He doesn’t pray, he doesn’t make bombs, and he can suck down a six-pack with the best of them. Does that make my husband and best friend of twenty-three years a bad Muslim? His father would say so, so would his brothers. Just marrying me, (ex-Christian, Chardonnay drinking fool) the personification of infidel, is enough to get him kicked out of most mosques. But I know he’s a good Muslim, not only a good man.
The relationship we have is not all pork buffets and all night bingers. In fact we detest buffets and a binge would have me in bed sick for a month. Us, our thing, is rocky, passionate, and quiet.
Since 9/11 we’ve argued about his religion. Prior to that date, we never discussed it, it was a non-entity. His father was a former mayor in their small village in pre-war Kosovo. As part of the communist regime, he never attended mosque and to my husband’s recollection never spoke of Islam at all. The entire family kept the festivals, but only his mother fasted during Ramadan. So why has 9/11 changed so many people? Not only the Americans were affected, the entire Muslim community was affected just as deeply as we were.
My father-in-law suddenly became devout, and along with one my brothers-in-law even made the pilgrimage to Mecca. But why? My husband, a man I thought I knew more than anyone on earth, changed overnight. He was suddenly torn between his loyalty to his family and his love for America, his home. He no longer thinks of Kosovo as his home, America is.
Having been raised in a cult, I do not respect any organized religion. I do respect the individual’s right to religion and freedom to choose any form of observance they so choose. But having said that, I still fear Islam.
Specifically, I fear radical Islam. I fear the impassioned imams taking undereducated boys in poor countries and brainwashing them into beasts of hatred. Brainwashing exists. I personally underwent thirteen years of it before I was rescued by foster care. While the damage was done in only thirteen years it has taken thirty to begin the healing of the scars left by it.