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Old 07-25-2019, 01:43 PM   #1
ISiddiqui
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I'm a Brown Christian (previously Muslim) Male - AMA

I'm actually relatively serious about this (I thought the original thread was a fantastic idea). I have the feeling that white folk tend not to really know what brown and black people go through. Same goes for Christians according to other faiths.

An example, my wife's family are Trumpers. They posted some very vile anti-Muslim stuff on Facebook... until they met my family when my wife and I got married. My wife's family really got along with my family and all of a sudden the anti-Muslim stuff was gone. They've never reposted that sort of thing again.

So AMA (how I respond is entirely up to me, btw).
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Old 07-25-2019, 01:59 PM   #2
lungs
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Were you born in the US?
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Old 07-25-2019, 02:05 PM   #3
thesloppy
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Can I ask when/how you switched religions?
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Old 07-25-2019, 02:21 PM   #4
ISiddiqui
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Were you born in the US?

Yep. In New Jersey (1980). My dad had been in the US for a little bit, but my mom had only been in the country for like 1-2 years.

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Can I ask when/how you switched religions?

2009. Was atheist at the time (left Islam in college). Went to church (well the youth & young adult service) because the woman I was dating at the time said I want you to meet some of my friends I only really hang out with at church. I went, I expected nothing. Well, that's not true. It was a Pentecostal Church. I expected judgemental Christians - the sort I heard about so often. I ran into people who are full of love and caring. At first I thought it was a cult - these people were so welcoming. But quickly realized that's how they were. And the reason that was their faith animated them to be welcoming and loving. So after a few months (and going antoher time or two... it was an infectious love and friendship), I decided I'm just going to leave myself open to whatever is here for me.

Not terribly long thereafter, I had a religious experience - a feeling of coolness on my back, an idea that there was some sort of presense (yes, it sounds super woo-like, but it's best I can do), so I answered what I was feeling and decided to do the whole "dedicate my life to Jesus" as the Pentecostals do. After that I devoured whatever books I could to learn about this new path I took. As I read I got astonished - especially by the Old Testament, it was all about caring for the poor. I joke that converting to Christianity turned me from a moderate Republican to a commie.

*Oh, there was one person who tried the hard sell "Why don't you believe" crap. That was the third time I went - if it was the first time, I'd have never come back. Super uncomfortable

* Also my parents weren't a fan of this conversion. Led to 2.5 years or so of not talking to them.
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Old 07-25-2019, 02:25 PM   #5
thesloppy
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Awesome. That's such a big step to make and your parents being unsupportive surely made it that much harder. Did they eventually come around to some degree?
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Old 07-25-2019, 02:34 PM   #6
NobodyHere
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You said "white folk tend not to really know what brown and black people go through".

What is it that a white person like might not know?
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Old 07-25-2019, 02:35 PM   #7
ISiddiqui
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They are cool now. It was pretty harsh at the beginning when they found out. I words "You are not our son" were spoken and "You made your choice, now we've made ours". After a few years, I think they found out about a breakup and randomly called to see if I was ok and began the reconciling - but they never apologized for it.

We talk every week and see each other every year. They came down and were very involved in my wedding last year - even though the ceremony was in a Church and was very Lutheran (communion included).
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Old 07-25-2019, 02:48 PM   #8
JPhillips
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What, if any, connection do you retain to your parents' country(countries?) of birth?
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Old 07-25-2019, 02:52 PM   #9
ISiddiqui
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You said "white folk tend not to really know what brown and black people go through".

What is it that a white person like might not know?

So I've totally been "Go back to your own country" numerous times. I've been given stink eyes for simply being in airport security lines - I always, without fail, trim my beard before going to the airport (don't need that gruff). I have been profiled quite a few times (a lot more after 9/11 as you can imagine). Every once a while the you speak so well stuff happens. Frequently called dot head (I was Muslim, not Hindu, you ignorant fucks), sand-nigger, camel jockey when growing up. Just random you don't belong here language or actions throughout my life.

