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Short Story | The Day Jessica Left Islam ©



Jessica turned from where she was parting the heavily brocaded curtains to peer outside into the darkness. She found a large woman with deep olive skin gesturing toward a crushed velvet cushion on a chair in the dining room. The woman’s gold embroidered traditional dress that was wrapped about her made Jessica wish she could be in the comfort of her own apartment right then. She had missed American Idol to come tonight, she thought sadly. It was hard to believe that just a year before she had auditioned to be on the show. But she imagined she would have to give up dancing for good now…

“Sit,” the woman said again, “We will have tea.”

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It was then that Jessica remembered the woman from earlier. The woman’s accent had slightly distorted the intonations of the brief English outbursts she had used to command the servers who couldn’t seem to set up or clear out fast enough for the woman’s tastes.

“Useless,” Jessica remembered hearing the woman mutter in a low voice after a server scurried from the room swaying under the weight of the stack of glass plates with half-eaten food on them. Then the woman began chatting in a language that Jessica did not recognize or understand.

“Thank you,” Jessica murmured as made her way to the table. But she didn’t feel thankful. She felt suffocated and overwhelmed. The house smelled of scented burning wood and she wondered if it would be rude to open a window.

“Islam means peace,” a burly imam with a large beard had told her two months before, when she still hadn’t gotten up the nerve to become Muslim though she knew it was the right thing to do. “When you say the shahādah, all your sins are wiped away. And you feel new.”

But Jessica didn’t feel new. She didn’t even feel peace. She just felt…lonely, incredibly lonely. How would she tell her parents? They would kill her…

“You enjoy yourself tonight, no?” the woman asked after she and Jessica seated themselves across from each other at the long polished oak wood table. The woman was arranging a silver tea set as she spoke.

“Sorry about my mom,” a girl had leaned down to whisper to Jessica after most of the guests had gone home. Jessica’s gaze followed the teenager who was tucking a soiled tablecloth under one arm, but the girl kept moving and didn’t wait for a reply.

At the moment, the apology had confused Jessica, but Jessica’s now heightened discomfort inspired the vague feeling that she was about to have tea with the girl’s mother, whom Jessica assumed owned the large home where the party had been held.

“I’m sorry about staying here so long,” Jessica said, glancing at the window she had been looking out earlier. “It’s just that they told me—”

“Nonsense,” the woman said with a wave of her hand as she reached for the teapot and poured hot water into a small china glass, then reached across the table to set it in front of Jessica. “You are not an imposition.”

Jessica quickly tore open a package of artificial sweetener and emptied the powder into her hot water, stirring it vigorously with the small silver tea spoon. She clumsily brought the small cup to her lips in an effort to quiet the laughter she felt erupting at the back of her throat. It was incredibly rude to mock how a person spoke. Maybe it was the stress of the night getting to her, but she should know better, even if she had been Muslim for only three weeks.

But the sound of the woman’s accent mixed with the “perfect English” was annoying, a feeling that had, even as a child, often inspired laughter in Jessica. She would have to keep her composure until Damon arrived to take her home. Then they could laugh about it together in the car…

“You are married, no?”

Jessica looked up suddenly from behind the teacup that was still at her lips, her eyes widened. She gulped the liquid and shuddered at the stinging heat in her throat. She coughed to avoid the piercing gaze of the woman with dark eyes and a determined expression that made Jessica squirm in her seat as she set her cup down.

“No, I, uh—” Jessica didn’t know how to respond. She was only 19 years old and in the spring term of her second year in undergrad. Marriage had never crossed her mind. The only ring she wore right then was on the middle finger of her right hand, and was a simple sterling silver band she’d bought at Claire’s when she was in high school. So she had no idea what made this imposing woman ask the question.

Jessica stole a glance at her watch and groaned inwardly as she realized that it would be at least another forty minutes before her friend would arrive. The women at the masjid had said the party would end around 10:30 or 11:00, and Jessica had imagined she was being overly polite when she’d asked Damon to come at 10:00. She was mortified when she saw the final guests drifting out at 9:00.

“I can’t,” Damon’s voice had crackled through her cell phone after she slipped to a corner of the living room to phone him and ask if he could come earlier. “I have to take the Bar again tomorrow, Jessie. You know that, and I need the extra time to study.”

