“Each friend represents a world in us,
a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it’s only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
There is nothing more joyous for the Muslim community as when we witness the conversion of a new brother or sister to Islam. We all rise to the occasion and shower the new convert with prayers, hugs and promises of a new family. But, all too often, this is where it ends; and, unfortunately, it is a sentiment shared by many new Muslims. One sister recounted how she did not feel well-received when she converted to Islam. She explained that the women at Masjid were not welcoming, and it was a very hurtful experience. The situation left her feeling more like an intruder than a sister. Another, who is Caucasian American, shared how she was shunned by the African American Muslim community, which was her only link to growth in Islam. She ended up having to learn Islam in isolation with neither guidance nor support.
So, where are these brothers and sisters to find warmth and comfort? Despite the odds and tremendous bias against everything Islam, they still chose to embrace the religion. For some, their families and communities have rejected them, and every one of them faces certain discrimination because of their choice, which has made them state enemy number one along with the “other Muslims.”
The same Muslim community that protests against bigotry and discrimination, quite easily inflicts the same on those who have entered into its fold. We have instituted divides along ethnic lines and man-made groupings of “born into Islam Muslims” and “converted into Islam Muslims.” Yet, we still wonder why our community continuously suffers the arrows of misfortune.
Could it be we have forgotten that
“God does not change men's condition unless they change their inner selves; and when God wills people to suffer evil [in consequence of their own evil deeds], there is none who could avert it: for they have none who could protect them from Him.”
-- Qur’an, ar-Ra`d 13:11
The above is a Defining Moment written by Sister Habiba Kavalec, Director of Hospitality at Masjid At-Tawhid.