B - UX
Creative, Mindful, Resourceful

this amharican life

A Peace Corps Journey

Islamophobia followed me all the way to Ethiopia

People may call me B, but I am no Beyonce. See my flaws, see my flaws. I woke up like this.

Peace Corps is like a green house, it forces you to grow faster and I am like the weather, I have my highs and lows daily, but due to global warming, I haven’t really been stable. I might wake up thinking my highs will be in the 100s and lows in the 60s, but sometimes there is an unexpected storm. And mann, I got stuck in a crazy storm. 

It started when I read a book that was on the gender and development book club list. I expected a strong woman with melanin to somewhat understand the struggle we went through. I assumed she was getting somewhere with her life story related to islam, that she was going to have our back and actually try to make things better for us regardless of her views, but damn lesson learned. Not all women of color are your allies. I guess I shouldn’t have assumed they would be, my baaaad.

Her name is Ayaan Hirsi, and the book is called Infidel. She rips islam apart with her negative view on life. I absorbed this book and for months I was sulking from head to toe. This says more about me than her, I am far too easily influenced. My root haven’t grown deep enough. When I was questioning everything, my dad said, “Bukhtawer don’t lose your roots, it will make you forget yourself.” He was right as, well not always, but mostly. He was right as he mostly is.

This book led me to a deep deep depression that I couldn’t get out of no matter who I talked to. Another identity crisis, lets not talk about how many I have been through this year, it’s quite embarrassing.

Here’s a short summary of the book. Hirsi starts off her book with her life story, clearly stating that this is a subjective view, but by the end of it changing her stance and saying that her truth is the only truth. Islam should be demolished because it is absolutely evil and does not fit in the world we live in. The west is 100% better than the east, stop debating. Trust her. She has done her research she knows all there is to know about it. Oh man, she’s real convincing. I know this because I read reviews on GoodReads after reading the book. Many went like this, “Now I see the real islam.” And because, even I thought for sometime, maybe I don’t understand my own religion.

I understand that her story, even if it she lied, could have been someone else’s story. That’s not the point. The point is that she says that islam is to blame for all that happened in her life, and that it would make life a lot better if we just get rid of it all together. That’s very Trump of her.

Yes we have so many problems in our muslim countries, but that is not how you help women. She says she doesn’t understand why muslim women are not with her. It’s because she’s attacking something near and dear to our hearts, it is a part of us, and we understand that it is not to blame for the problems. It is more culture and terrible leaders.

There is a stark difference in my interpretation of the Quran and teachings of the Prophet pbuh and her views.

The Prophet (pbuh) taught us smiling is one of the best forms of charity. Giving a percentage of our income is necessary. By example he taught us that we should wait until everyone else gets their share before we dive in. To not take more than you really need. To be patient. Even if it seemed to small, to always share.

He lived among the people. It is said that in a crowd you had to ask people who he was, because he had so much humility. That women were treated with respect and love in a time and place that just used them for their bodies.

He had a message for us and he shared it humbly, and people listened.

I was taught to pray for others before myself. To depend on God before anyone else. To ask questions and look for the truth in everything. These teachings go on and on.

This is why I consider myself a follower of the Prophet (pbuh), this is why I am a muslim.

Islam is being attacked from every corner of life, I feel the need to keep checking why I choose to follow what I do. Life becomes really difficult when you are constantly being questioned for thinking a certain way.

An ask for my readers, I know many of you are not muslim. I am asking you to be an ally at this time. We don’t need anymore haters, we need people who will support us even if they don’t agree with all that we believe in. Isn’t that what America is supposed to be all about? Please just ask questions if you are confused, instead of calling us “Children of Satan,” and sending hate mail to our places of worship. Not cool.

Lastly, a million and one thanks to all those who sat and listened to all my complaining for those few months. You all keep me in orbit.

For anyone who needs to talk you should know that you can always reach out to me.

With peace,