This is a true life experience from Pam, a new contributor on our LUTF team. Pam’s story reveals that the problem is Islam, and what Islam demands of Muslims. Even in America.
It was 1997, in Orange County California where I was introduced to a cute, charming guy who wanted to go out with me. He was persistent. It was nothing out of the ordinary as I imagine that most relationships start with a glimmer in the eyes of two young people falling for each other. I was smitten. He looked so Orange County. So, Californian. And, guess what? He even lived in the same city where Disneyland is. How much happier could I be with a guy as cute as a young Brad Pitt?
We spent an evening watching the fireworks in the night sky that were being fired off from the happiest place on earth. I’ll continue. He had wispy waves of light brown and blond hair, and honey hazel eyes. His voice was attractive with a deep romantic bass to it, and he had a smile that could make you melt. I had met an all-American guy!!! His name was Tony. His best friend was Franky, another friend was named Moe, and another was Sammy. (O.k., so I did think they sounded a bit like the Rat Pack, but that only added to the cuteness of the gang of friends.) I didn’t question the names. They sounded legitimate. They goofed off like a bunch of young regular American guys.
But then something began to change. It was after 6 months into the relationship that Tony started sharing his Muslim background with me. He said his father practiced Islam, and that one day he would get back to practicing. I didn’t know what that meant. I remember thinking I was the All Accepting American girl. I remember thinking… “So, what does being Muslim mean?” I knew nothing at the time. I remember thinking, “So what, we are Americans. Everyone has an immigrant background and ideologies coexist here.” Then one day… trying to be a nice, considerate person, I stupidly brought his family pizza for dinner.
I came into the apartment. I set the pizza boxes out and opened them. His three sisters didn’t hesitate and went to grab slices. It was then that his father came in to the dining area, and BAM! Like an explosion had gone off, he started yelling in Arabic, and grabbed their pizza slices out of their hands and flung them back into the boxes. I was startled. He looked at me and pointed his finger in my face and yelled at me. Mostly Arabic, so I didn’t understand.
My boyfriend didn’t protect me or ask him to calm down. His sisters and he just sat there in silence, also stunned, but I’m sure they knew what he was saying. I was still confused and scared stiff. Their dad grabbed the boxes and threw one on the other in anger. He stormed out of the room. It was then that I quietly asked… “What happened?”
My boyfriend looked at me and said…”You brought pepperoni pizza into the house.” Oh, my God!!! I was so sorry. I felt stupid. I was apologetic. I was so ashamed. I was embarrassed. I never meant to offend anyone. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know I had done anything wrong. I profusely apologized to them, and to their father. That was one of my first experiences of what being Muslim meant.
(Pam is our LUTF contributor from Southern California. Her true-life experience reveals the conflict of values from Islam in America.)