No Apology

On my way to class, I take the Q train to Manhattan and sit down next to an old white man who recoils a noticeable bit. I assume it’s because I smell odd to him, which doesn’t make sense because I took a shower in the morning. Maybe I’m sitting too liberally the way men do on public transit with their legs a mile apart, I think to myself. That also doesn’t apply since I have my legs crossed. After a few seconds of inspecting any potential offence caused, I realize that it has nothing to do with an imaginary odor or physical space but with the keffiyeh around my neck that my friend gifted me (the Palestinian scarf – an apparently controversial piece of cloth). It is an increasingly cold October in NYC. Sam Harris may not have told you but we Muslims need our homeostasis at a healthy level. While our bodies regulate our internal fanatic temperatures to remain stable, sometimes it gets a little too chilly so we pull out those diabolical scarves and wrap them around our diabolical necks and diabolically say, “Holy shit. It is cold today, Abdullah.” To which Abdullah replies, “Wallah. My ass is freezing.”

By the time I have figured my criminal-by-default status out, we are on the Manhattan Bridge headed toward Canal Street, which means there is mobile reception. My old white friend is on his iPhone telling his friend something about ISIS. He looks at me every single time he says ISIS or Islamic State. I take it lightly; I don’t want to yell at a guy who looks like his joints would fall out of place if I raised my voice. But it’s insulting and several people look in our direction, at my keffiyeh and at him enunciating ISIS while talking to his friend on the phone. That’s when I debate engagement or flipping him off. I decide on neither but I reach into my bag, which alerts him, and pull out a bomb in the form of a plastic bottle containing tap water.

I drink the water, man. I’m tired.

After 9/11, Muslims all over the world but specifically in the West were left suspended in the middle of an imperial dichotomy consisting of the Good Muslim versus the Bad Muslim. The either-this-or-that characterization of Muslim-ness can also be traced to the good ol’ days of Pax Britannica that had its Good Colonized Subjects and then its Bad Colonized Subjects. The GCS was the colonized man or woman who pushed empire apologia and saw the “goodness” and “progression” in being a colonized subject. The BCS was the one who revolted. In contemporary history, the opportunistic binary surfaced in the 1970’s when the United States of America viewed the USSR as the sole threat to its global hegemony and utilized Middle Eastern and South Asian nation states to combat the Red evil. Back then, the mujahideen weren’t menacing bearded men but freedom fighters bravely battling against Soviet incursion in Afghanistan. In a bout of admiration for these righteous warriors, Reagan gifted the local mujahideen hand-held Stinger surface-to-air missiles in a multi-billion dollar program that later on spread out to Iran and as far as Sri Lanka. In 1982, he dedicated the Space Shuttle Columbia to the mujahideen. Once the Soviets retreated, Mother America’s interest in Afghanistan dwindled and funding was terminated. Today the freedom fighters are the Taliban. Lesson: Americans sure know how to show their love.

In the American context, the Good Muslim performed the political role of a liberal apologist and extension of Empire. S/he would celebrate iftar (breaking of fast in Ramzan) at the White House after a speech by the President that highlighted the good that expansionist foreign policy does abroad and increasing surveillance and enforcement of alterity against a minority group back home. These Good Muslims came from a variety of civic, religious, cultural, political and educational institutions that amounts to how well-established but also assimilated they were into the American society. Prefacing every public announcement with the customary “Moderate Muslim” label, the Good Muslim became ultimately a pawn in the ideology and practices of US empire.

The reaction to prove Muslim worthiness in order to garner American approval was understandable: After the attacks, the Islamic community was forced to choose between proving their loyalty to the United States by agreeing with rapidly brutal invasions abroad/domestic civil liberties crisis in the name of security or dissent that would and did elicit social paranoia and legal punishment as well as exclusion. In the name of self-reflection and political correctness as well as empathy for a tragic loss of American life, the American Islamic community forfeited in its own autonomy and demands as citizens to appear less un-American and therefore, less deserving of state-sanctioned retribution.