“So he is your boyfriend?” the woman’s voice rose as her heavy hands daintily placed her small teacup on its saucer. The woman was looking directly at Jessica, blinking repeatedly. The woman’s polite expression only thinly veiled the disapproval on her middle-aged face.

Jessica’s stomach churned. She dropped her gaze to the cup she now cradled in her hands. She sensed the woman’s emphasis on the word “boy” had nothing to do with English being a second language.

“Next thing they’ll tell you is you can’t talk to me,” Damon had told her, grunting, when she first expressed to him her interest in becoming Muslim.

“You’re just being cynical,” she’d said. He had laughed then, a laugh of pity. “You’ll see,” he had said quietly, seeming to be talking more to himself than her.

“No, no, no,” Jessica said, shaking her head, a smile now toying at the sides of her mouth as she tried to appear composed before the woman. She felt her cheeks go warm as she realized her reply suggested she was hiding something shameful.

“Then you are just roaming about here and there with a strange man?”

There was an awkward pause, and the sound of a car approaching outside sent Jessica’s heart racing in embarrassment and hope. Then the sound faded.

“No, of course not…” Jessica said, realizing she couldn’t recall the woman’s name. There had been so many to keep up with, and none of them had been in English. Would she have to change her name too? O Lord, her mother would have a fit. “…I’ve known him since we were kids.”

“Hmph.” The woman poured more water into Jessica’s cup and the woman’s eyes concentrated on this task briefly before looking at Jessica again. “He is Muslim, then, of course?”

It was an accusation, not a question. But Jessica decided that the woman had a right to disapprove, even if she didn’t have a right to pry. Jessica was still learning all the rules in Islam, and though she really wanted to learn, she was scared she’d learn one more thing she’d have to give up. Hadn’t it been enough to give up professional dancing? O God! That had been her life. Would she have to give up Damon too?

Jessica’s heart dropped at the thought, and she averted her gaze. “No, he’s um….”

The sudden shrilling of a phone made Jessica start. She immediately looked toward her own purse, but when the phone rang again, Jessica realized it was coming from across the room.

The woman stood quickly and walked noisily toward the source of the sound.

“Ah, so he has now arrived,” the woman said seconds later in her accented too-perfect English. “Jessica and I have been waiting anxiously for him to come.” A pause. “Oh, nonsense. We are happy to meet him.”

Jessica furrowed her brow. How had Damon gotten the house number? She reached for her purse and pulled the strap over her shoulder, relieved despite her confusion. She doubted she could last another minute here…

The woman’s wide smile revealed slightly yellowing teeth as she approached Jessica after hanging up the phone. “Sit, sit, sit,” the woman said flapping her hands like a child. “My son is here now. You will meet him. He is a doctor, you see. Very, very busy. So, so busy. You see, he is doing his residency at Johns Hopkins. You know Johns Hopkins, no? The best, the best.”

“But—“ Jessica’s eyes grew large. “I, why…your son? But…”

“Nonsense,” the woman cut her off. “You will meet him. You will talk. And then—” The woman caught herself, as if realizing just then that her words may offend Jessica in some way. The woman exhaled loudly instead, a smile returning to her face a moment later. “—Well, then, after that, we shall see. We shall see.”

Jessica stood with her mouth gaping open.

“Sit, darling, sit. And oh,” the woman said, quickly turning to Jessica as if remembering something just then. “You can remove that, that…”  The woman pointed to Jessica’s head. “…cloth. At moments like these, there’s no need for all these restrictions. You are American, so you understand, no?”

Instinctively, Jessica’s hand went protectively to the soft blue khimaar she had worn all evening. She didn’t wear the cloth to school or in public, but still…

“I ain’t feeling it,” Damon had said as she checked herself in the sun visor mirror after wrapping it around her before he dropped her off. “But it suits you, I suppose.”

“Oh, hijab!” a young woman had squealed in excitement when Jessica had come through the door. “Quick, quick! Get a camera. Ooooh, māshā’Allāh, and it brings out her eyes doesn’t it? Congratulations, Jessica! You’re a better Muslim than we are!”

“How did it go?” Damon asked as Jessica climbed clumsily into the car and threw her head back in exhaustion, the blue khimaar now crumpled and tucked into a pocket of her jacket.  But of course Damon wouldn’t notice the difference. He’d probably forgotten she’d had it on in the first place.

