Living in a Muslim Country

The other day, I told a stranger about my plans to move to Greece to work at a safe house.  “You be careful,” he said.  I get this a lot, so I hummed in appreciation/agreement without getting into why it’s dangerous to live anywhere.  But then he continued, “You’re brave to live in a Muslim country.”

“Oh.  Well.  Greece is a Christian country.  Greek Orthodox?  Christian,” I explained.  I was totally thrown by his assumption that Greece was an Islamic country.  He was equally thrown that it wasn’t.  “Well….good luck,” and he was gone.

What I didn’t say, partly because my brain was shutting down in confusion, and partly because it wasn’t 100% relevant, is that I’ve already lived in a Muslim country, and I don’t think I was particularly brave for doing so.  Never once did I fear for my life while I spent five months in Senegal, except maybe when I took a moto taxi with a twelve-year-old driver.  But what do I know?  

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I thought these Muslim neighbors were my friends, but maybe their affection was a very weird form of aggression.
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Maman Codou and Lamba…you can see I am fearful for my life.
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Christians and Muslims lay aside religious tensions to take break on trampoline.

I know what that guy meant.  There are Islamic countries that I do not want to visit, not now, because I would be scared for my safety.  But those places are dangerous not because they are Muslim.  They’re dangerous because scary people found some power and they used that power for oppression, persecution, and death.

The difference between Christianity and Islam is not that one is dangerous and the other isn’t (people have committed atrocities in the name of both religions).  The difference is that Muslims believe they can please Allah by doing good and living moral lives while Christians believe they can please God by trusting him and having faith in his grace to make us good.

I loved living in Senegal.  I loved my friends who are Muslim.  By and large, I found that we had far more in common than there were differences between us.  And they never made me feel unsafe.  So PLEASE, stop assuming all Muslims are dangerous or evil or whatever.  It’s an insult to my friends.  Be specific.  Don’t generalize your fear to an entire group of people.

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5 thoughts on “Living in a Muslim Country

  1. Sulaiman Dawood September 14, 2015 / 3:10 pm

    Its so nice to see some people so kind-hearted and understanding. And I love your playfully sardonic tone in the piece!

    Fun Fact: Allah just means God in Arabic.
    Have a blessed day!

    Like

    • Tricia September 14, 2015 / 3:14 pm

      I’m glad you picked up on the sarcasm. 🙂 I very much wish people would look for the similarities between people before jumping into the differences. Thank you for commenting! I appreciate your encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tommy Meisel December 31, 2015 / 4:50 pm

    Tricia, I always enjoy your posts, no matter whether I agree with any particular opinion or not. Your writing is a pleasure to read. You have a great talent and it looks as if you are picking up enough experiences in your life so far that you are able to write about almost anything with insight. I am proud to know you!
    I am also greatly pleased at the new darker font which is so much easier for me to read. Thank you!

    Like

    • Tricia December 31, 2015 / 5:23 pm

      I’m glad you can read it better! And thanks for the compliment. I’ve always been all too willing to share my opinion on something….hopefully now I have some experiences to back up those opinions. :p

      Like

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