The Islam I See

Becky McClements - Senegal


March 12, 2013

The Islam I see is not the one they said I would see.  It is joyous dancing that shakes the ground you walk on. It is singing while you weep for the loss of a loved one. It is quietly washing yourself and laying down a mat five times a day. It is gathering every Friday under a simple, fenced in, wooden awning to pray. It is a community that shares the weight of its member’s joys and sorrows. It is a faith so strong that you put your children’s health, the outcome of the harvest, and even whether you wake up the next morning in the hands of one called Alla. The same Alla, so I’ve been told, that promises seventy two virgins to any man who straps a bomb to his chest and takes as many people with him as he can.

I think I remember someone wiser once saying, “They aren’t all like that. The man with the turban is not always out to get you and the women with her head covered isn’t always repressed.” But who will believe that someone wiser when the television flashes imaged if a suspected terrorist reciting the Fatima and newspapers report yet another bombing. When the story of a woman, stoned to death because her coverings slipped, emerges and proves to be unfathomable. The words of the wise are lost among the images that pour forth, linking pain and violence to a man holding a Quran.

The Islam I see is not the one they said I would see and now I am the someone wiser. But I will not try to argue Islam’s innocence in a trail where world media has already reached a verdict.  All I can say is go. Go and see the Islam I have seen, a beautiful religion, turned scapegoat for the evils and wrongdoings of individuals.

Becky McClements