In this binary, the Bad Muslim is the constant malefactor. Since s/he is fed up with attempting (in distressing futility) to show his/her legitimacy as a human being – forget the title of American as it becomes unavailing in this case – s/he refuses to apologize for Islam. The Bad Muslim is the exhausted Muslim. A Muslim whose morale has been drained by perpetual anxiety, hostility and social marginalization for being seen as a criminal for acts of violence he or she has never committed. The Bad Muslim is the Muslim who makes the mistake of thinking he or she is as human as the next person and should be given a modicum of respect as anyone else would receive, such as the random white American who is never harangued to apologize for what KKK did or modern day Neo Nazis do. The Bad Muslim is unhappy with being profiled “randomly” at the airport, for being rejected employment because his or her name sounds a little too Muslim ergo a little too Al Qaeda or ISIS or Taliban or what-have-you. Unless he or she is rich, a Bad Muslim – who is often a working class individual, a mere wage earner – cannot afford the temporary getaway financial stability provides from this interminable environment of contempt and xenophobia. The Bad Muslim is often aware of RAND-constructed typologies that identify ideological tendencies in Muslim communities and exploit inter-sect divides to promote US strategic interests. Here is a five hundred page report on one of many similar documents. The malice is most evident when the Bad Muslim refuses to cheer on imperial occupations of his or her motherland or provide explanations for on-ground militias that, more often than sadly not, have once received the monetary backing of the same country attacking them. The bitter irony is never lost on the Bad Muslim because the Bad Muslim lives it every single day.

In the eyes of those perpetually seeking an apology from Muslims, I am a Bad Muslim. I don’t put hashtag-suffixed apologies online for what someone else of my faith does. When 9/11 happened, I was as shocked and terrified as anyone else was. We scary-looking Muslims experience human emotions, too. It sounds unbelievable if you’ve been swallowing Fox News and CNN (not much of a difference between both just like Democrats and Republicans operate nearly identical in the eyes of someone living in Pakistan or Somalia or Yemen, ad infinitum) narratives or can’t get enough of Homeland’s racist depiction of Muslims but we Muslims react to unexpected loss of life like any non-Muslim would. We cry, we mourn. We don’t wake up in the morning, like Bill Maher thinks, with the idea that today we will go infidel hunting. Some of us just have a minor existential crisis over what cereal to eat.

It amazes me how topical 9/11 is in the American consciousness when someone asks, “Where were you on 9/11?” I was in front of the television doing my homework. But I often ask: Where were you on 10/7 or 3/20 or 6/18 or 8/6 or 9/6 or 5/15 or the other dates when Western hegemony assaulted the lives of millions of innocent men and women? Where were you when the United States employed white phosphorous in Iraq in 2004 that resulted in a 38-fold increase in leukaemia, female breast cancer, infant mortality, lymphoma and brain tumors; statistics crossing those who survived the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? More importantly, as an American, when will you apologize?

No amount of polls of Muslims denouncing ISIS will authenticate our humanity to the average Westerner who trusts propagated tropes from a culture industry more than anything else. It does not matter to the average bigot whether 126 senior Islamic scholars hailing from various parts of the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, North Africa and beyond theologically make clear in an open 24-bullet letter that the deeds of ISIS are entirely un-Islamic because to the average bigot, Islam is beyond redemption and its followers deserve to be punished by virtue of the faith they follow. It does not matter if one explains, as Alireza Doostdar does meticulously in this essay, that ISIS is not a religious problem but a political exacerbation that necessitates a contextual understanding of its chronological development and proliferation. This hostility is not innate. One is not born with vengeance for a specific group of people. It is instilled and socialized through social and institutional production of ideology from the State, media outlets, academia and everyday social exchange. It is manufactured by ever escalating dosages of premeditated images, sound bites and seductive rhetoric that lures one into regurgitating falsities about a people. It reaches to a point, as we see today, where simply appearing to be Muslim (as if there is a specific aesthetic embodied by us) elicits some of the most unwarranted suspicion, invasive questions and in many cases, outright violence.

#NotInMyName is a well-intended initiative by Muslims who wish to reassure the world that not all of us are raging extremists who want to see communities burn to ashes. But that’s the problem. In a symptomatic reading of the many sincere apologies coming from young and old Muslims, one should not focus on the overtly stated text but what has not been said in those apologies. What you don’t see is that these messages are coming from harmless men and women who simply want their humanity to be registered in the reactive and hyper-alarmed Western world before they are made to pay for a group that, ironically enough, came into existence as a splinter faction when the United States invaded Iraq. What you also don’t see is that these messages shy away from stating the fact that the biggest victim of ISIS is not the United States or the collective West but the average citizen in Iraq and Syria. Stating this is an offence to American political sensibility, a faculty that endlessly amazes me with its parochial view of the world it inhabits. A haunting image of a masked Muslim man attempting to behead a western journalist injects horror in the Western imagination but if you go back a bit into the past, not many people remember British Royal Marines beheading indigenous communists of Malaya. The methods implemented in taking a human’s life is identical and yet the reactions are polar opposites. In the latter case, majority of the West has little to no memory of such a massacre.

