In the papers, in the news, on the radio, President Bush's voice resonates getting back to a routine and getting back to being normal. I couldn't contain my laughter and my children thought that I was in a fit of hysterics. I explained to them as I do to you now, why I thought this was so outrageous.
I am an American Revert Muslim. In 18 years, I have never had a "normal" day in this country. I have constantly been harassed, questioned, subject to suspicion, prayed for, accosted. The problems that we are facing this week are not new, there are just more of them. The attack, the horrendous tragedy, gave the racist, the bigots, the generally uninformed license to act on what they have wanted to do for years.
I worked all last week. I have to. My spouse doesn't make enough to cover everything and it is my contribution to our family's livelihood. What you might not know is that I work at a truckstop in the Midwest. I don't know the statistics, but I have witnessed that most truckdrivers are not nuclear physicists.
Tuesday was okay. We were still in shock and most of the truckdrivers were on the road and didn't realize what was going on. East and West coast drivers were still trapped there so the news hadn't had a chance to filter through. A few phone calls from friends and family in other states to make sure that we were alright.
Wednesday, there were a few errant comments about "ragheads" and "sandniggers". There were none directed at me. Alhamdulilah. More phone calls some from friends and family, more from people I didn't know, but that know that we are Muslim. Adab prohibits me from relaying the statements well. Suffice it to say, they were not concerning the health and wellbeing of my family. (Spouse instituted the anonymous callblock so that we wouldn't be bothered.)
Thursday and Friday I was off work. (I'm off every Friday because Jumaah is mandatory for me and my family and we attend.) I went to WalMart and received a few more stares than normal. I heard someone make a comment that we must not have a television, implying that we didn't know what was going on. Went to Blockbuster (Jumaah evening is family time and we usually rent a movie or play a game together.) We dug around in our shed and grabbed our huge flag and hung it out. Put groceries away and prepared for Jumaah. Somewhere around midnight, our dogs were set off. Zawj grabbed a shirt and I grabbed the 9 and loaded it. We discovered that our neighbors had removed our flag because we "didn't deserve to have a flag after what you damn ragheads did". Since I had the 9, the neighbor called the police. We waited, they arrived, checked our license for weapons and made the neighbors give the flag back. Then I was given a lecture by the officers about not drawing a weapon because that could be construed as a threat. My response was, trespassing is a threat to me and I have a right to protect myself and my family. My husband slept on the porch (with the 9).
Went to Jumaah, I was disheartened to see that 1. so few brothers arrived and 2. even fewer were dressed in those wonderful thobs and kufis and abayas that I love. No incidents at the mosque. Just a few errant people wandering the grounds and looking inside.
Saturday I was back at work. By now the East and West coast drivers had arrived along with the news of the attack and the list of suspects. I was verballt assaulted 8 times in the first hour and a half a work. My boss asked if I wanted to leave, to take some time off until things cooled off. I asked if I would be paid while I was off. (wouldn't everyone love a job where they could stay home and still be paid a straight 40?). He said no. I said, "Well then, you have your answer". By then I had seen the report of the brother in Dallas who had been shot at a convenience store and the brother in Tulsa who had been beaten with a baseball bat. One coworker asked why I didn't just remove my scarf and then none of the truckers would know that I am a Muslim. I told her that ALLAH knows what I am. And if I am shot, killed, whatever, I don't want to answer for fearing other than ALLAH on the day of judgement. She commended me on my resolve. My boss conceded to allowing me to keep my weapon in my purse and my purse under the register "just in case".
Sunday, at work while making coffee, there was an 'in your face" debate about how dare I be in America after what 'my people' did to his country. I said authobilliahi min shaitanir rajeem and walked calmly towards my purse. Another trucker driver who was a regular at the stop intervened and he and two other drivers escorted the driver to his truck, appologized to me for his behavior. Aside from a few people not wanting me to wait on them (which was fine because I had enough other stuff to do). After that it was fairly uneventful.
Today (Monday) I'm scheduled to go in again and I work through until Thursday,inshaALLAH. My spouse and I have talked about whether or not I need to continue working or just give notice. I haven't decided what I want to do though it would be nice to concentrate on our animals (goats, chickens, rabbits and sheep), homeschooling our children and striving to be good muslims.
InshaALLAH, ALLAH (SWTA) will protect me and my family while we go through the daily grind. This is all a test.
As for getting back to normal. I don't even know what normal is.
I make du'a that your week was less eventful , that your day was not interrupted, that your lives have not been put on hold because of the acts of others. I make dua that your support systems are in place, that ALLAH grant us protection from those who would harm us, that our deeds are all accepted and we will be granted a repreive from the hellfire.