This week has been a challenging week for myself and fellow regular Muslims everywhere but especially the ones living in non-Muslim lands. Double that if you wear a headscarf, triple it if you cover your face. Are you a coptic christian walking the Egyptian streets these days? My heart is with you, for you are currently facing an insane amount of harassment and bullying from fellow Egyptians. I am but merely embarrassed to wear my religion on my head while the world watches my brothers and sisters pretend that their anger and frustrations are because of a silly movie, their violence in the name of Islam. They are frustrated because their lives are leading them nowhere, because they can’t feed their children, because they have no jobs, because America has been to them nothing but a big bully telling them to dream about democracy while supporting their oppressive governments for decades, for turning a blind eye on the atrocities the Israeli state commits against the palestinian people, for so many reasons that are no excuse to turn to violence, vandalism, or murder. Yet, these are the facts and the sad truths. We are a people that can be easily played by a bunch of wacko extremists. Hey do you want to set the middle east and the Muslim world on fire? I have a plan–in the name of freedom of speech and expression. This country (America) was founded on great ideals, and the same ideals that allows someone like myself to practice their religion freely, and wear a headscarf that might offend some. It also allowed people to display signs to impeach former president Bush (no thanks to him) in front of their own homes (I took pictures and sent them to my mom, I was in an absolute state of shock “and it’s in front of their doors mom, they’re not even hiding their identity!”). A protest by the infamous KKK group was protected by police cordons so they too can have their freedom of speech exercised despite the anger by everyone around them, also protesting their protest. American TV has a genre of shows dedicated to make fun of their government and presidents. If you are a fellow middle eastern you’ll understand the state of disbelief I experienced in my early days. I grew up in a country where you couldn’t whisper displease with your government or state even on the phone.
Freedom of expression won’t always work in our favor, because people are diverse, and yes some of them are lunatic extremists who abuse their right, and they should absolutely be held accountable for their actions. Democracy works the same way, the majority ain’t always right. And I must– after going through the Egyptian democratic election process and the failed recall campaign of our horrible Governor Walker–confess I lost complete faith in democracy. I thought, this is a s**tty system that doesn’t work. But you know what, it’s what we have, and it’s the most that makes sense right now, and if we don’t like the results than we have four years to suck it up, and work harder and educate people (because of course we are right, and they are wrong, right?) and same goes for freedom of expression. Some people will abuse their right, or make horrible choices about their given rights. And what do we do, we first pray to God to save his religion from the hands of ignorance, and then we go out wearing our currently shameful scarf with pride, and we smile while feeling uncomfortable (and pray that we don’t meet a nut job who will blow our heads off because our fellow Muslims decided to harm us with their interpretation of doing right by our prophet) and stop reading the news please and thank you, and pretend we don’t notice the increased stares in the streets.
When some arguments were made against the violence spreading like wildfire now beyond the middle east, some people claimed that we don’t love our prophet and that we don’t care about the offensive movie. I say to them, the movie spread wider and received more viewing because of the publicity it received thanks to you, it got everyone curious including myself, although I couldn’t finish a whole minute it was incredibly offensive, I almost puked. We should ask ourselves one question, are we burning down embacies and harassing our fellow coptic Egyptians because of our anger to the Messenger of God, who by his example never ever responded with insults on himself by insult (and he was insulted plenty) or are we just angry and making this an excuse?
By what religion do you destroy public property and harras women in the streets in the name of? by what love of the prophet do you watch women being harassed every single day in the streets and do nothing (if you’re not amongst the gang)? where is the example of the prophet when you turn a blind eye on the millions of the poor? Where is your love of the prophet with young girls getting their clitorises removed they are no longer marriageable? Where is your anger when the default setting for any bearded man on the EgyptianTV is that he’s a wife beater and with double standards and probably a terrorist ( these ones were made by fellow Muslims, just so you know)?
May God have mercy on us, we have done a great man wrong.
All photos are currently in wide circulation on social media websites–photos credits unknown.