Islam, Oct - Dec 2002

Have Courage – Deliver the Message!

By Brenda Ortiz

Ok, guys! I’ve been sitting here wallowing in my own self-pity all morning. What if my husband thinks I’m brainwashed because I accepted Islam? So what if my father-in-law finds it hysterical that I actually leave on my hijab after I leave the mosque? He practically pulled my mother-in-law out of the toilet to come and get a look at me. Anyway..I don’t care. I am Muslim! Maybe not perfect, but I am. I’m still struggling with how to tell my mom that I’m Muslim. As is typical in American culture, she has many misconceptions. If I tell her today that I’m Muslim, tomorrow she’ll expect me to pull up at home wearing a burqua with Bahman’s other wife in the back seat.

As I read the Koran, I see many passages about how the Prophet and his companions delivered the beautiful message of Islam. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder why it was so difficult for me to find Islam in my own community. Somebody had to reach out to me and bring me in! Thank you, Ehab! Whether we are born into Islam or fall into it like a clumsy belly-flopper at the World Diving Championships, it is each of our responsibility to turn around and deliver that message to somebody else.

I encourage each of you to visit the website of the Muslim Public Affairs Council at www.mpac.org. Did you know that Congress has frozen the assets of three American Muslim charities and plans to use about $8 million of zakat funds for victims of terrorism, lawyers, and special interests? If you don’t know, you should. And if you’re an American citizen, you should write your congressman. MPAC has a direct link on its website that uses your address/zip code to find the e-mail address of your senator or representative.

Better yet, become a member of MPAC by printing out an application found on their website. On the application, you are asked to select activities of interest for participating as a member of MPAC. They include:

. Writing to local newspapers.
. Contacting elected officials locally and nationally.
. Arranging and promoting MPAC community events.
. Conducting vote education and registration forums and drives.
. Coordinating the display of MPAC’s gallery.
. Promoting and participating in interfaith dialogues.
. Attending the MPAC annual convention.
. Assisting in the hate crime unit and victim assistant program.
. Serving as MPAC’s liason for the local community.
. Assisting in fundraising.

Whatever you do, no matter how small or insignificant, we have to deliver the message. America’s view of Islam will not change until Americans are educated about Islam. I am sending in my application today. I hope that someday I can look back on my life and see not just one, but a handful of people that I have helped. Thank you for listening to the ravings of a crazy, brainwashed Muslimah! I happened to have many challenges this past weekend from some people who are not very comfortable with my being Muslim. When that happens I just go back to what makes me feel good. That is Allah and seeking as much information about other Muslims in America. Hence, my venture into the MPAC website. May you receive Allah’s wonderful blessings and gain strength and determination this Ramadan.