Guestpost #22: Farrah Khan – Ten things I’ve learned from being raised a Muslim

Farrah Khan is my roommate, my good friend, and someone I deeply admire. She lives what she believes…not many people can say that. Also, she is dating my other good friend Chris and forces him to follow his dreams. Farrah works for http://www.cape.ca/, and is a critical force in the Canadian environmental movement.

  1. A lot of people have a hard time pronouncing the word “Muslim.” It’s not Muzz-lim or Moose-lum. It’s Mus- (rhymes with wuss) lim (like limb).
  2. To my childhood self, the notion of a God seemed pretty far-fetched and I thought my parents made up the whole thing to get me to behave. In my mind, belief in God was no different than belief in the boogie man. Now that I’m an adult, little has changed.
  3. In practice, there is no real difference between ‘cult’ and ‘religion.’ If someone is willing to convince me otherwise, I’m all ears.
  4. Even when taught by a charismatic man with a Guyanese accent, Islamic Sunday school is boring. I quit at the age of seven after only attending for a few weeks and I’m glad my parents didn’t try to send me back. I didn’t turn my back on learning about religion altogether though, I went on to get a degree in the subject.
  5. I can read Arabic, but I can’t speak or understand a word of it. Many non-Arabic speaking Muslim kids have had the same hooked-on-phonics education of the language. It’s almost pointless.
  6. In junior high, I was not allowed to get calls from boys. Knowing this, my male friends had the genius idea to call my house and ask for me in their best mid-pubescent girl voices. They didn’t let on, but I’m pretty sure my parents saw right through it from the start.
  7. The closest thing I ever got to a birds and bees talk was when my mum advised:  “You shouldn’t think of sex as a bad thing. It’s just very personal.”
  8. In a fit of anger, my mum also told me that boyfriends are worse than drugs. She failed to specify which drugs.
  9. Although most religions claim to espouse unity, in practice they do little to actually bring people together and more to to keep or force them apart. This may be true of any situation where an individual or group claims ownership of an absolute truth. It invariably creates an us vs. them mentality. Not cool.
  10. I may be critical of my family’s religious beliefs, but over the years I’ve learned it’s best not to argue and better to agree to disagree. We get along by focusing on our similarities rather than dwelling on our differences. I let them live in their their boogie man world and they let me live in mine.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Guestpost #22: Farrah Khan – Ten things I’ve learned from being raised a Muslim

  1. Mia

    “Although most religions claim to espouse unity, in practice they do little to actually bring people together and more to to keep or force them apart. This may be true of any situation where an individual or group claims ownership of an absolute truth. It invariably creates an us vs. them mentality. Not cool.”

    – Religions are like organized gangs without the drugs and with more money.

  2. This was really good.

  3. 3. The differences between a religion and a cult are pretty varied; the main ones are a) A cult actively attempts to isolate an individual from their community and network of support so that they can have an unfettered ability to manipulate the individual which leads into b) A cult is more concerned with their leader’s goal (usually monetary related) than with helping others. Religions for the most part are concerned with the community as a whole and are willing to help others in need rather than focus on their own needs. This doesn’t always happen, and many times individuals can and have really ruined the whole enterprise. Religions are also the precursors of NGOs.

    9. I find it odd that deploring the idea that an ‘individual or group claims ownership of an absolute truth’ many times, seems to lead right into an argument that God absolutely does not exist and/or all religions absolutely are bad without irony. Also, I think that religions have become less divisive as humanity has matured and I hope that they will become even more unifying.

  4. Pingback: Top Ten Guestposts from 2011 | tenthingsivelearned

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