Jan - Mar 2002, Poems

Passing By…

By Khadijah Rivera

During the first days of the September 11 catastrophe, Muslims were targeted in many different ways. I was spat upon and insulted at work and while traveling to and from work. For a week or two I felt like a victim of 9-11 and could not justify their treatment of sisters around the USA. I was also disappointed in the way a Fatwa was given by Qaradawi and Warith deen Mohammed to take off the veil. Many sisters did and the brothers shaved off their beards.

Fortunately, some of us fought back the media by playing them against themselves we went on the air and exposed their humiliation and accusations. Telemundo and Univision aired our stories nationally and internationally. We can’t rest until they begin to treat us with respect!

Passing By
Bench warmer, watching cars speed by
An endless sea of waving American flags.
Red, white and blue vans, with snickers,
Beach the animosity that lies in unspoken words.
White faced I stare back at the locomotion of the traffic.
My body tenses as a carload of teens in a van sail by,
My hand swiftly clutches the red canister of mace
Concealed in my NineWest purse.

My breath returns as I check my masked smile
The one that hides my quite and contained terror.
Composed I look again around me
Ready to cover the perimeter of my safety zone.
I won’t hide behind a hat or remove my veil of modesty.
To hell with all of those who scorn us!

How can I be trembling when the Prophet taught us strength?
I am fragile like a glass bottom boat
Waiting for the lull after the blue storm,
After the war
After the suffering
For the Mo’min
To rejoice
To Sajud!

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