Peace and blessings everyone.
When I write, it usually comes from a place of anger or annoyance, irritation or contemplation. Today, I write from a place of great sadness and hurt. Sadness and hurt that I feel lonelier than ever, isolated from my family and friends.
Ramadan, for many Muslims born from Muslim families, is a time to share. Share time, together, in rememberance of God and of this religious experience lived together. As a very new Muslim convert, and more importantly as a progressive Muslim convert, I feel isolated from the mainstream conservative and moderate Muslim community.
One aspect I did not expect was the isolation I would come to experience from my family members. I come from a family which have had many challenges forcing them to open their minds including a queer father and a cousin with a mental disability. We have experienced much heartake from the society at large and we had to learn to stand tall with one another, to have eachother’s back. As I write, today, I have learned that they no longer have my back and, even more disheartening, that they have identified my conversion to Islam as no longer having theirs.
The Qu’ran has this verse, 2:170, which says “Whenever someone tells them: ‘Follow what God has sent down;’ they say: ‘Rather we will follow what we discovered our forefathers were doing,’ even though their forefathers did not use reason in any way nor were they guided.” [translation T.B. Irving]
I would not say that my forefathers did not use reason, but perhaps that their reasoning did not lead them to the same conclusions mine did. I love my family, I really do, I even have a number of tattoos to that effect. I have no intentions to change them or convert them (I have no intention of changing or converting anyone), I just ask for support and respect, the same that I support and respect them all, regardless of their personal choices or lifestyles.
We were never made to be one homogenous people. We are different and I believe that our differences are God-made, all of them: our race, culture, language, religion, dis/ability, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, social economic background. I believe that God chose for us a specific path within which we need to navigate and learn to become better human beings, part of which includes respect and love of others who differ from you.
The Qu’ran states at 49:13 “O mankind, We have created you from a male and female, and set you up as nations and tribes so you may recognize [and cooperate with] one another. The noblest among you with God is that one of you who best performs his duty; God is Aware, Informed” [translation by T.B. Irving]
I am hurt to see that some of my family members will not have my back, but my sadness comes from another place altogether. More than everything, I want them to know that I still have their backs, whether that means standing up against homophobia/heterosexism, supporting the rights of people with dis/ability, talking against violence made to women or speaking out against rape culture and victim blaming/silencing. Those issues reach out across cultures, races and religion, and you can stand with me, a Muslim, or you can get out of my way, because nothing, and I mean NOTHING will stop me from ensuring those issues are heard and dealt with. Including, but not limited to, those few of you who wish I would be quiet, because now, it’s a Muslim speaking. It IS a Muslim speaking, it is a WOMAN speaking, it is a young French Acadian Canadian Female Muslim Queer-spawn talking and you WILL hear me! Because I am loud and “innapropriate” and I have no intentions of ever changing!