Take it this way: In 2011, white men constituted over 69% of those arrested for urban violence and yet black men made up for the majority of the prison population thanks to the American prison industrial complex. The majority of school shooters and mass murderers in the United States are white men (97% of them being male and 79% being white) from upper-middle class backgrounds. But for some curious reason, Twitter or Facebook or even your favorite news channels have not seen a flood of apologies from white men under the hashtag #NotInMyName. I already expect indignant comments to tell me that these men were lone cases who had mental disorders and no friends because it’s the go-to reason when a white man decides to shoot schools up. Unfortunately, brown and black men cannot use the same excuse. Furthermore, white communities do not worry for their well-being when a white person is indicted with a crime the way non-white communities do. Similarly, when American soldiers go on killing sprees in Afghanistan and other lands under siege, we do not witness social media inundated with American soldiers tweeting #NotInMyName. If anything, we rarely hear of such bloodsport. When Mike Brown was murdered by officer Darren Wilson, we did not see white Americans tweet #NotInMyName to highlight the utter barbarity of Wilson’s racially motivated attack. But we did see over $50,000 donations go to Wilson and the cash came out of white pockets. This list goes on and so does the violence but the apologies never make an appearance. Mass culpability seems to apply to Muslims only in the post-9/11 world.

Let me make it clear to anyone expecting an apology from me: There is none.

I will apologize for ISIS when every single American apologizes for the production of the War on Terror that, like the brilliant Iraqi poet Sinan Antoon says, is the production of more terror and thus, endless war. I will apologize for ISIS when every single white American apologizes for the mass incarceration of black and brown people in the United States. I will apologize for ISIS when I see American men and women post lengthy and introspective apologies for what the US Empire has done to the world, including my native country, since its very advent. I will post an 8,000 word apology when English people email me individual apologies for what the British Empire did to the subcontinent. I will carry a banner around Union Square that reads “I condemn ISIS as a Muslim and everything else you think I’m responsible for because I share an identity with someone else” when I start seeing white Americans wearing shirts that read “I condemn the KKK, slavery, plantations, gentrification, the genocide of Native Americans, the internment camps for East Asians, the multiple coup d’etats my country facilitated abroad, the other 9/11 that Chileans suffered and yet everyone and their mother forgot, Christian fundamentalists who can’t pronounce Mohammad but think all Muslims need to be racially profiled and segregated from the rest of America and a lot more as a white person.” I won’t limit this to whiteness only; I will apologize when every single ethnic, religious group apologizes for whatever someone did simply because, under this debauched logic, they owe the world an apology for sharing an identity. When I start seeing these apologies, I will apologize too.

Until then, no apology.

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140 thoughts on “No Apology

  1. Very Good Post !!! Its appalling on so many levels when they think that their ( american ) lives seems to have more value than us lesser mortals from other countries.

  2. Reblogged this on Atikah Writes and commented:
    Mehreen writes with a lot more knowledge and nuance that I could ever possibly muster.

    When ISIS started to alarm news anchors in the Western world, I felt the familiarity of simultaneous wariness and boredom. I couldn’t believe it, the Islamophobia we’ve painstakingly tried to chip away is back in full force. It was as though the years between 2014 and 2001 are stretched thin to render them almost meaningless.

  3. Amazing, Mehreen. I’ve always looked up to you for the last 4-5 years and everything you’ve said resonates with my experiences when I spent 1 year in the States. I pray for your success, and most importantly, for all of us who bear the brunt of all what’s happening. I also pray for those Americans who have the wrong idea. This clarifies everything so nicely.

  4. brilliant, Mehreen. I could not say all this but had all this in my mind when my son and daughter advised me not to say in public what I said on the dining table, a few days ago. Add to what you wrote until then “All Hindus have opologised to untouchables in India for what they did for 5000 years and are still doing to them” plse read my blog “http://shakilakhtar.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/indias-untouchables/”. Also till Japs to what they did to chinese/koreans, Mughals to Hindus. Israelis , Hitler, Halaku…. the list is unending. Americans/ British are not alone, although they may be most subtle and clever in the group. also because even every (almost) ordinary member of the group blindly supports the propaganda. Like you, my heart too is human, Not only Muslim.

  5. An amazingly well written piece ! Your style of writing, humour and incredible array of sources always astounds me. Your somebody I see as a role model, and with every article you write I feel the urge to educate myself more on these issues you present. Honestly when I started to follow your tumblr blog I knew very little about my native country Pakistan and was interested to learn what you posted about it. I’ve really enjoyed this article, and the irony of the situation and the ignorance of others we have to live with. Please keep writing and I hope all is well with your studies !

