“I am a convert. I embraced Islam some fifteen years ago when I was around fifteen myself.”

“Woah. You don’t look like a convert.”

My sudden and spontaneous response reeked of my stereotypical mindset. She didn’t look anything like people belonging to the minority groups in our region are assumed to look like.

“So, did you convert for you husband?”

“No, I studied Islam and I loved it. I met my husband later”

She didn’t even sound like someone who understood Islam and embraced it on her own will. I didn’t sense the tiniest bit of pride in her tone. She never boasted nor preached. No hypocrisy…no ‘holier than thou’ attitude. All I could sense was a gloom, and I couldn’t help but ask.

“Do you regret your decision?”

“Not at all. I find Islam extremely beautiful…”

I felt my shoulders widening with pride in that short pause of her. Alas, it was shortlived.

“…but I can’t say the same about muslims. Some of the best muslims I met, turned out to be the worst humans.”

I was quiet because I couldn’t disagree. The conversation was getting uncomfortably revealing. I could see the monster in me.

“They still haven’t accepted me as a muslim. They still tell me I am a ‘Kafir’…some through their piercing words and other through their skeptical eyes.”

“If there is any consolation, we muslims call other born-muslims kafir all the time.”

She was nice enough to laugh at that lame attempt to lighten up the conversation, but I couldn’t help but lurk in its darkness for the rest of the day.

It’s as if calling other kafir has become one of our religious duties — the holiest of all duties. I don’t know where we stopped inviting people into the circle of Islam and started kicking them out of it.

Where did it all change? Or should I ask, who changed it?

Not God for sure.

Man. The most biased, bigheaded being created by God. It’s in his nature to corrupt the most beautiful things. It’s in his nature to destroy. It’s in his nature to discriminate. To hurt. To hate.

All in the name of God…the most merciful, the benificent.

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