Lexus Davis ’20, Gettysburg —
After 9/11, I remember a lot of the news talking about women who are veiled and men who are angry and killing for their god. The bank my mom-mom went to was near a neighborhood that was across from a mosque and the people were predominantly middle eastern or black who believed in Allah. There the women were covered from head to toe and I saw faces much like the ones so many people were afraid of. But they were not the same people. I was simply curious as to why they were so different than my mom-mom and myself.
“Mom-mom, who are the people coming from that building?” I asked her while she drove us home.
“They are Muslim. Like we are Christians except their god goes by another name.” My mom-mom said.
She never explained to me how they worshipped and I don’t think she knew.
When I was with my mom she would greet some people by saying “As-Salaam-Alaikum”. They would then nod their heads back and greet her by saying “Wa-Alaikum-Salaam”. When my mom told me to do it too, I asked her why and she said it was sign of respect to those and the nation of Islam.
“What’s the nation of Islam?”
“I’m not sure I can answer that but you can ask one of the men we just greeted if you want.” She responded.
My mind then became distracted by something else and the question I so badly wanted answered was not answered that day.
It wasn’t until Junior year of high school where I learned about religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and a more in-depth knowledge on Christianity and Catholicism. Through art history I learned of stories like the Night Journeys Muhammad took, Siddhartha Gautama’s path to enlightenment, the duality of gods for Hinduism, and how all of these stories are some way connected to one another.
This past week a woman was not shy to speak upon her prejudice and her strong dislike for anyone who was Muslim. When I asked her why her reasoning was not one of fact but one of opinion and I was curious to know where and how she got this information.
While she said this, the day before, a close friend had gone to a mosque and by the end he was in tears. This astounded me because that kind of belief has never taken me to a place where I am like that by the end. He explained to me how important the last 10 days of Ramadan was and how people go to pray and make duwas (similar to prayers). As I expressed my interest in going, he offered to go with me.
I thought of this conversation with my friend and what the woman had said. I wonder if people knew of places like the Dome of the rock which is sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians or if they had someone teach them the very foundation in which these religions stand upon how they would then feel. It wouldn’t then be based upon what they hear but in reality, what they believe.