  6. I do not apologize for things I have had no hand in perpetrating. I do not apologize for historic events that happened before I was born. I do not apologize for the sins of my parents. I do not apologize for government policy although I frequently disagree with it. I do not apologize for govt officials I did not elect. I do not apologize for other people’s behavior. Nor should you. I do not expect It of others. Nor should you.
    Nor should you

    1. You are absolutely correct not to apologize for that in which you did have a hand in perpetrating. But do you condemn that which is being perpetrated by others? I do and I believe so should others.

    1. We know that the people responsible for creating terror are known to never apologize..
      They cleave the heart in two
      and half a heart tells a lie to its own other half..
      Yet there are hearts that break but stay uncleaved..👊

  7. Demands for apologies are rich coming from an aggressively racist state and community within it. F*ck normalizing systematic xenophobia and selective racial/communal outrage. F*ck the latent imperialism that continues to exploit every former colony. F*ck neo-con’s and their capitalistic desire for an endless war. F*ck the shame we all feel participating in a society that goes against everything we’d stand for if we had the backbone to stand. And seriously F*UCK apologies.

    Thank you so much for writing this.

  8. Mehreen, you are a revelation. Thank you for all you do and write. I hope I can be half as articulate as you. As a Pakistani American woman (who grew up in Lahore), I feel strongly and similarly as you do about Islamophobia and the West. I hope one day you use this piece as a speech or address.

    Much love and prayers,
    Noor.

  9. Your posts are the light at the end of dark tunnels.

    People do things just to keep themselves in the clear what they dont realize is that by justifying something that you had nothing to do with in the first place can itself create doubts. I really admire your writing specially the ending paragraph.
    stay blessed.

  10. Well as a White Middle Class American I say Right On lass. Your analysis is spot on of what our (White America/The West’s) blindness to what our actions produce is a truth that needs to be spotlighted more often. Until we look in the mirror at ourselves and understand what WE are creating with our War Economy, things will not change. We will continue to create more people with a legitimate grudge against us, never understanding that we are doing so.

  11. I am sorry. I am sorry that this is what the world has turned out to be. I am sorry I am white and you are some other shade. I am sorry there is religion and I am sorry that having “faith” comes under scrutiny when it should be celebrated no matter whose “God” that faith is in because in this messed up world a bit of faith is a miracle in and of itself. I am sorry that we as a society are too busy paying attention to the wrong things and not enough to the right things. I am so sorry for all of us, white, black, brown, red, yellow. Your post moved me to tears, for this I am not sorry.

  12. you told it like it is. I dig this sister. I could care less how anyone else feels. it was beautiful, liberating and revealing. We are all connected on this earth and until we figure that out we will die together in ignorance.mauh!

  13. I hope you don’t mind but I have shared this story on my FB page as I think it is that important for folks to read. (Link to your blog)

  14. Well said. I’m not a Muslim (atheist actually) and I’m not a person of color (white guy), but I’ve been the other too, if on a much more watered down level. I can’t fix the disgusting attitudes and behavior I see from so many people who look like me, but I will never share in it, and will ever continue to rail against it. The ugliest side of our society has felt far too free in recent years to drag their hate and ignorance out into the light of day and then congratulate each other on their myopic world views. I’m not going to apologize for them, but I’m happy to tell them to shut the hell up and try to give them a little perspective.

  15. Mehreen, this was an amazing read and certainly affected me in a very positive way. I am the only Muslim guy working in my department and one of the few in my company. I always felt that I should be careful about what I say and what I do in front of my colleagues as chances are I am the only Muslim kid they will ever get to know on a personal and professional level. Every time ‘a Muslim story’ pops up on the news, I am asked of what I think about the incident. There is a constant sense of expectation from me that I am ‘moderate’ and thus, ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’. These are tough times for our generation but I am absolutely certain that one day, I will not feel the need to explain myself at work why I suddenly decided to grow out my beard.

    1. I’m from India and everytime people ask me what they think of Modi and other things. I respond with what I think. I think people are just trying to figure out your thoughts – what is wrong with that?
      If you have issues with people asking you “every” time then maybe skip jobs, or do what I do give them your actual view.

      1. Frankly, white-american ‘mainstream’ people need to grow up and stop being so pseudo-emotionally delicate (or self-absorbed, or simply oblivious), and the less ‘other’s’ molly-coddle us, the better. IMHO. Getting along with colleagues needn’t mean treating them like the babies they seem to prefer to be.

  16. Many Jewish people use the slogan ‘Not in my name’ when they go to protest against the actions of the Israeli state. Do you think it would be better if these people stopped doing this? After all, why should they apologise?

