“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.