I was born an Arab Muslim, I grew up in a “benevolent” “Muslim community” or at least that’s how people described it.
Throughout the years and just like any other kid my age, I grew up observing the people around me, how they interact, and how they manage their daily routines.
It didn’t take long until I realized something was different between me and a lot of people I knew. Between my mentality and the majority of mentalities surrounding me in that community.
I remember one day at primary school I was sitting with two of my friends and one of them -who happens to be a Christian- asked if I had water, I said yes and on my way to offer her a cup of water my other friend -who happens to be a ‘Muslim’- whispered in my ear that we -as Muslims- are not supposed to give them -Christians- our food or drink cause it’s Haram “forbidden”.
I gave the girl water despite what my other friend said and went back to my dad that day and told him about what the girl said then asked him if what I did was wrong, was it really haram to give just some water to the poor thirsty girl just because she was of different faith?
His answer was “No, it’s as far away from haram as possible, don’t ever listen to anybody who tells you to be inhumane, and if that’s their faith, if that’s what they think Islam is, then we believe in a different Islam and we too have a different faith.”
Years went by and I still live with this belief in me, I definitely have a different faith than most Muslims around me.
In my “Muslim community”, people would justify why women are raped or harassed saying it’s due to their provocative way of dressing. They would refer people with mental illnesses to go read the Quran so they’d feel better and that their mental illnesses are merely because they’ve distanced themselves from God. They’d tell people of different faiths they’d go to hell and that Islam is the one true religion. They’d kill stray dogs with the most inhumane ways because dogs are defiled. They’d cherry pick which terror attacks were justified and which were not based on whether Muslims were killed or not. And a thousand other things that could only be described as barbaric and inhumane, however, they seemed to have had a way of justifying every thing with religious beliefs.
I left that community and went to live in a European country, where Muslims are a minority. I started getting all sorts of weird questions about my religion, my hijab, and my background by people from different faiths.
It was never a problem to me being asked about my religion, my problem was trying to understand why most people were scared to ask me or even as much as talk about religion in my presence.
I later understood that again, the majority of the Muslim community in this country does not welcome questions about religion and get greatly offended whenever a “Non-Muslim” tackles the subject.
I got to the point where I hated being labelled as one of those Muslims because at the end of the day, I never was. I may not be the most religious person there is but at least I am certain that what Muslims do, whether in the community where I come from or the Muslim community where I live now, is not what Islam is about, not the Islam I believe in anyway.
In my Islam, people say nice things to one another because that’s what prophet Muhammad asked us to do. He says: “he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent.” he also says: “The best among you are the best in character (having good manners).”
In my Islam, women are appreciated, not demolished and definitely not oppressed. God says in Quran: “It is He who created you from one soul and created from it its mate that he might dwell in security with her.”
My Islam does not justify killings or tolerate terrorism. God says in Quran: “”Whoever kills a person unjustly, it is as though he has killed all of mankind”
My Islam is not their Islam.