I was attending an open house at my kid’s preschool, when a mother came up to me and expressed her gratitude about an email I have sent out earlier to all parents, explaining about my religion, in the context of an event taking place in the near future. As she was talking to me, she said something like “I totally appreciate how you put yourself all out there, and I understand how you would feel as a minority in this country”…. My brain froze for a second and said: “did she just call me a minority?” I couldn’t follow up on what she said next, as the rest of the conversation picked up in my own head.
I never considered myself a minority in this country. I am white so it cannot be the race factor. I am a Muslim, but then so is a million other women who do not wear the veil, so are they considered a minority too? Is it the fact that I look different? So could a rugged dressed person considered a minority as well? I guess not. People will just say he is different. What is it then?
What made me a minority in her eyes, and the eyes of many others? If she said I am a minority then I probably am perceived this way. But I kept wondering why I, personally, do not consider myself a minority. I am a Muslim woman, of Lebanese origin, living in the US. For me it stopped there. She was a Christian woman of, for example, Swedish ancestors born and living in the US. Why can’t we human beings broaden our understanding of co-existence and blur the barriers that define us? We have a lot more in common than our differences.
This silly idealistic conversation in my head took me back to my pilgrimage journey, back in 2007. I was in Mekka performing the acts of worship alongside a couple of other million people from different parts of the world, black, white, poor, rich, ignorant and educated, a beautiful mosaic of human beings all dressed up in simple white clothes, performing one task. One cannot tell a king from a genitor in that place. We were all equal in each other’s eyes. There was no minority there. There was one majority. Not because we were all Muslims, but because we were all there for one reason: worship God the way, we believe, He wants us to worship Him. When a higher mission is set forth, people will unite under it.
While that task unites Muslims all over the world, it could be argued among other religions. Some want to worship God and some just don’t want to get God into the equation. Some believe He exists and some are still thinking about it. But could we as human beings come up with a platform from which we can all be equal? Is there a task that can contain all our differences and definitions of ourselves? Good versus bad maybe? Could it be possible that we have become so self-indulged that we simply cannot think of anything beyond our own desires and aspirations?
Diversity, a valued term in our time, is still a term segmented in nature.
Diversity contains labeling. What if we were all one majority. Wouldn’t that be enriching? Would we be looking at any other person as one of us?
Peace and blessings be upon the prophet that said: “people are all equal just like a comb’s teeth. There is no preference of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor of a white over black, except in piety”. And piety in every religion or philosophy can only be good.