    1. Except the analogy does not apply here because Israel is not seen as illegitimate by the United States of America and every single of its regimes. The Jewish community of the United States of America does not get told by the president of the country on air that they should denounce what is being done by Israel in their name. Which does not speak for the anti-Semitism they face but it shows you that the West does not find it imperative that the Jewish people denounce what is done by the state apparatus like that of Israel’s.

  17. Ok – so – as someone’s middle-aged white-american mother, this can’t be the lengeth you want, but all of it – I apologize.
    I apologize.
    Why shouldn’t we apologize? I have no problem apologizing, I want to apologize.
    In fact, I want a place where we white-folks can go and share our apologies, like a tumblr page or something. Where we can pour out our sincere regret. Because in fact, I think that until we can do that, we can’t let go of the fear & guilt and alienation that drives so much of our public behavior. We need that & others need to hear it. Maybe I’ll start one. Thanks for prompting that idea.

  18. So you do not approve my comment, because I do not praise your writing? shocking. Expect a reblog where I can and will express my views and not have them censored.

  19. Beautifully Written, and perfectly presented. I’m not Muslim, but My Husband is, so its part of who I am now. Thank You for this. More people need to make their voices heard.

  20. Mehreen,
    Well -written piece. You wrote from your heart. I am a white,male who is a Born-again Christian. Like you I offer no apologies for being a Christian. Muslims should not apologize for actions,such as 9/11,ETC that they are not responsible for. People in this country or anywhere in the world, who classify every Muslim walking the planet as “Bad Muslims” or “Radical Militants are wrong. I know every Muslim is not like the terrorist groups who violate the Muslim belief system. You should not apologize for the terrorist act on this country on September, 11,2001. The responsible parties need to be brought to justice and apologize for this massive senseless act of murder. I am very American and will defend my country in a heartbeat. I believe this country is great. But I do not know if this latest invasion of Iraq was justified. The invasion in Iraq in 1991 was justified. The atomic bombs dropped on Japan in World War II were tragic and should not have been
    deployed. But I will not apologize for these actions my government took because I personally was not responsible for them. I do not expect you or any other Muslim to apologize for any actions you were not directly responsible for. On a wider scale human beings should apologize for actions they are directly responsible for. I do emphasize with the innocent victims who have suffered from all the violence perpetuated by the United States and other countries in the Middle East.
    Wars and invasions that the United States did engage in that I do not approve of or support I will not apologize for because I did not make the decisions to take the country in those directions. Military actions and other acts the United States has engaged in that I approve and support I will not apologize for. I believe that for you to expect every American to apologize for the above named actions you expressed is unrealistic and unfair. Not every American is responsible for these actions. I do not expect every Muslim to apologize for every act that ISIS or other terrorist groups engage in on the stage of the world. This would be unfair and unrealistic of me because not every Muslin is responsible for these group’s actions. Nor does every Muslim think the way these terrorist groups think.

    Not every Christian thinks the way you stated above”Christian fundamentalists who can’t pronounce Mohammad but think all Muslims need to be racially profiled and segregated from the rest of America and a lot more as a white person.”
    I for one do not feel this way nor do I think it is all about the “white race.” It is about every race Jesus Christ put on this planet. What the elderly white man did to you on the train was wrong and uncalled for. You are human like the rest of us.But I will not apologize for his actions as wrong as they were. I will not be responsible for this man’s skewed perception of Muslims. As wrong as he is. I do not think the way he does. I know you have skin and blood flowing through your blood as I do. Again well-written piece.

  21. Reblogged this on My life as a Homeschooling Housewife and commented:

    Wow, just wow.
    Let me first say that I honestly never intended for you to become so angry. I have commented on some very polarizing and controversial posts (which yours is not) and I have flat out disagreed with the authors, and my comments were still valid and excepted. From the blogs of religious leaders to hardcore feminists, my comments whether in agreement or disagreement have always been approved here on WordPress, and my thoughts have been heard.

    I was not vulgar, threatening, or insulting to you when I left the comment that was not approved, so frankly I was stunned and confused that you denied me the ability to be part of the discussion as I felt I had something valuable to add.

    I am new to blogging and have never run across a blogger who withheld a comment seemingly because they just did not like it.
    But as you pointed out, it is your prerogative and you can do what you like on your blog. I agree, once again I was just surprised and disappointed that’s all.

    Now as for the words you have put in my mouth, where to begin?
    I never said your blog was a “hellscape.” I never said anything about your blog, that was in fact the first time I had ever heard of or visited your blog.