With her head still leaning on the back of her seat, she turned to him and noticed the exhaustion in his eyes. He was barely awake enough to drive. She sighed knowing it was useless to respond honestly, but she felt tears stinging her eyes.

“Let us talk frankly, Jessica,” the woman had said when her not-so-excited son had come into the room still wearing his doctor’s coat. He had looked at Jessica sideways, apologizing in that glance. Sorry about my mom, he seemed to say, as his sister had earlier. But he kept his lips locked into a thin line, his exhaustion as palpable as Damon’s was right then.

“You are not in a relationship with this Black man you are roaming about with, no? He is only a driver, no?” She then turned to her son, eagerness and apology in her tone.

Jessica had been too shocked to speak…

“See, Abdullah, it is only a rumor, a vicious rumor. You know how ladies are, tongues wagging, no sense, no sense. It is nothing, nothing at all. He is an ‘abeed, nothing more, like our driver back home. Uff! No sensible woman would marry a useless servant. These Americans are more up to date than we are, son.”

The woman had then turned to Jessica. “Let us talk frankly, dear. You are like my daughter, Wallah. You Americans are hospitable to the Blacks here, are you not? Muslims at heart, you are, wallah! So kind, so kind. And we are too in our countries. But he cannot be your friend, dear. Impossible. Too many people will judge us…”

Us. That’s the word that had made Jessica’s parted lips snap shut for the rest of the evening…

“So it went well?” Damon asked reaching for the paper cup of coffee from the cup holder between them. He took a sip, set the cup back in its place, then brought his free hand to his mouth to stifle a yawn. The silence of the night was comforting, and only the sounds of passing cars whizzing by could be heard.

“Yes, it went well,” Jessica said dryly. She looked out the window beside her into the darkness. The passing trees and familiar scenery made a lump develop in her throat. She missed her parents right then. She wanted to fly home just to give them a hug, crying in their arms. I’m so sorry, Mom and Dad. So sorry. You won’t lose me again. I don’t know if I could ever be Christian again, but I learned one thing tonight. Just one thing, and by God! I love you for it. You are not hypocrites. You are not hypocrites…

“That’s good, that’s good…” Damon muttered. A few seconds passed before he sighed and turned to her briefly.

“Jessie, I’m sorry about not supporting you and all. It’s just that…”

Jessica drew in a deep breath and exhaled, her chin quivering as her thoughts finished his sentence.  I already know, Damon. I already know. It’s just that you knew better than me.


Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy and the novels Realities of Submission and Hearts We Lost.  To learn more about the author, visit or join her Facebook page.

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Daughter of American converts to Islam, Umm Zakiyyah, also known by her birth name Ruby Moore and her "Muslim" name Baiyinah Siddeeq, is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, including novels, short stories, and self-help. Her books are used in high schools and universities in the United States and worldwide, and her work has been translated into multiple languages. Her work has earned praise from writers, professors, and filmmakers. Her novel His Other Wife is now a short film. Umm Zakiyyah has traveled the world training both first-time authors and published writers in story writing. Her clients include journalists, professional athletes, educators, and entertainers. Dr. Robert D. Crane, advisor to former US President Nixon, said of Umm Zakiyyah, “…no amount of training can bring a person without superb, natural talent to captivate the reader as she does and exert a permanent intellectual and emotional impact.” Professor K. Bryant of Howard University said of If I Should Speak, “The novel belongs to…a genre worthy of scholarly study.” Umm Zakiyyah has a BA degree in Elementary Education, an MA in English Language Learning, and Cambridge’s CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults). She has more than fifteen years experience teaching writing in the United States and abroad and has worked as a consultant for Macmillan Education. Umm Zakiyyah studied Arabic, Qur’an, Islamic sciences, ‘aqeedah, and tafseer in America, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia for more than fifteen years. She currently teaches tajweed (rules of reciting Qur’an) and tafseer. In 2020, Umm Zakiyyah started the UZ Heart & Soul Care community in which she shares lessons she learned on her emotional and spiritual healing journey at Follow her online: Website: Instagram: @uzauthor Twitter: @uzauthor YouTube: uzreflections



  1. Faysal Hasan

    September 3, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    reading this make my heart brake for jessica but more importantly realizing the fact that how hypocrites we can be despite the best deen (Islam) we have.

