Muslim for a Month

I teach Social Studies in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area at a very diverse high school. In an attempt to better understand a significant portion of the student population, I have undertaken the idea to become "Muslim for a Month"; hence the title for this blog.

Name:
Location: Fairfax County, VA, United States

Friday, September 22, 2006

People keep volunteering me for things...

The MSA hosts a dinner for students, their family members, faculty, etc. for Eid. My Principal asked me to share my month of experiences with whoever is assembled at that time. I have said yes, but need to check with the MSA to find out if that is all right with them, and I need to decide as my month progresses if this is something that I am comfortable sharing or want to keep for myself.

Then my Assistant Principal mentioned my endeavor to the Journalism teacher at school, and (I guess?) suggested that the school paper do a story about me and my month as a Muslim. I am friends with the Journalism teacher, so I sent her the link to this blog, but my initial reaction was “don’t talk to me, I am new to this, and am not sure I know what I am talking about.” I asked her to have the student journalists talk to the people I have been talking to: the MSA sponsor, the other teachers in the school who are Muslim; they are much better sources of information than I, and they have been my resources. I guess they want to do a profile on me and find out about my experience. However, all this attention is unnerving. I am beginning to feel like a fraud. I am only spending a month walking in someone else’s shoes, the people to talk to regarding their experiences as a Muslim are the people who are Muslim 365 days a year, not just for 30 days. While I enjoy the television show of the same name, and it does often provide insight for that person into their own biases, stereotypes, etc and hopefully, change their mind about things, they are no experts on the topic by the end of that month; nor do I feel that I will be. The only thing I will know is how I felt, and I am not sure how I feel about that being public knowledge.

That sounds weird to type into a blog that is available for anyone with a computer and internet access to read, but I conceived the idea of this coming month as a very personal journey. I intended for it to be a time for me to learn about myself, about a faith that is largely a mystery to me, and a chance to see if the world at large treats me differently. This could ultimately end up being an intensely personal experience, and I tend to see this blog as a diary that other people just happen to read. I have not described myself to the world at large specifically enough to be identified by people who do not already know me. The reason I went to the Administration in the first place was the knowledge that wearing the hijab at school and in the community will be very public, and I felt it only right to get their OK before proceeding, alerting them that they might receive questions about me. I understand that there are aspects to this that cannot help be anything but public, but I have to decide what I am comfortable making public beyond that. And only time can provide that.

4 Comments:

Anonymous ~N said...

Your thoughts are very insightful and really showing you and your feelings.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Bint Larry Ibn William said...

Hopefully the experience will be beneficial for you. It's always interesting to see these type of endeavors go forth. I am in the DC area as well if you have any questions (even though I'm sure you have a great support system). Cheers!

3:17 AM  
Blogger Husayn said...

Salaam

I am pleased to read of your undertaking, and Insha Allah you will encourage greater understanding between diverse peoples.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT I THINK IT'S GREAT THAT YOU STEPED OUT OF A SHELL ALL OF US ARE IN. WE STEREO TYPE EVERYONE NOW WHEN I SEE A MOSELM I WILL SEE DIFFENTLY I USED TO THINK THE SCARVE THEY WEAR WAS SOMETHING THE MEN MADE THEM DO NOW I KNOW AFTER RESEARCH, THAT THEY WEAR IT FOR MODESTY. SOMETHING I ADMIRE SINCE TODAY MOST YOUNG WEMAN WEARING A LONG SKIRT MIGHT BE THOUGHT AS OLDER LOOKING MODEST EVEN IF SHE WAS BEARLY EARING A SHIRT.

10:39 PM  

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