What I think when I see Muslims

October 29th, 2010

When I decided to go to graduate school, I came out east to interview at B.U., Carnegie Mellon, and Temple University. It was delightful taking the train around, and reading books on political psychology as I traveled.

I got into Boston’s South Station late at night from Philadelphia. If you haven’t been to South Station, it is somewhat large, and there’s a good chunk of it that isn’t marked well, so you’re more or less taking it on faith that this is they way you’re supposed to be going. It was after midnight, and I was alone.

I saw a group of Muslims, men and women, ahead of me. And I relaxed. I stepped up my pace so that I was behind them, far enough not to be overhearing conversation, but close enough that if I yelled for help, they would hear me. I felt safer.

I won’t pretend that my reaction was caused entirely by some deeply spiritual sense of oneness. This was in 1995, and I didn’t think any petty criminals would mess with a group of people, particularly Muslims. And I knew that the eyes of security officers and police would be on them, and therefore near me.

But I also knew these were people who were taking the risk of showing their allegiance to their faith despite the personal difficulties and even dangers it could cause. They were brave. They were already conspicuous, so might not fear making themselves more so for a good cause. They had chosen to represent their religion in a public fashion. If I needed help, they would be likely to help me. And if they did not do so immediately, I know enough to lay an effective guilt trip on a member of any of the Abrahamic faiths. My chances, I felt, were pretty good.

This is how it makes me feel when I see Muslims while traveling.

One Response to “What I think when I see Muslims”

  1. Gurukarm (@karma_musings) on October 29, 2010 8:38 pm

    Heh. Great logic. And, recommend: http://muslimswearingthings.tumblr.com for a great perspective on the whole “Muslim garb” kerfluffle. :-)

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