Saturday, March 24, 2007

Be Proud

Today, I was talking with my dear friend OrganicMuslimah and we were talking about this post by Ali Eteraz that was a topic of discussion over at Cairogal's blog.

We talked about how convert women, like myself, get sucked into this idea that trying to be arab makes them more muslim. Like if they don't become completely arabized they are less muslim than somone else. I hate this idea. I hate it because throughout my marriage it has been pushed on me by my husband. He will be loving up some american goodness one day and drooling over the thought of the arab woman the next day. Since when is Islam about a certain ethnicity? We are told that culture isn't inherently bad. Culture is actually okay. It can be a good thing as long as it doesn't interfere or directly contradict the religion. Even our prophet told us that arab is no better than non arab, white no better than black. We will only be judged on our piety and devotion to God. If this is true, then why do we demand converts to forget everything about themself and become an arab woman?

The truth is that we will never be an arab woman. We were destined to be where we came from. Every bit of who we are shaped and molded us into the people we were today, and I wouldn't give a second of that back. I'm proud of who I am and where I came from. I wear my home on my sleeve so to speak. I will shout from the rooftops that I'm from New Orleans and I say it with every bit of happiness inside. I can make jambalaya, watch the Saints lose or win and love them either way, suck crawfish heads with the best of them, and throw beads at my son telling him to yell "Throw me something mista!" and still all the while be a muslim. The two don't contradict eachother.

I hope that all of us can be proud of where we came from and the journey we took to get where we are today.

"The people of New Orleans have their own language. Its tone, lilt, and slang are indigenous to this city and reflect its ethnic history and tradition. New Orleans is part of the deep south, but you won't find a stereotypical southern drawl." - Unknown New Orleanian

"New Orleans is my essence, my soul, my muse, and I can only dream that one day she will recapture her glory. I will do everything within my power to make that happen and to help in any way I can to ease the suffering of my city, my people!" - Harry Connick Jr.