I am Your New America

Oh, how I blushed when President Obama told a Muslim American audience at a Maryland mosque "We are one American family". As a working father from Dearborn, Michigan, as a professional mother from Starkville, Mississippi, as a teenage refuge from Harlem New York, I am very happy to hear that I have a new family, a family bigger than my own, happier than all others I know.

After all, it has always been a family affair for us here in America. I felt your brotherly love when, walking near my neighborhood mosque in Los Angeles, you and your fellow officers stopped, frisked and kindly asked me to go back to my "fucking country." I felt right at home when in high school you took my dictionary for a "holy book" and asked me to read the Bible instead, since apparently Jesus loves Muslims too. And how about the time when at the grocery store you called me a "towelhead" and wondered if I know how to "talk American"?

I still remember the day you named me a "sand nigger!" I wonder if your racial slur was just a way to tease me or perhaps initiate a motherly hug. Or how about the time when I was told not to board the plane because someone felt threatened after reading the Arabic script on my t-shirt? Why? Because, you eloquently replied, "Going to an airport with a T-shirt in Arabic script is like going to a bank and wearing a T-shirt that says, I'm a robber." It shouldn't surprise you, but this is why I try not to speak Arabic out loud in public--even as a Christian Arab fleeing a civil war.

You call for a "total and complete shutdown" of my fellow Muslims from entering the country. Is it discrimination? Oh, no, it's just a sign of paternal love, protecting me from my own very American family.

Your love can be found at schools, government institutions, shopping malls, airports, and even bars. Now why would a Muslim be at a bar, right? The only thing that intoxicates us Muslims is the longing for more jihad.

Yes, I know, we remain an anomaly to you. Donning a red, white and blue headscarf won't fit me, you say; it dishonors the flag. We are a disdain to your Christian country, a problem to be solved.

We are what you call your "Muslim question".

Now I maybe a question to you, but remember, as the President says, I am still your family, however estranged or despised. Perhaps love and hate are two-sides of the same coin. Perhaps hate is a fleeting sensation of love in disguise.

Though that maybe, and however you prefer it to be, I am still here to stay. I am at the Armed Forces, universities, hospitals, and the very Congress that embodies our democracy. I am your co-worker, your classmate, your teacher, your doctor, your nurse, your taxi driver, and your neighbor. I am closer than you think. I am your new America.