    I never claimed the “white race” was the most “helpless and hapless” where on earth are you getting this from??

    You make quite a few assumptions about me, based upon nothing but my skin color. You mockingly guess what my name could be “Tracy, Melinda, Brittney” I’m assuming these are supposed to be white sounding names?

    You call me indignant and self-entitled. You know what I believe I am entitled to? The same courtesy and respect you would give any other woman when conversing with her whether it be online or in real life. I have a hard time believing you would speak that way to a Black woman, Asian woman, Middle Eastern woman or any other woman who would not be named Tracy, Melinda or Brittany.
    You apparently also assume that I must not be very intelligent or educated because you ask me to have my response in MLA format and to cite my favorite white writers, as though this would be a very difficult task for me and I’d sit helplessly crying at my computer trying to figure out how to accomplish this. I do not need to meet any of your bizarre mandates, as I can quite adequately express myself and refute your accusations just as I am. Also when thinking of my favorite writers, I do not think of them in terms of their race.

    I looked through the comments on this post and I saw many such WISE sentiments such as ” I do not apologize for things I had no hand in perpetrating. I do not apologize for historical events that happened before I was born.” “……. its time we stop apologizing for something we did not commit.” “I have often thought how unfair it is to blame a billion people for the actions of a relatively tiny group of psychopaths.”

    Hmm, funny those other approved comments echoed “the meat” of what I expressed in my comment which was not allowed because you are “not interested” in what I have to say.
    You see that was my whole point, exactly what many others were allowed to express freely- What kind of ignorance and insanity does it take to hate or fear a whole race of people based on the evils of the past or the evils of a small offshoot of that race?? But please sweetie tell me more about how the “whites” have since “times immemorial made everything about themselves.” Hey wait, I thought it was ridiculous to judge a race, nation or religion on the sins of their ancestors?!

    You see M’am I have not called you names (as you have me) but if I were to call you one now, it would be a hypocrite, a hypocrite who apparently hates and disregards white women and assumes they are all “self-entitled, indignant, ignorant Brittneys’.”

    I think I have more than made my point, and I actually have been bored with this since….well right after I read your mean and hateful reply. But for the sake of “clearing my name” after you spewed a bunch of nonsense I never said, I felt I should write this after all.

  22. Shared this on my facebook. I love how this article pointed out that we live much less of a difference no matter how we’re separated by religion or geography or nationality and stereotyping people is stupidity. People can be bad or good, regardless of one being a christian or a muslim or a buddhist or pagan or etc.

    I have muslim friends and I want to share your article to them :D

  23. You go !! I love your sarcasm about the being cold comment and well keep on fighting for what you believe in. Making a difference, positive ones are miraculous achievements ..

  24. I would not say, “when every white American apologizes”, that’s kind of myopic. I would instead say “when every American apologizes.” More than a race thing it is a Christian thing, and a blind patriotism thing, and an lack of tolerance thing, and an ignorance thing. And believe me, those are not exclusively white issues.

    Other than that, this is a well written article. I enjoyed it, thanks for writing.

  25. I’d like to first, applaud you for your self standing and knowledge of who you are. Secondly, not to dote on anyone or choose a side when in all reality as logical as Humanity tends to reveal itself to be, there is no real side. We are all wrong, we are all faulted and we have the need to be politically correct for that.

    Let me state this. Who you are, is who you are. What religion, creed, race, or color you are does not reflect on you individually; what I mean to say, is that the actions of others whom you share a belief or ethnicity or genealogy with should not be reflected on you as an individual. You are your own person and for that, no apologies are necessary or appropriate. It’s the overall ignorance of people that should be sorry.

  26. I agree with what you have said here, Mehreen. Often, we try to mend ways by apologizing for things that we have not done. Anyone who blames entire community for a crimes commitment by others is stupid. Would I judge sentence the whole family if one of them committed murder, no right!

  27. It is unfortunate to be discriminated for your sex, religion, tribe or the color of your skin, I am from Ghana where people from the northern part (my tribe) are look down on but I have matured to be proud and make it known to all who listen that I am proud of my roots. ignorance sometimes accounts for these attitudes. stay strong and don’t hide your belief for anyone. great post.

  28. Oh for crying out loud whitefolks!!

    i.e. ‘homeschooling’ – “I never intended you to become so angry?” Really? A blogger’s feelings are subject to your intentions? And regardless of your intent, your first (approved) comment WAS inflammatory/snarky. This whole ‘your anger isn’t justified’ thing is just another form of bullshit repression. (I stopped reading your comment there-a quick scan suggested the same old always-right, whiny-white crap).

