There is no doubt that I’ve been travelling a lot. It’s something I’ve never really done until now, and I can honestly say that I love it. But this post is not going to be about the adventures I’ve had nor the adventures I’m about to begin. Traveling for me has been a method of therapy. What you see is the photo’s and the stories but what you don’t see is the stress and to a certain level, fear, that goes into booking a ticket. That is what I’m going to share with you.
I was born Adel Narinesingh, that was my dad’s last name. I changed it to Mohammed because for whatever reason I liked it better. It made me proud, it was a name that had a lot of meaning behind it. Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him, is the prophet founder of Islam. He was Allah’s (God) messenger on earth and the last prophet. My last name isn’t spelt the same, but it still holds the “power.” I’m very proud of it, and yes I make jokes about it because as of right now it’s the only thing I can do. This is the first time I’m going to admit this, but I think I need to say it. Right after the elections in the US, I changed my Facebook profile name to “Adel Darwish.” I told people it was so future employers couldn’t find me… I share dog videos and music. There is nothing all that incriminating on that profile. I changed it because for the first time in my life I feel like I need to keep that information to myself.
During the summer I was out to lunch, I was sitting on a patio enjoying sangria. I got a phone call and when I answered it my friend greeted me in Arabic, and my response was “wa-Alaikumussalam” Which means, “May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you.” A woman passing by yelled at me to go back to “My Sand Hut.” I thought it was hilarious and I got a free meal out of it. I don’t want to get into politics, but I’m not exactly happy about where we are as people. I don’t just mean Canadians, I mean globally. I think there is a lot of fear and hate. I believe that some of our elected leaders are misguided and misinformed. I think there is a lot of division. That same hate and fear is being preached by the people who are supposed to preach reason.
I’m in Finland, but when I was leaving Canada, I was randomly selected for further screening. Not the first time it’s happened. I’m usually really friendly because I have nothing to hide. Since I’ve been in Finland, I’ve taken little trips to places I’ve only dreamed about, like England. In the Manchester Airport, I was given the third degree by one of their customs officers. Manchester’s been through a lot in the last little while. So again I just stood there, smiling and answering questions. Last week, however, I think everything came to a head. I commented on something online about ‘The Muslim Threat” Within a few hours I had a bunch of hate mail in my DM’s. Some of them were pretty funny but at some point, you can see that these people really believe this. At some point, it stops being about learning what other people think and it just becomes demoralizing. I said learning because learning what people think who don’t share your belief is the best way to get the whole picture.
Every time I book a ticket to go somewhere this is in the back of my mind, “Will I be hassled at the airport?” or “Will someone scream when I begin to pray before taking off?” They sound foolish, don’t they? What are the chances of that happening? A lot greater than you think. These are the things I think about when I decide I’ve had enough of Finland and would like to see somewhere else. I do not accept the hate nor do not condone it. My faith has been associated with a lot of terror and wrongdoing, that I can not deny. My faith has been said to mistreat women, hate homosexuality, hate the non-believers. My faith plain and simple has been typecasted. We’re a threat, and we need to be stopped. I will not discuss things about other religions because that would be throwing them under the bus. I will say this, there are a billion Muslims in the world if they were all terrorists, homophobes, sexist, jihadist extremest, why haven’t they won? It’s not because they’re in impoverished countries, it’s because they’re not the majority. They’re just the loudest.
I’m not preaching peace and love, I’m telling you to pick up a fucking book and learn. Fear and hate is definitely not the way forward. Education and reason are. If you pick up the Quran and read it, there definitely is a lot of things in there that are just insane, but there is also a lot of good. That’s what religion is, isn’t it? Contradictory. Hate and fear just happen to be an easy path. As I’m concluding this post I can’t help but notice that I can remove “Muslim and Islam” and replace it with, “Minority” so people of African descent, women, people in the LGBTQ community, and immigrants and it wouldn’t change much. If this costs me followers so be it. Once again thank you for reading.