This post originally appeared on AddictingInfo.org.
Kate Downing Khaled is your typical, Mid-Western White American mom. She’s married with children, and living in suburbia. She is also a Muslim. Due to the climate of hate against Muslims that America is currently experiencing, she decided to speak out against what is happening.
While Khaled is unlikely to experience Islamophobia — after all, she’s white, and unless she told you, you wouldn’t know she was Muslim — her husband and kids certainly might. Brought up Methodist, Khaled converted to the Islamic faith in her mid-twenties. In order to combat the growing climate against Muslims, she decided to speak out on Facebook. The post has since gone viral.
Khaled’s post says:
I’m not okay, and I have a feeling I won’t be okay for a long time. So I’m asking for help. I need you.
My people are turning against *my* people. And because of that I feel angry, sad, betrayed. And scared, not for me, but because I’m raising 3 beautiful boys. And I so desperately want them to grow up feeling affirmed, legitimized and whole.
White Americans: you are my people. I am a highly educated and professionally driven white woman living in the Midwest who grew up in Iowa. I was the captain of our high school’s drill team 3 years in a row. I played ‘Emily’ in that same school’s rendition of ‘Our Town,’ and I still have my lines and the routines from those activities memorized. My parents were high school sweethearts. For better or worse, I can trace my roots back as far as any non-Native American family can. My family came to America as indentured servants in the belly of a ship called the Mayflower. I am one of you. I could literally register as a Daughter of the American Revolution. I am “us” as much as I love paddling wood-canvas canoes, the cracking sound the bat makes connecting with the ball at a baseball game, riding on back roads in the summer time, singing James Taylor songs.
I am also Muslim American.
Muslims are my people. I added Islam to my already full life at the end of graduate school in 2007; at the time it was a private realignment of my spiritual self. I had fallen in love with the rhythm of the Qur’an while learning Arabic in undergrad; I was seeking more meditative practice in my world, and Islam had the type of social justice vibe that I was looking for. I wasn’t in jail, I wasn’t running from anything, I wasn’t crazy (at least not any more crazy than any other 25 year old girl coming of age). It made my life more complicated to explain, but it also enriched my world more than I had imagined, and provided me with a global framework and the chance to know my higher power. It was the right path for me. It was also a journey that allowed me to grow my family by billions of brothers and sisters worldwide. I am “them.” I am as Muslim as my brown and covered sisters.
I am a stark example of ‘us’ and ‘them’ living in one body.
I shouldn’t have to share these private parts of my identity, but I’m not sure what else to do. Muslim Americans, like me, need your help and support.
The way I see it, the ‘us’ that I love is hurting the ‘them’ that I am. And I really need you to start understanding:
The ‘them’ that you see is actually a beautiful part of what makes ‘us’ great.
Khaled is most afraid for her children, and how they may be reject on the basis of their faith. She is as American as they come — after all, she could trace her relatives back to President John Adams — but because her husband, Taquee, is descended from Bangladesh and a second generation American, he may not be accepted as she is. He is also the father of her children, which could make them targets. Khaled says of this fear:
“It would break my heart if they weren’t accepted.”
She goes on to say what we all need to remember:
“People need to understand that Islam is as diverse as America, and part of what makes America beautiful is that we can all practice what we believe in peace together.”
And that is the bottom line. Hopefully, more Kate Downing Khaleds speak up. We definitely need more of these posts and voices.
Thank you so much for speaking out. I am sure it made more difference than you think.
Human Rights and Equality
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