We underestimate how diverse the Muslim community is. We have a certain cookie-cutter image of a Muslim. It's funny, externally I am nothing like this cookie-cutter image, BUT as a Muslim I still think of this image when I think of a Muslim. Visual representations are hard to knock off.
Apparently, I am categorized as an 'Invisible Muslim', a term I learned just a few months ago. Invisible Muslims can camouflage easily because they are not covered and lack the typically strong features of Arabs. Recently I learned, the number of Muslims in the Asia-Pacific is larger than all other Muslims added. Number of Muslims in this area is triple the number of Muslims in Middle East. Latin America has a million more Muslims than US. It blows my mind. I was born in Tajikistan, in Central Asia grouped with all the other -istan countries. A big area of Muslims who have been forgotten. Most of these countries were part of the Communist USSR which had a huge impact on culture. Most people were not allowed to practice religion in public.
Women celebrated being hijab-less because as a group we fought and marched and threw out the cloths from our heads. We stood empowered and proud. This was the culture, you see.
We forgot who we were.
We are all so very different. Each flourished from unique interconnection of historical events, culture, family, traditions, and surrounding neighbors... all of which have made us who we are today. With the internet, we unite; we remind each other of who we are and were meant to be; we learn; we understand.
We finally see what is right, what is wrong.
We can finally step away from the 'norm' imposed on us; the 'norm' arranged and re-arranged generations after generations.
We can finally empower each other to take matters to our own hands. To be activists. To stand up. To not let others influence us
. We can finally design our own lives. To do what's right. To stay true to ourselves and most importantly true to all the teachings of the Prophet (saws) and the messages of Allah. 🌷Umeda