    • vipul vaidya

      November 21, 2016 at 11:08 AM

      sry but i don’t find anything best in your deen(islam)

  2. Syazwani Rohaizat

    September 3, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    Are muslims like that in America? Not Jessica. But the “woman/mother”.

    • Halima

      September 9, 2012 at 1:56 AM

      Yeeeeees. Absolutely. I wouldn’t just say in America either. It’s universal. But I especially noticed that with some mothers here…who seem to push their sons onto white reverted females and the racism is super evident with lots of people.

  3. Kirana

    September 3, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    Does this really happen, like this? I find it astonishing that the new convert would be received like this, even from conservative cultural Muslims. If it’s based on real anecdotes, it boggles my mind.

    • Halima

      September 9, 2012 at 1:51 AM

      Pretty much. It’s sad because we don’t really see the struggle from a revert’s eyes.

  4. Mehreen

    September 3, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    i didn’t get what Jessica was doing in that woman’s home….for a very important thing for new converts is to stay in the company of ‘practicing Muslims’ who help getting a deeper insight of the religion….and if non practicing Muslims are hypocrites, then half the christians fit into this criteria i guess…

  5. ruqayyah

    September 3, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    I love this story. It made me realize how we Muslims can unintentionally make new Muslims dislike being Muslim.

  6. rhodonna

    September 3, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    So did she leave Islam? Is that the point? I’ve been Muslim for several years now and I have never heard of such prejudice towards blacks. Most Muslims I know are black. Obviously, this is a cultural thing, but from where? The equality in Islam is and was a major factor for me, and btw, I am a southern white American Muslimah. But yes, I can identify with some of this story, however, I’m much older. That nervousness over ‘getting something wrong’, I finally out grew that. Alhamdulillah, but it wasn’t easy. salam

    • Salaah Qureshi

      September 3, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      You obviously have never been to the Middle East and probably don’t have really close arab friends either.

      For some reason most arabs are a lot more racist in their own countries than they are in the west.

      • mww_m

        September 3, 2012 at 5:17 PM

        Lol, no, the racism is just as much over here, just not overt. You would be floored by some of the racist garbage that flies out of the mouth of hijabi sisters (I’d assume brothers as well, but I can only speak from my own experience). The sad part is that I find the same level of racism from 2nd generation Americans. A truly scary thought since they don’t have the excuse of “growing up in a different culture” to explain their racism

    • Cassie Bananas

      September 15, 2012 at 6:29 PM

      ” I’ve been Muslim for several years now and I have never heard of such prejudice towards blacks”

  7. Bushra Ghazali

    September 3, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    I don’t understand the story? Does this show that Muslims are hypocrites? If it does then I really don’t agree coz Muslims are not hypocrites and they don’t force Islam on anyone. And this story portrays a very negative picture of the Muslims which they’re actually not.

    • Maimoona Rahman

      September 3, 2012 at 2:08 PM

      Muslims are people; many are, in fact, racist and hypocritical. Many also come across as rather righteous.

    • Maimoona Rahman

      September 3, 2012 at 2:09 PM

      I mean many of the hypocritical ones often come across as righteous.

  8. kasim

    September 3, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Totally nonsense stuff. This is no where near the norm. And expression wise too the text was not very clear and the story’s backkdrop was vague too.

    • The Mad Monk

      September 4, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      Millions of muslims from poorer countries, working in the middle east, will disagree with you. Arabs from Saudi, Kuwait, Emirates, etc., are deeply racist, not just against blacks but against Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Afghaanis, etc. Clearly you have no idea how normal this is.

      In those countries there are 3 levels of justice. 1 for Arabs, 1 for whites, and 1 for the colored (be they muslim or non-muslim).

      Its sad, but this is the reality. Because they have wealth they imagine themselves to be superior, one day the wealth will go away, and this mind set will also change.

    • Halima

      September 9, 2012 at 1:54 AM

      It’s not “nonense stuff”. Just because you haven’t seen or heard of these type of things happening doesn’t make it doesn’t happen normally. I really hate that kind of thinking. Remember someone took their time writing this too so, don’t be so rude.

  9. Umm Zakiyyah

    September 3, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    As salaamu’alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh,

    Thank you all for taking time to read and comment. There are a few points and questions from the discussion that I believe are important to address:

    1. What’s the point of the story? The story is a reminder that our actions can sometimes turn new Muslims away from Islam, especially when our actions fall outside of the behavior that Allah and His Messenger, sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam, have taught. When people accept Islam, our priority should be to meet their spiritual needs, not our personal desires.