Post 9/11 was really strange. My mom's cousin had her Muslim grocery store firebombed out in Long Island. I remember being scared to leave my dorm room at Rutgers because I didn't know what would happen to me.
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:00 PM   #10
ISiddiqui
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What, if any, connection do you retain to your parents' country(countries?) of birth?

Pakistan (even though my dad was born in India - pre-partition). I have been there 3 times - 1988, 1992, and 2005.

My parents go back every few years. Bring stuff back (knockoff clothes plenty of time). Sometimes a few interesting trinkets (I have a key ring holder that is based on an Indian style in the shape of an elephant). I have a suitcase of Indian/Pakistani style clothes that have been brought back for me - mostly to wear for weddings.

Oh, and food... I have a list of stuff I'd like to eat for when I go back to NJ (this year it was Nihari, Haleem, Biryani, and Kitchri Keema). And there are plenty of good Indian restaurants down in Atlanta too.
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:02 PM   #11
thesloppy
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How did you come to Georgia? What's your take on race & demographics in your particular environment? Are there particular places where you feel you fit in or out depending on your race. Is there a particularly Pakistani neighborhood in Decatur?

I am lily-white, but was born in Detroit and my mom moved to Portland when I was relatively young, and I was always fascinated by the obvious & stark difference in demographics between those two bubbles.
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:09 PM   #12
ISiddiqui
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How did you come to Georgia? What's your take on race & demographics in your particular environment? Are there particular places where you feel you fit in or out depending on your race. Is there a particularly Pakistani neighborhood in Decatur?

I am lily-white, but was born in Detroit and my mom moved to Portland when I was relatively young, and I was always fascinated by the obvious & stark difference in demographics between those two bubbles.

I went to Emory Law School. The Atlanta metro is pretty diverse. I actually live not very far (like 1-2 miles) from a very heavy Indian/Pak neighborhood with tons of restaurants and grocery stores. 15 min North of me is Buford Hwy, which goes from Mexican restaurants to Vietnamese restaurants to Chinese restaurants and then Korean restaurants (out in Duluth - which is about a 25 min drive). And of course, many African-American based neighborhoods around the city.

It's super diverse. About as diverse as North Jersey was (where I grew up on the shore wasn't that diverse, but it did have a decent South Asian and Middle Eastern ethnic enclaves - enough to build a mosque in Ocean County).
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:16 PM   #13
thesloppy
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Food is a good question. What are some particular Pakistani dishes that you would recommend to folks? Gimme the most mouth-watering details you can come up with.
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:24 PM   #14
Warhammer
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I joke that converting to Christianity turned me from a moderate Republican to a commie.

I had to laugh at this. I have used a very similar line with my kids. I use it regarding how we should use our abilities, gifts, and blessings to help those around us and the less fortunate. I think I told my oldest, outwardly I am fiscally conservative with regards to government, but personally communistic in our local community.
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:26 PM   #15
ISiddiqui
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Food is a good question. What are some particular Pakistani dishes that you would recommend to folks? Gimme the most mouth-watering details you can come up with.

Um... I'd recommend you just try them (or Google for more info) .

Nihari is my favorite. It's kind of a spicy beef stew with tons of ginger.

Biryani is somewhat ubiquitous. It's meat cooked inside of rice. The meat and rice are separately spiced and then cooked together. Good with yogurt (with onions and tomatoes).

Chicken 65 is great. It's deep fried chicken nuggets with red chillies.
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:29 PM   #16
thesloppy
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i've def had biryani before.
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:29 PM   #17
ISiddiqui
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I had to laugh at this. I have used a very similar line with my kids. I use it regarding how we should use our abilities, gifts, and blessings to help those around us and the less fortunate. I think I told my oldest, outwardly I am fiscally conservative with regards to government, but personally communistic in our local community.

Perhaps it's because I was so struck by the Old Testament that I push those communal ideas to the government as well. Was totally a deficit hawk sort of Republican. If I hadn't converted, I'd have been the biggest Mitt Romney fan... and hopefully a George Will type today.
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:38 PM   #18
JPhillips
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Have you read/seen Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar?
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:47 PM   #19
ISiddiqui
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I believe I've heard of it in passing, but haven't read or seen it.
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:59 PM   #20
JPhillips
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I believe I've heard of it in passing, but haven't read or seen it.

