Monday, May 01, 2006

My Everchanging Ethnicity

I am a white girl. Blue eyes and skin the colour of frightened milk. I live somewhere where this complexion is pretty commonplace and so never considered myself as looking at all exotic. Until I wore hijab. Then I became a big question mark for Muslims and Non-Muslims alike.

To some people I look Arab. This prompts lots of questions of "Where are you from?" when I reply I'm from this country, I am asked "So where are your parents from?". One man, who decided I must be from Syria/Lebanon, even asked where my grandparents were from. He must have thought I was using the convert story because I was ashamed of my Arab heritage.

To others, I look all too white, too much like them. My Hijab is a sign of treachery. So I get remarks like: "You're the wrong colour to be Muslim", "Wannabe Pakistani" and recently was accosted by a man on the bus who accused me of betraying my Christian roots, that this country was in danger of becoming an Islamic state and I was helping it happen. To which I replied "Good" and promptly told him to leave me alone and mind his own business.

As I got off the bus, the sun was shining and I knew that it was all worth it, converting to Islam is still the best thing I've ever done. Alhamdulilah.

9 comments:

Maxxed`ouT said...

God bless

cncz said...

salam alaikoum
I have green eyes and casper skin. I like your expression "frightened milk"--it sounds better than "dead fish belly (my skin tone)" The most common line I get is Lebanese or Kabyle (my husband being Kabyle doesn't hurt)but when I lived in the German part of Switzerland they always thought I was Turkish or Bosnian.

Hajar said...

LOL! Good. You told that man his business! ;) Served him right! Alhamdulillah.
I've had some people actually get angry and accuse me of lying when I say I'm American...

Alina said...

I wonder..if you wear a hijab, draw a red dot on your forhead and dress in an African outfit...what would they say then? Can you imagine the big blur in their heads and the associations they'd make??? Funny how strangers and people in general think they can simply judge you, praise you or blame you as if they were born for it!

backtick said...

Well, you know what? lebanease (read arab) girls (that i know of) are not as embracing Islam as yourself, mind you. A friend of mine (she's spanish/lebanease) was willing to give up Islam for the sake of her boyfriend (which is a non-muslim, not even a christian nor a jew) and that who broke with her shortly after he left back to his home country.. If she did give up Islam, should would have lost everything. And losing just Islam is losing everything, for that matter.

Stay strong, and may Allah be always with you. And we are by your side :)

Jinnzaman said...

May Allah (swt) give us strength in these hard times and grant the world hidayah. Ameen.

Safiya said...

Alina- I think their heads would explode, "Can't catergorise....not able to stereotype".

Hajar - Salaam dear! Thank you for all your many other comments. Honestly, it was very hard being that polite to the man. He told me that Muslims hate Jesus (as)! How dare he lecture Muslims when he has obviously never read the Quran! Grrr

Maxxed Out - Thank you, for this and the many other comments, I do appreciate it a lot :)

Ahmed - I read somewhere that people who leave the deen, never knew it. I think it's because people lack religious knowledge and it is this knowledge that is needed to truly love the religion, otherwise you just see the rules as pointless restrictions.

Abdulhaqq - Jazak Allahu Khayran brother.

Me said...

God bless you...truly.. thank God for being blessed with Islam ... I try and remember to say that every day.. "Alhamdulilah ala ne-mat Alislam" ... "Thank God for the blessing of Islam" ...

tota said...

Finding the rood really worth it … when I read “Muslim convert lady” I wondered whether u posted when, how ? it all started.