    2. Does this show Muslim are hypocrites? Absolutely not. This story is written from the perspective of Jessica. Naturally, Jessica’s perspective is not representative of “universal truth”; however, it is representative of what many new Muslims go through in terms of being overwhelmed, suffering from “culture shock,” and being greatly disappointed in discovering that many Muslims do not follow the basics of Islam, particularly regarding viewing all humans as equal before Allah and defining superiority only in taqwa.

    3. Is this really “the norm”? That depends on how you define “normal.” If you define “normal” as the story mirroring step-by-step everything that happens to every new Muslim, then it’s definitely not “normal.” But if you define “normal” as the story portraying some common struggles faced by many Western reverts to Islam, then the story is very normal.

    4. Exactly how does the story portray “the norm” in reality? Here is a breakdown of the issues from the story:
    a) The new Muslim is still rather weak in her faith and understanding of Islam.
    b) She is surrounded by Muslims so excited about her accepting Islam that they are blind to her struggles and needs.
    c) She finds herself in a community of non-Westerners and feels out of place.
    d) She is asked to give up an ever-growing list of “haraam” while her spiritual foundation is not firm, thus making her weaker in faith and doubtful or her own strength to be Muslim.
    e) Some members of the community are excited to marry her off, but she feels unready; and they completely ignore whether or not marriage is even good for her at this time.
    f) She is shocked by the open racism of Muslims from Muslim countries who openly disdain those of darker skin.
    g) She feels that the family and culture she comes from is better than “Muslim culture” (i.e. what she sees of Muslims) because at least her family and culture “practice what they preach” when it comes to human equality and anti-racism.

    In my experience with da’wah for more than 20 years, much of which is spent advising and working with the “Jessicas” of the world, I find everything from a to g quite “the norm” however disappointing this reality may be to us as Muslims. The answer is not to deny this unfortunate “norm”; the answer is to work to fix it by seeking Allah’s forgiveness and calling ourselves and others—in words and actions—to what is most pleasing to Allah.

    And Allah knows best.

    Umm Zakiyyah

    • BintMahmoud

      September 5, 2012 at 6:48 PM

      I thought the story was well-written but it didn’t sit well with me. The vilification of the “immigrant” muslim needs to stop. The description of the thick accent and backward thoughts was quite typical of how people characterize the older “auntie/uncle” generation. It’s been overdone. I want to see more perspectives as there are many from the older immigrant generation that are as open-minded as anyone else.

      • BintKhalil

        September 7, 2012 at 3:00 PM

        Agreed. I suppose the author tried to spotlight the cultural superiority the convert feels, but it is rather jarring.

      • salahuddin hammer

        September 14, 2012 at 6:23 PM

        I’m with you brother… I definitely had some ‘Jessica’ moments as a new convert myself. but I had many more instances where typical aunties and uncles showed incredible compassion and understanding to me despite the fact I hadn’t completely embraced the Islamic lifestyle. We have to work together and not allow these cultural differences or approaches to the deen to divide us. we all have a role to play in Islam in America even the aunties with the slightly yellow teeth and funny sounding accents.

    • Kamal Gilkes

      September 16, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      wa alaykum alsalaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh

  10. Jessica

    September 3, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    I’m also a convert by the name of Jessica. It bothers me how inconsiderate some people can be. A convert goes through so many emotions feeling the pressure of restrictions while trying to follow the true path. And one has to be strong to acknowledge the fact that people do not represent Islam because people are not perfect, as well as know that Allah is with them. I can truly relate to her and will keep her in my prayers. May God guide us all. Ameen

  11. Carolyn Weaver

    September 4, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    As others call it convert
    Muslim and I am new, I can understand Jessica, for in the beginning I
    felt alone amongst those whom grew up Muslim, but it was my strong
    belief that Allah would take care of me. We all feel that loneliness at
    times but I see it as Shayton is trying
    his best to get us to go back to our old ways. I feel he tries me more
    then others sometimes but, then I realize it is in how we look at it. I
    was told we are all born Muslim it is just as I grew up it took a
    little side road for a while helping me learned many lessons along the
    way. Islam is a change in life style and if you don’t give up your old
    ways, it is like Shayton still has a hold on you. Yes somethings are
    hard to give up but you truly have to sit down with oneself and ask what
    is it I really want in life, pleasure now or become obedience to Allah
    and go to Paradise. One has to ask how much do you really fear Allah. We
    all need to be a Seeker of Knowledge. When the seed of Islam is
    planted it is up to all of us to help it grow, but over watering it can
    cause it to die.. so don’t overwhelm one with your own belief’s just
    stick to the Qur’an for all the answers are there.

