Living With Islamphobia

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Originally published in The Baltimore Sun

By  Adil Khan

By the grace of God, I have overcome the worst type of adversity — the type of adversity that is directed at the DNA of one’s very being. You see, to me my faith, Islam, is my everything, comprising the nooks and crannies, the deep valleys and the tall summits, the oceans of my being, my universe.

Amazingly, all of these insults and injuries, this hue and cry against me have occurred while I was serving my country! When I was working to sponsor a blood drive a few years ago at Johns Hopkins University, my alma mater, under the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Muslims for Life campaign (in remembrance of the 9/11 victims) an older person, perhaps a graduate student, started verbally abusing me, my friend and my faith. We were wearing Muslims for Life t-shirts, and this was the trigger that set him off. I simply smiled and went about my business in the face of his tirade.

This year, I marched in the July 4th parade in Dundalk as a part of the AMC’s Muslims for Loyalty campaign and turning a corner was greeted by a man on the sidelines with a megaphone who, seeing Muslims with American flags, July 4th regalia, and prayer hats said, “What the (offensive word) is this?” or something to that effect. To this, I simply smiled at him and said, “Hello.” The look on the man’s face resembled that of surprise and confusion. This is the beauty of Islam.

In July while serving lunch at Our Daily Bread, I was called a terrorist by a poor, hungry man. Then in August, I was called a “Taliban” twice by another poor, hungry man, the second time loudly in front of volunteers and guests alike. Both times, I responded pleasantly and informed them about the true, peaceful, mankind-loving Islam and that I was only there serving because of Islam. This is the beauty of Islam.

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