If you would have told me as a little girl that someday I would be Mrs. Mohamed, I probably would have laughed in your face. All I knew about the name Mohamed was that it was Muslim and that it had to do with 9/11 (or so I thought.) I was a white girl from a Christian home who thought that I would most likely end up with a white, Christian, American man. I figured I would meet this man at college, fall in love, get married, live in the suburbs, and have three kids. (Where did I get those ideas??)
One year after college I was to my surprise still single. I thought all nice Christian girls find their husbands in college. I later learned that it is an awful assumption as well as not necessary at all. There was so much I did in that first year out of college that I never could have done if I was married. I had a great career, great friends, and was able to travel across the country. I had a good life and I was content with it.
It was Thanksgiving of 2011 that I was home visiting my family in Illinois. I had a great weekend at home with my family and we were planning on going to church that Sunday. When I looked at the church bulletin I noticed that we had a guest speaker from the Middle East. I immediately was interested in what he had to say. As he approached the front stage I noticed that he was young, handsome, and very personable. As soon as he started talking I took in every word he said. He explained all about growing up in the Middle East. He was the youngest of 11 children, his father had two wives at the same time, and he grew up in a devout Muslim home. He explained to us all what Islam is really about. He explained that Islam is not just a religion, but a culture, its who you are. He explained that not all Muslims are terrorist (surprise surprise!), but that many of them are actually very nice people. He then went on to tell us his story of how he ended up in America and how one family changed everything for him. This family were followers of Jesus. He shared with us how their love and consistency in his life changed his mind about Americans. He grew up being taught that Americans were wild, rebellious, and lost people. He thought that it was best to be cautious around American’s due to their rebellious ways and strange beliefs in God. He also thought that most Americans didn’t like Muslims. This family showed him that not all Americans were what he was taught back home in the Middle East.
After the service, I decided that I had to meet him. I was curious to what life looked like for him on a daily basis. He was an incredible person. He also was on his own. He had just moved to Chicago for school. I knew that since becoming a follower of Christ he had not seen his family in 7 years. Where he comes from, following Christ may equal the death penalty. I waited in line to meet him, said hi, handed a note to him, and walked away.
Little did I know that one simple note would take me to where I am now…
Jaber and I became inseparable. I loved his story and I loved who he was. I loved learning about his culture and his people. I loved that he could love both Jesus AND where he came from. My husband is a Muslim by culture, but follows Jesus’s teaching. He is a man who can reach Muslims in a way that non-Muslims can not.
Once my husband and I got married it was very important to us that we bring both cultures into our family. Even though we both follow Jesus-we grew up VERY differently. We realized that there were good and bad aspects from both cultures and we wanted to create our own. In our house we speak both Arabic AND English. We eat American food AND middle eastern food. We want our kids to know where both of their parents came from.
SO how is life different for me since becoming Mrs. Mohamed?
Well for one I LOVE MUSLIMS. Everywhere I go I am always looking to make Muslim friends. I want to be a friend and an encouragement to them. I want them to know that not all Americans dislike them or are afraid of them. I want them to know that they are welcome here. Secondly, I love how people look at me when I tell them my last name is Mohamed…if you haven’t noticed I am a young white girl who doesn’t look Muslim AT ALL. I love the fact that I get checked at the airport EVERYTIME now that I have a new last name. I actually find it quite hilarious.
So what is my CHALLENGE to YOU?!
Befriend the Muslims!! I encourage you to do your research. You don’t need to be afraid when you see a women walk by who is covered. You don’t need to assume there is a terrorist on your plane if you see an Arab man with a beard. The majority of Muslims are VERY nice people.
So what about the terrorists?? Well just like in any other race and religion, there are always those few people who are extreme. There are terrorists from every race, country, and religion. We don’t assume all Christians are bad after we hear about a supposed Christian committing an awful crime do we? No of course not! So my encouragement to you is to assume the best in people and treat people like you would want to be treated!
Anyways, my husband and I love to talk and answer questions about Islam and Muslims. We don’t think any questions are silly and we know that there are reasons why Americans think the way they do about Muslims. Our goal is to shed light on what is really going on. News channels don’t do justice…In the Middle East the news channels make Americans the enemy, while here in America it’s the opposite. We want people to know TRUTH!
Well that’s all for now until next time,
-Mrs. Mohamed 🙂