  12. Heather

    September 5, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    First and foremost, thank you Umm Zakiyyah I like your story. I can fully relate to Jessica, I took my shahadah, last year 8/31/2011. I was invited to attend a Qur’an study, while i was there, i was standing by the window trying to get some air, when a lady who was also apart of the class approached me and said ” sister you can’t stand by the window, the brothers they can look in and see you! your neck and ears are uncovered” the point was that she was loud, which brought attention to me, which embarrassed me, and honestly made me think ” What have I gotten myself into” as i told another friend, if she had quietly pulled me to the side and told me that it’s not a good idea for me to be in the window because i was not covered probably, i would have been okay. If she; after telling me this, volunteered to help fix my hijjab it would have made me feel better. People need to understand that, new Shahadah’s are still learning.

  13. Sayema Zulfeqar

    September 5, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    A vey good story mashAllah. May Allah reward you!

  14. Asif Balouch

    September 5, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    An excellent short story Sister. Great descriptive words in your narrative and the story is definitely thought-provoking when it comes to the struggles of a new Muslim convert. As a fellow aspiring creative writer, I look forward to reading more of your works.

  15. Halima

    September 9, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    Woah….that was intense. I could really see it all play like a movie…like I was feeling every emotion with Jessica. Really sad but very well written story. A lot of the things Muslims like the mother in this story do really turn others off from Islam. The whole “abeed” thing is something that definitely doesn’t get talked about. I really appreciate you mentioning that in this story. There are racist Muslims out there…we shouldn’t play out like their aren’t. It was a nice touch in how really cruel and racist some can be.It’s like you added everything in this story….Again, great story. Nice job.

  16. melanie

    September 12, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    I think it was GB Shaw who Islam is the Best Religion and Muslims are the worst people, Subhanallah…People mean well sometimes.. silence really is golden.

  17. Leanan

    September 17, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    I’m a convert, and I could get everything that was being said here.
    While I’ve had some amazing interactions with inspiring people who’ve become some of my closest friends… I’ve also had some people say horrible things to me and make me cry at night for simply “expecting” so much from me.
    When a convert/revert accepts Islam, most of us accept it without planning. We get caught up in the truth, and are compelled to accept it. It takes time to make solid changes to our lives, and that definitively includes other people in our lives as well.
    Thank you for such a beautiful story, Umm Zakiyyah. I’m blessed to have gotten over that tough time when I considered leaving the deen (astafirgallah!) and I wish “Jessica” had the same chance as I did.

  18. Jennifer

    September 18, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    As a “white” American convert who now lives in the Middle East, I can testify to the truth of this story. I had similar experiences as “Jessica”- going to someone’s home when I was newly Muslim for tea only to be introduced to the son for marriage, culture shock, being surprised at how far short Muslims fall from the ideal of Islam, and now living in the Middle East seeing the racism first hand in how maids, drivers, street sweepers, cashiers, etc. are treated so poorly by so many. Alhamdulillah, I had strong Muslim sisters for friends who helped and supported me and I had my faith in Allah. Otherwise I might’ve left too. We need to do a better job with new converts in supporting them and not piling everything on at once. Muslim children have time to learn their deen before they’re expected to pray 5 times a day, fast Ramadan, dress modestly, etc. We should be patient and gentle with new converts too.

  19. Abdullah Hanafi

    September 20, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    The story focuses more on immigrants, targeting and mocking their English accent and culture (which can be strange for an American white Muslim or Non Muslim). I lived in UK for 18 months and very often my fellow Asian Muslim Brothers (born and brought in UK) mocked my perfect English however number of times my white non Muslim colleagues appreciated my English and felt proud that I learned, spoke and knew their language. I was discriminated by my own people.

