In search of my identity
Every peace-loving Musalman carries this pain in his heart.
I am the only Muslim in my company. Hundreds of my colleagues love me. They love me very sincerely, more than they love each other. They bring chocolates and candies for me, on every now and then, for some reasons like birthdays etc.
One day, on the first day of Norway shooting, a white man , scared, came to me and said. See this mother f****rs started destroying the most peaceful country in the world.
I was sad to hear that. This is the time when a Muslim worries so much. Had I not known to them , I would have concealed my religious identity. I thought, why he had chosen me for this statement. That was not true. He shared his anguish to many. He was very nice. Why did I feel that he is talking about Muslims. He didn’t even mention that Muslims did it. Why did I think that he told me because I am a Muslim? Why a Muslim think like that?
After 9/11 all Muslims are going through this fear and pain. We needed more to prove our loyalty and love of nation. More than others.
In our community library, there are thousands of books. I take some books and read. There are 25 or more books about Jihad and Osama Bin Laden. After 9/11 so many new additions come every year. So many white people read these books, they discuss, and they understand. I also wanted to read one of the books.
But I fear. Lending a book from the library and reading it is not a crime. But I fear differently. If something happens in our community, some thing terrorism- related, the police will search my reading history from the community library. If they find me reading a book on Jihad, or a book on Osama, they will interrogate me. Even if an incident happens after 10 years, they have a proof, my reading history , they will ask me on such and such date you have read such and such book. Why did you read a book on Jihad?”. They will ask me, what my name is.
This time I tell my Last Name: KALAPPURAKAL, meaning I had a KALAPPURA back home in India! OK, what is your full name. I say Azeez Kalappurakal. Ok ,what is real full name. Now I say Abdul Azeez Kalappurakal .
This is an Arab name. My illiterate mother who had no idea of 9/11 put my name, meaning “ this boy is a slave of God who is Great. He will one day become GREAT , he will acquire the qualities of greatness .” She learned from Hindu community about Vishnu Das, Ram Das, Mohan Das, and even Yesu das.
The police immediately call me ABDUL , and ask , why did you read this book on Jihad or Osama? I answer , I can read it by law. I took it from our library. Ok. But, what was your intention? I say, to understand Osama. And about Jihad.
Thank you, ABDUL, they leave.
Now it has become my duty to prove my intention of reading this book!
What can I prove? I sweat.
My entire life now turns a search of my identity!
After Oklohoma Bombing in 1992 by a Christian sect, no Christian was ever doubted. Not to be. After Norway shooting in 2011 by a Christian conservative , no Christian was ever doubted. Not also to be doubted. Germans have a respectful position in the society even after killing 60 lakhs Jews by Germans.
Why me, why me, why me??? I always ask.
I fear to call a Muslim over phone, because later if he is involved in any cases the police can trace the call history and interrogate me. I have no such fear if I call a Manohar, or Michael, even if they are arrested in any cases.
I have a proof: Mine is not their religion. So I am not a terrorist!
Christians preach here in Canada. They distribute hotdogs and breads and request to hold my head to pray in the name of Jesus, the Saviour. They are good people. They help irrespective of our religions. It is deemed a good thing. I line Sundays for their bread and hotdogs. A love-sharing act. They feed the poor, and also save the poor from different paths of "pseudo salvation" to one and only one path of Heaven, that is Jesus, the Savior. Nobody doubts. Nobody cares, too.
If I distribute biriyani and read verses from holy quran , I do not think I get the same respect. Surely, this is a country which gives equal treatment for all religions. I can preach my religion so long as it is not a disturbance to others. But, will I be? Why I doubt unnecessarily, I ask. Why I doubt that the police will question me and ask my intention?
Is it my disease, or disease of every peace-loving Muslims?
Is it a success of Osama Bin Laden, and other terrorists in polarising fearful Muslim minds?
Is it a failure of modern , civilized, democratic nations to save people from fear?
The Jews were the only community to have that fear. Not now, before. I saw a Bengali film Mr and Mrs Iyer. Hindu rioters are searching a bus for Muslims for revenging a communal riot. They try one by one, strip search their identities, ask names. All are afraid. They show their identities- holy thread or holy cross. They declare their names in full with caste names.
Then we see a man weeping inside the bus. He was not a Muslim .Why does he weep? He was a Jew. Why ? Jews ,like Muslims, have circumcised penises . Unfortunately, a circumcised penis is taken as a Muslim symbol , like we did during our 1947 communal riots.
Am I suffering from a Jewish fear ?
Like the Jews suffered during the second World War- never to tell even a Jew that he is a Jew!