    And both of you (hshw and the long-winded white guy) – what’s the big deal? Afraid someone is asking for your pound of flesh? Just keep repeating that old ‘I’m innocent’ mantra, let’s just see how much damage that repairs. . .

    Really, where’s the gracefulness & empathy? The compassion we’re always touting – or is that just what we expect from ‘others’?

    ‘We’ (whiteys) don’t need to take up so much space! ‘We’ have dominated the discussion forever. And this dull old point-by-point logical rebuttal thing as a means of evading (and in your minds, thereby discounting) the underlying message, meaning, emotion – So old-school dude-like.

    ‘WE’ HAVE BEEN HEARD. Ad nauseum. (ok, now I apologize again, for taking up space.)

  29. Pingback: Alay Syed
  30. Strong work. Many (most?) Americans, in my (lifelong) experience find the very idea of even ackowledging or believing in American misbehavior – ever – as traitorous and offensive. Instead of renewing and acting on American ideals, people insist on them as quasireligious dogma, which of course prevents efforts to improve on things. How can you improve anything when you attack any suggestion there’s any need? Why improve foreign policy (the best!), education, (the best!), health care (the best!), or our voting procedures (the best!). The flip side you describe well: absolute right demands absolute wrong as a counterpart, attacking as traitorous any support for any point made by thw ‘wrong’ side. It’s a very comforting view of reality and, of course, quite delusional and dysfunctional. America is slowly sinking under the weight of all this arrogance, rationalization, and refusal to adapt, as did Britain before us. So it goes. I’m glad to see a frank discussion of reality; in these times such stands out, sadly, against all the pap and noise around us.

  31. This is a very well written and thought provoking piece. I may not agree with everything you’ve written, but you’ve given me reason to pause and think about it. We live in a cruel world for sure, where people on both sides of an issue believe they are in the right. If you look at the history of the world, no country is immune and owes an apology for something. It’s unfortunate that human nature tends to want to divide and conquer, and most times violently. Let’s not forget that the conflict between the Muslims and the Jews goes back thousands of years, and both have been extremely violent and cruel to each other. Yet nothing ever changes. We seem doomed to make the same mistakes over and over.

  32. Mehreen, very good article. Hitting the nail on the head. America was not founded on the basis of exclusionary principles and it is sickening to see the constitution being manipulated to the point oh we have freedom of religion and speech…but not for you. Sad how consumerism and social inequality have become the mainstream. America is supposed to be the home of the free and the brave…not the home of anti religious and exclusionary views. Maybe instead of the #notmyfault movement someone needs to start the #notinmyamerica movement. Not sure why a muslim person should need to apologize for anything. White people not apologizing for raising kids who blow up schools and kill fellow students. I am white but am color blind. You are who you choose to be. You choose to be bad, then you are the bad one. Alas too much entitlement and instituionalization of outdated ideas and threat construction has created more problems than it can solve. I know it is overused but can we not just get along?

  33. For what it’s worth, as a white American I think that you are 100% correct with everything you’ve said here. I hope that more people in this country can begin to understand what you are expressing, it is the direction that western culture must inevitably go if we are to ever live in peace.

  34. As a white Christian female, I am proud of you for posting this. I hate when people are blinded by illogical fear.

    Your non-apology is accepted.

  35. This was in our local news not too long ago:
    http://www.kvewtv.com/article/2014/sep/30/mosque-protest-sign-reads-death-islam/

    Believe me, I am so, so embarrassed about this. I am very, very aware that this Muslim community has been a part of our area for a long time… most of my life, so almost forty years. I have driven by the mosque at least a dozen times or so when I was in town. I was part of a 9/11 remembrance event when I volunteered at Richland City hall, and I remember the mosque leader came and publicly condemned the attacks. But… me, personally, I wasn’t sure why it was necessary. I felt no threat from the community; I was well aware they lived here quite peacefully.

    *sigh* My physician is Muslim… he’s one of the best doctors I’ve ever had. I’ve met many wonderful people that just happened to be Muslim. So, as a white, male Christian– I don’t expect an apology. You have mine. And I really wish more folks like me would offer some. And yes, I’m aware of the messy bits of U.S. history… I’ve been painfully aware of late.

