( 13 décembre, 2007 )

Diary of a « JSM » woman

Amina Chibani, 2007/11/04
« Have you seen this?! I told you this Adl Wal Ihassan is bad news! » shouted excitedly a colleague of mine while waging the morning’s newspaper at my face. I hadn’t taken my usual mint tee and was running late for an important meeting. But I decided to go along and duck the occasional sermon about how one shouldn’t trust Muslim activists and how they can be double-faced and deceptive…etc… « Oh, is it? That’s just a shame! » My interjection didn’t have the desired impact and once again I got caught in a never-ending monolog about the wickedness of the movement I happen to belong to.
I’ve been taught inside that same movement that God has reserved a prestigious spot in paradise for people who can restrain from engaging into biased and fruitless debates. Sadly, the temptation was too big and I too worn-out. « Do you know that I’m a member of that very movement and that the accusations, defamations and alleged compromising evidence against our members are fabricated and not the least authentic. » I defiantly retorted. The look on her face! She was ready to assault me. I was yet another traitor in her long paranoid list. For a moment or so she was speechless, and then she turned around and walked away like a wounded feline. My meeting was canceled and I returned home anxious that I might have lost another friend.
My colleague and I go back a long way. I met her when I was first hired and kept a mundane relationship for a while. But through time, I noticed that she kept coming to me with her problems and little concerns, and her deep rooted hatred for Islamic activism too.
I never dared to inform her of my affiliation or my other activities, not that I wasn’t tempted. But I was worried it might upset her fragile and emotional psyche rather then anything else. We exchanged lunch invitations and met each other’s families. She even confided to me that I wasn’t like all the other « linen-heads » she knew -she knew none as far as I know-.
My companionship seemed to have convinced her to finally prostrate herself to her creator in prayer. She never complained or accused me of having a hidden agenda. She lately even called in the middle of the night to ask how to perform a certain kind of prayer as she needed God’s support on a personal issue. Before, God was at the bottom of her list of « persons to turn to in case of crisis », or was he there at all?! And she couldn’t trust a soul with any of her worldly or otherworldly concerns for that matter. Before we met, she barely knew how to make her ablutions or if she should make them at all. She would barely think farther than next week’s dinner invitation and the dress that goes with, let alone her final journey to God.
She was always puzzled by my ability to forgive and forget little everyday offenses; I always told her that it really wasn’t up to me. I’m a natural tigress and without God’s awareness I wouldn’t be so forgiving…oh no! She also wouldn’t believe how much time I spend talking to her domestic aid, she would secretly shush me each time and admonish me later for dignifying such vile creature, I once told her of Omar’s saying about enslaving free people and how we’re all equals, she was flabbergasted. You know, Islamic clichés of the kind… That’s how far we’ve gotten.
The next morning we met she’d still had that offended look on her face and kept stealing furtive glances my way. I didn’t know what to do, I was so sorry for her. Then by the end of our shift, she gathered her courage and headed straight to me. To tell the truth, for a second, I actually feared for my life. She has always been so fiercely serious about her loath for « my kind ». She halted and with the most confused of all looks she sighed: « But you guys aren’t supposed to be like that! » I managed to stifle a giggle but her perplexity was so genuine it actually turned my amusement into a sore pain.
This is how brainwashed our Muslim people are. Every bearded man, every veiled woman that proclaim their Islamic identity can simply not be eligible human beings. Our appearance is ostentation, our plea is a sham, and our company is wearisome if not downright hazardous.
I pitied my colleague that day; all of her beliefs and certainties came crashing down on the rocks of the reality of her encounter with me …a Muslim activist. Did I mention that she’s now one of us?

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