I came across this article today that talks about American-born women, one of whom is the widow of the slain Boston bomber, who chose to convert to Islam, hijab and all. It's a brief account from each of them, but they are all saying the same thing: it was their choice, there was no brainwashing, they found the beauty in the faith and made it their own.
I think American culture needs to hear more stories like this. The opposition that these women face is born of fear and ignorance. I had a conversation with my dad on Sunday that gave me some pause. My mother is a self-proclaimed bigot, but my dad has always struck me as being very open minded and accepting. When I converted from Catholicism to paganism, I worried about what my mom would think but I told my dad. He never took Communion at church so I knew he wasn't Catholic and I figured he might be more understanding about my change. He said he had read a bit about pagan faiths and knew I wasn't devil-worshipping, and he also agreed that it was probably best not to tell my mom. I talked to her sister about my choices as well and how she thought my mom would react. I knew that she didn't go to church at all. My aunt agreed with us at the time. Some years later, she told me that she thought mom would accept me no matter what because "you are like her best friend." That made me happy. My mom is generally an awesome person, but we don't agree on religion and politics so we just don't talk about those things. But I'm getting away from my point.
That conversation with dad on Sunday surprised me. After a very busy weekend, we were just seeing the news from Friday that the second bomber had been caught. My dad went into a (calm) rant about Islam and how the bombers must have been part of some group that brainwashed them into doing the horrible thing that they did. I was really surprised to hear such ignorant statements coming from my dad. I tried my best to correct them, blame the people not the faith they happened to be a part of. He seemed to listen but I don't think I changed his opinions at all.
When even someone as generally accepting as my dad can form these negative opinions based on stereotypes of an entire group of people, there is something wrong. It's certainly more than I, as one person, can change. We all need to make an effort to understand.
There is so much of this article that I could quote that I'm just going to link it and encourage everyone to read it and maybe we'll remember that bad people are everywhere and in every faith and that does not make everyone bad too.
I've moved locations!
6 days ago