  20. Convert Girl

    October 3, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    I can really relate to Jessica. Although Islam promotes peace and all Muslims are brothers and sisters, my experiences with fellow Muslims are far different from that. I see a lot of violent muslims, burning churches, torturing dogs and being very intolerant to other religions. I got cheated a few times by muslim ” sisters and brothers”. Born Muslims judge me on whether I am a good Muslim or not. If only I don’t hold on to Allah swt words and trust Allah swt completely, I too might convert back to the peace I used to have when I was a Christian. I don’t feel the peace after converting. In fact life had been very difficult and confusing after the conversion. But I put my faith in Allah as Allah knows what is best for me..

    • M

      January 16, 2013 at 11:47 PM

      As-salaamu alaikum sister.
      @Convert Girl – Hang in there. Learn more about the deen & surround yourself with good Muslims. May Allah bless you with good friends and help you stay steadfast. Amiin.

      As for my thoughts on this — brings light to lots of issues but the part about the yellow-teethed auntie might be a bit much. I do understand that it was being filtered through Jessica’s growing horror at the situation but still. Also, it would’ve been better if you stated something near the end — the take-home message. Sure it’s supposed to be implied but people may interpret this as something else perhaps. I do understand you gave an explanatory comment but perhaps something should be added to the end of such short stories so people don’t overgeneralize it/distort it.

      And Allah Knows Best.

  21. Hijaabi in the rain

    October 31, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Why do you say that which you don’t do

    Reminds me so much about that .

    If your a convert reading this I feel for you I really do . It is so difficult but God will give you strength and a great reward. You didn’t not become muslim for us , hypocritical muslim or practicing . You became muslim for God and for yourself so please remember that

  22. Umm K

    November 1, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    Strongly felt, visibly disturbed, totally disappointed, I relate well to this story. Racisim exists, yes it does in every generation and every culture. I do not think our present generation has come out of it either. They still disaaprove, its nice to join in the nasheed of one Ummah, but hey the feeling is over when the music is done. Even among the Asian community it exists the paler the skin, the better they are. How many of us will prefer friends from the lower third world countries compared to the affluent countries – surely we cling on to a norm of the Jahiliyah. May Allah help us.

  23. farhan nathanie

    December 13, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    The way to convey the beauty of faith is for the faithful to be beautiful.

  24. iman nuri

    January 7, 2013 at 6:45 AM

    AssalamuAlikum…after reading this story.. just like before after reading or after i hearing bad annotations about islam or particularly about Muslims….
    all people (reverts and born muslims) who are in the perfect deen of Islam are “currently” and i must say “still” competing to be called “MUSLIMS”. here in, no one can be called a perfect muslim.. Islam, the religion itself is the only perfect matter. to be called a muslim.. it is a great fight and a great competition for all practicing and believing in Islam…Racism, love, friendship, Ego, desire and own choices are the biggest struggles that a practicing revert/converted muslim or even the born muslims are facing/. brothers and sisters.. We must remember that We surrendered our selves declaring that there is no God but Allah. just like what i have learned,,HAVING ISLAM IN YOUR HEART IS NOT GOING TO BE EASY ,, BUT ITS SURELY GOING TO BE WORTHY….WE MUST SEEK AND LOOK FORWARD TO THE HEREAFTER AND NOT ON THIS WORLD. LIFE IN THIS WORLD IS TRULLY DECEIVING AND IT ALL A TEST… ASALAMU ALIKUM WA RAHIMATULAHI WA BARAKATU .. IMAN

  25. Alina

    January 16, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    When I first converted 4yrs. ago, one of my muslim friends’ dad told me to stay away from “white” people because they are a bad influence…in my head I thought “but my parents, my brother, and all my friends who have supported me are white people…including me”. I’ve actually received more kindness and support from “white” people than from muslims who are too busy hanging out with people from their own cultures and leave you to to figure Islam out on your own. I spend all of my Eids with my non-muslim family, while NOT a SINGLE muslim friend comes to visit. I’m just grateful to Allah for such a supportive family and a loving husband… otherwise, Islam would have been very difficult for me. And I understand that our hearts should love Islam for what it is and not be affected by the bad experiences with Muslims, but I completely understand how someone would be turned away from the faith if they had an experience like this story.

  26. muslima

    March 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    stories like this remind me why i left reading muslimmatters! dunno y i thought to return and have a look!

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