I have been a little jumpy lately. Not because I live in a country that has experienced terrorism (see the Mumbai attacks) or because the second most prolific religion is Islam (at about 13%). It is because some people I know are so incredibly anti-Muslim.
I just had an interaction with three guys down by the beach. One was clean shaven and looked like a “normal” Indian. His two friends, as he explained, were from Kashmir. They looked every bit the stereotype Muslim with their clothing and facial hair. We briefly talked about the car that was stuck in the sand and I lent a hand to push it out. We all turned to the ocean waves for a bit. Then one of them asked of Jacob, “whose child is this?”
“Mine.” I said.
“He’s different than you.” One of them quickly said as another said “He isn’t begotten to you.”
“We adopted him.” I said as I wondered if I had ever heard the word ‘begotten’ used in a sentence outside of biblical quotes.
“Adopted?” One confirmed. They shook my hand. We had a little more small chat, took some photos, and then went our own ways.
That wasn’t typical of my experiences with Muslims here. Most of my interactions are pretty superficial, though I am extremely grateful for the Muslims. They are the butchers and without them we would have much fewer options for chicken and other meats. I wave to the guy that sets up a shop at the end our street each evening. The owners of one of the grocery stores have become more and more chatty with us. We hear the call to prayer regularly from the two or three Mosques within earshot of our home. Today I was on the roof waiting for burgers to cook, sitting in a lounge chair and listening to Adhan over the bark of the street dogs and the blare of the bus horns on the main road. There is a woman in my office that prays when she is able. They are every bit a part of India as Hindus are.
I think most Americans are accustomed to seeing a Jewish person wearing a Yamaka (though less than 2% of Americans are Jewish) but not many women wearing burkas (Muslims constitute over 15% of India’s population). I see women in them most days on our drive to work.
You don’t like that women are forced to cover up? Well think how strange it is that businessmen in America have to wear a suit and tie. A tie? How is that functional? It is stifling to wear and yet the unwritten commandments of the unofficial religion of business and money makes men wear them. If you want to question another’s practices, first clean up your own culture’s. Something about throwing rocks in a glass house applies here.
You also are not begotten…