A Facebook post of an article from a site called #muslimgirl caught my eye this evening. It was, for the most part a lament from a young Muslim woman who complained in rambling prose about the levels of questioning and pestering that she claims to have experienced since her parents brought her to America from Pakistan. Much of her complaining was regarding her traditional dress and having to refuse request from those around her to see her hair which is usually hidden under the hijab.
I will keep this “response” to this woman and my thinking about her plight as short as possible because it is not worthy of miles and miles of rambling comments. Let it suffice to say, “Get over it.”
Get over it because you and your parents chose to request asylum or refugee status in our country. It is not the place of the host to bend over backward to accommodate you. It is you who think you would be better off here because our country offers things that yours does not. It offers economic opportunity, safety, relative security, and most of all freedom to walk down the street or move across the country as you please. It often also provide financial assistance to those who cannot afford to make it on their own but there is a limit to our patience.
Perhaps you should consider that your habits and dress stand out from the rest of the community where you live and therefore draw attention to yourself. In doing so, you attract the curious and those who simply want to know the why and the how of your customs but really don’t mean you any harm.
Perhaps others understand that many from your country and other Muslim countries beg to come here but choose to sequester themselves in enclaves that do not want anything but the benefits without any of the obligations of immigrating to a different country with different customs and different laws.
Perhaps the failure to choose to become completely American is where the disconnect develops between your wanting complete acceptance on our part without your having to offer reciprocal acceptance of our traditions and faiths. Perhaps if your country and others that follow the tenants of Islam were not so sure that it was your obligation to kill or subjugate those who do not believe in your religion and political system, then we might not be so hesitant to embrace and welcome you to our country.
Very simply, your attitude is one of expecting certain privileges without any of the obligations and responsibilities that come with immigration to a country with a completely different system of government, protections for all religions instead of only one, and most importantly, the expectation that visitors and newcomers to our country respect us for the benevolence we have shown you by allowing you to resettle among us.
Until the arrogance and chip on your shoulder disappear along with, perhaps, the foreign habits and dress that makes you stand out as different disappear with it, you will likely continue to experience questions and stares. Most are not particularly malevolent, a few may be, but if you truly want to become American instead of one of many self-serving “hyphenated – Americans” who have come here to turn our country into something it is never going to agree to be, you need to re-think just who needs to adjust. Expecting everything here and everyone here to treat you as if you are home in Jalalabad or Karachi is simply not in the cards. If you want to play in our sandbox, you need to learn to play by our rules. The rewards are beyond anything Karachi has to offer. It’s called ASSIMILATION. Join us and become an American. Otherwise, why did you come?