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Reading a recommended “post” yesterday put me into a funk. The diary itself wasn’t bad (and the diarist is an obviously thoughtful person who meant no bigotry and is obviously not a bigot and was merely trying to make a point), but it triggered something in me that has had me depressed for a whole day now.

I stayed away for a day, yet I’m still blue. So I thought I’d just put my thoughts down.

I’ve always felt very secure in my “Muslim-hood” if you will. I live in probably the most conservative suburbs of Chicago, and haven’t seen anyone say anything rude/bigoted to me. My wife also reports no one has ever said anything to her. We both look obviously Muslim (my wife wears a scarf).

At my job, as several hundred of us huddled around the one TV in the cafeteria on September 11, 2001, and as we comforted each other, I expressed some guilt (as a Muslim)… and my coworkers genuinely questioned why I would feel the need? It was just a bunch of crazy people. They really didn’t look down on Muslims or even Islam.

It was such a good feeling, despite the awful events of that day.

But the Muslim haters have been working pretty hard over the years to re-train the very open and friendly minds of my fellow citizens. And their evil propaganda affects even the most thoughtful, big-hearted, well read and (when it comes to my rights) uncompromising people I’ve ever known: Daily Kos users.

My insecurities started when you would see repeated posts on the front page “defending” Obama from the “charge” of being a Muslim. I knew the intent behind them, and don’t hold it against anyone, but still it put me on notice like it had never before.

Then Muzikal203 really crystallized it in her last diary (regarding Park51): The fact that this is even a debate and that being a Muslim is now a SMEAR is very disheartening.

But the diary yesterday was an eye opener – it headlined: Welcome to Kansas, care to live under Sharia?

I get it – the writer was trying to show some snark. But a statement in the diary really struck me: “I have to say, every day, I'm so grateful that I will never ever live under Sharia.”

The last one was also snark, I presume. But the underlying theme (understood by the audience and writer) was – hey sharia is one of the worst thing in the universe.

Why is sharia bad? Because it is associated with the heir apparent of communism: Islam—the new existential threat to America and all red blooded Americans should hate it.

Well let me tell you something. I practice sharia. I try to follow my interpretation of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings of God be upon him) sayings as much as I can. I try to see how they apply to my society and the time I live in and try to follow it as best as I can.

Nearly everyone has their own opinion on what “sharia” means. Everyone agrees that sharia changes over time. For example, Muslims weren’t given rules about securities arbitrage 1400 years ago. So they came up with a set of rules to regulate them, based on the Quran and the Prophet’s sayings.  Everyone also agrees that the Quran is the #1 source of Islam. Right after most repeated/memorized verse in the Quran “ayat al-Kursi” (which describing the greatness of God) it says the following:

Let there be no compulsion in religion

(Surah 2, verse #256)

Originally posted to happenstance on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 04:41 PM PDT.

Also republished by Muslims at Daily Kos and Spiritual Organization of Unapologetic Liberals at Daily Kos.

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