I awoke from a terrible nightmare just past 2am this morning. I dreamt that I was in a car with my nieces, and that we were stopped at some kind of security 'check point' in Johannesburg, and detained for no other reason but being Muslim.
I live in South Africa, a country ridden by crime, fear and everyday failings and winnings of ordinary people. Religious intolerance doesn't feature high on this list. Only when the trauma had made itself vivid from my subconscious in this way, did I realize just how affected I was by someones status on facebook and the subsequent thread of comments.
And so these facebook 'friends' claimed triumphantly that they 'knew' the bombers would be Muslim. They seemed to purport that 'being Muslim' predisposes one to one day waking up and deciding to bomb some inconvenient place.
The memo I got in my madressa years left that out; in fact, it clearly stated that to harm a fellow human being or form of life would be to harm all humanity, and that the soul would be answerable on the final day. That death would be tortuous even, if harm has been brought to another. What Islam are you talking about? My Islam is peace and tolerance. My Quran is Love. The struggle is to overcome nafs/ego for the reward of higher self. This is the only jihad I was taught. This is the only jihad I know.
Shafinaaz is a sociologist, artist and poet based in Johannesburg, SA. She is the author of several works of non-fiction and fiction, and has been listed in HayFestival's Africa39 category of top 39 authors in Africa under the age of 40 at the London Book Fair 2014. Also see www.shafinaaz.co.za
I write. As I must. Words are my paints of expression on an otherwise bland canvas, my rollercoasters of delight on otherwise dreary roads. Entertainment or derision, they manifest in my varied states of being. Until theres silence. Even then, theres a dialogue of sorts that continues... in spirit? Who knows..