It's about a Pakistani lawyer who tells everyone he is Indian so as to not be judged a terrorist. He has very conflicted thoughts about his heritage, on the one hand he sees Islam as barbaric, but on the other he thinks the west consistently degrades and destroys the Islamic world. His wife is white and an artist. She has recently made progress by using Islamic art as a foundation for her work.

The play blows apart when, at a dinner party with a colleague and his wife's art dealer, he says that he felt a little pride on 9/11 because his people finally got a win.

There's more going on, a terrorism trial, a Jewish mentor that ends up betraying him, and a portrait by his wife painting him as Velasquez did a slave.

It's gotten a lot of criticism for statements made about Islam and 9/11, but it's a fascinating look at the complexities in trying to navigate the western world and whether or not that's even possible.
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Old 07-25-2019, 04:51 PM   #21
Edward64
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1) Best Pakistani restaurant that you enjoy in Atlanta area?

2) Did your parents try to arrange a marriage for you? What are your thoughts on arranged marriages as a American-born-Pakistani?
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:00 PM   #22
ISiddiqui
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1) Best Pakistani restaurant that you enjoy in Atlanta area?

I consider Pakistani/Indian restaurants to basically be the same thing... well, if they are vegetarian they are definitely Indian. However, saying such. Zyka in Decatur (unincorporated Dekalb, but postal code Decatur) is the best, IMO. Even had my wedding reception there.

Quote:
2) Did your parents try to arrange a marriage for you? What are your thoughts on arranged marriages as a American-born-Pakistani?

Yes, kinda. They were like, why don't you talk to this person. And gave my number to someone once as well. I'm not a fan of arranged marraiges, but if it's done in the hey, what do you think of that person, I think it's fine. That's how my brother and his wife got together. They hung out a few times, though oh, I like this person and decided to give it go. Of course, you don't get much time in that setting to date/fall in love/propose. There is really no tradition of dating. I wasn't allowed to do so. The only dating is if you like the other person you decide to 'date' which is ridiculous short amount of time before deciding if you want to semi-formalize the relationship (pre-engagement?).

The no dating thing is the worst. Makes you stand out quite a bit as well. Though I once knew of this fundamentalist Christian couple who never kissed before their wedding day... so I guess that's a pretty stand out thing as well.
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:42 PM   #23
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Yep. In New Jersey (1980). My dad had been in the US for a little bit, but my mom had only been in the country for like 1-2 years.

What was their native language(s) and do you speak (even a little) of any of it/them?
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:27 PM   #24
ISiddiqui
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Urdu and yep. Conversationally, but definitely sound like an uneducated Urdu speaker

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:31 PM   #25
miami_fan
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What has been the reaction to your conversion from your atheist friends?
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:38 PM   #26
tarcone
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Which philosophy of religion is better? Why?
How scary was it telling your parents you were an atheist then a christian?
What made your parents accept you back into the fold and why does Islam, a religion of peace, reject this type of conversion so violently?
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Old 07-26-2019, 07:27 AM   #27
ISiddiqui
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What has been the reaction to your conversion from your atheist friends?

Hmmm... I didn't really have all that many at the time. Maybe bemused? Maybe they thought it was a fad?

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Originally Posted by tarcone View Post
Which philosophy of religion is better? Why?
How scary was it telling your parents you were an atheist then a christian?
What made your parents accept you back into the fold and why does Islam, a religion of peace, reject this type of conversion so violently?

Well I'm a Christian now and not a Muslim, so I think that's evident. I am drawn to the Christian belief in grace. In Islam (and I guess in some other religions) you are called to account for everything you did and if the good things you did outweigh the bad things, you go to Heaven. In Christianity, your sins are forgiven - and I happen to be a Christian universalist, which I probably couldn't be in Islam.

Violently? My parents didn't talk to me. That's as non-violent as it gets. They didn't even raise their voice. I mean I sometimes say it's akin to a gay person coming out to their conservative Christian parents (and in Atlanta, I know more than a few gay people who have been disowned by Christian parents).
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