“You Don’t Look Muslim”

Hijab-less, people say I look White–usually Jewish.  And whenever a prospective FEMALE Craig’s List roommate visits, I wear the same T-shirt:


The guests show interest in the room, and give props about the place: clean, spacious, and sunny. We chat about our lifestyles, and find things in common: studying, running, cooking, painting.  We discuss guidelines: vegetarian kitchen, alcohol-free house, no boys overnight.  Then, I announce: “I’m Muslim.”

Here are their reactions:

  • Really?  Me too!  I mean by blood.  Do you really practice?
  • OMG, that is so wonderful.  Rumi is my favorite poet. … [She proceed to confide in me with her problems: abusive sister, hard to please parents, recovering alcoholic]
  • You don’t look Muslim.  Why did you convert?
  • What’s that?  [I was actually wearing hijab when this girl visited.]
  • …[silence accompanied by a ghastly expression of fear]… So thank you for showing me your place.  I really appreciate the time you took to show it to me.  It’s a nice place.  You know, if you don’t like hear from me, you don’t need to like wait for me.  You could like give it to someone else.
  • No way?!?!  Are you really?  I can’t believe it.  Huh! Wow.  You look American.  You even sound American.  How did you come to be a Muslim?

So, I’m still on the market, looking for a roommate.