair for Arabs to lose their identity in fear of being mistaken to be a terrorist. When Emirati officials encouraged Emiratis not to wear their traditional attire when abroad, it really bothered me and I’m sure many have thought the same way.

My parents are traditional Omanis. They are proud of their origin, nationality, culture and religion. My father is the most peaceful man I have ever met. He always dresses in his white Omani dishdasha and cream musar that matches his white beard and whiter heart. My dad is a walking symbol of peace and I would hate for him to be mistaken for a terrorist. My mother is the most caring woman I have ever met. My mother loves turquoise and purple, when she’s abroad she wears hijabs and jilbabs in these colours. I would hate for her to be mistaken for a terrorist. I’m Muslim and studying in London, while I dress like anyone on the streets of London, I have an extra piece of fabric that covers my hair. I’m peaceful and caring, you can say it’s genetic. I’d hate to be mistaken for a terrorist.

Hiding our identity as Muslim Arabs will not make the world a more peaceful place. Let’s sit and talk, my father’s white beard and white attire is not scary, my mom’s colourful conservative clothes are not scary, my hijab is not scary.

With love,
The peaceful and caring one.

P.S: I was inspired to write this letter because of Moosa Al Lawati’s blog post. You can find it here