  36. Reblogged this on Iconography ♠ Incomplete and commented:
    I am Muslim. Yes I am. Yeah I write different kinds of stories. That’s me as a person as much as Islam is. I do not know why people stereotype me with terrorists like Isis or whatever. But the international community makes me really sad at times when they outwardly dis my religion and say a few stray thoughts about something they heard about pillars or 70 virgins. Guess what? That really hurts my feelings and makes me sad. I do not know much but I do know that it is hurtful when you can’t even say you are Muslim to people for fear or discomfort that they will heap these categories on you and then start to make fun of you and push your buttons hoping that you become as “terrorist” as your culture and religion is said to be. The Native Americans also faced this travesty and so did Judaism you think people would understand by now it’s not fair. It’s not fair when you are rejected if you speak liberally or autonomously and then get bunched up with those types when you know that your content was different and part of both subculture and mainstream activities.

    I give you this post by Mehreen Kasana who acknowledges the strife we regular Muslim people face due to prejudice and stereotypes.

    Thank you for reading.

  37. I am happy Kasana wrote this it was overdue. I do not like to be affiliated with ISIS, Al-Queda or Taliban or what not because a) I am not them and b) by claiming or insinuating I have something in common with them it’s like you are forfeiting to know me as a person and well also acknowledge me as an individual.

    I hate the show “Homeland” I think it’s a stupid piece of shit. I am outraged by its depiction of another race and religion so inadequately as barbaric and hostile because you are sequestering people of one faction or schism as a whole for a people that no one is taking the time to know. If I was so barbaric and what not I wouldn’t be using WordPress and write on so many different topics that include on both my life and also poetry on erotica, identity and awareness. I wouldn’t write on feminism and to look at fairy tales revision where princesses should be knights and all the other topics that are both of West and of East.

    So take your time to know others. I mean especially of a class or creed or religion you have heard that aren’t that great. I mean it’s better to gain a knowledge by yourself right?

  38. A well written and true piece. The trouble is we live in a world were everyone expects an apology for something that simply had nothing to do with an individual and yet the one asking for the apology is far too proud. Thank you for writing this

  39. Hi Mehreen,

    Thank you for a very well written and spot-on piece.

    By the way, when I hear about the images of ISIS beheadings (I will not view them) I am afraid. When I read about Islamic riots in Australia in support of those beheadings I am afraid. When I read about the ISIS interpretation of the Islamic Caliphate I am afraid.

    What am I afraid of? I am afraid of fear. Why am I afraid? I am afraid because I am told to be afraid. It makes me easy to govern.

    When I talk to a young Islamic student handing out information about Islam in a tent at our local flea market on a beautiful sunny day I am not afraid, merely curious.

    I don’t “get” Islam, but then I don’t “get” Christianity either.

    I am white, male, Australian, middle class and I am not going to apologise either. What’s the point?

    I will stop being afraid however.

    Thank you

    Graham
    Queanbeyan
    NSW

  40. So much ingrained eloquently expressed hatred to expunge~ On either side of the equation ~ A superb piece of writing that brings to light the terrible inferences some people have to endure just to survive ~On either side of the equation~ Love to all ~ <3

  41. Reblogged this on johnandmargaret1607 and commented:
    So much ingrained eloquently expressed hatred to expunge~ On either side of the equation ~ A superb piece of writing that brings to light the terrible inferences some people have to endure just to survive ~On either side of the equation~ Love to all ~ <3

  42. After reading your powerful, strong and courageous words, I thought, “Why does anything like this even need to be written?” I say this because you shouldn’t have feel you have to apologize, or not apologize, for being who you are. Your words and some of the comments have stirred my feelings to a point that it is difficult to find words to express how I truly feel. Simply said, you had me with your first paragraph, when the man recoiled from you on the train. I am a white man. It’s just how I was born, I didn’t have a choice. I was born in the U.S., that just where my mother was when I was born. Beyond that, for the greater part of my life I have not claimed any country, belief, or particular ideology. When I pay taxes I just call it rent to live in the U.S..

    When I was much younger, when people would ask me where I am from I would say, “Earth.”. When people would persist for more details I would say, “Within a solar system that revolves around a mediocre star. It is within a galaxy filled with billions of stars. Within a universe filled with billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars.”

    My point is that I am one star on a planet with billions of stars. This group of stars makes up, what is termed as, humanity. Therefore I am one human within humanity. Where I am from, what I believe, and who I am does not take away the fact that I am one human within humanity.

    Why did you have me with your first paragraph? It broke my heart. It breaks my heart when I hear on the news media that, no matter what a Muslim says, you can’t believe it because they state that in the Koran (which I have never read) Muslims will deceive the non-believers, using passive warfare, to overcome the “infidels” and impose Sharia Law over the entire world. Those who do not accept Sharia Law will be put to death.

    I have to admit, these words passed through my mind as I read your powerful statement. Behind those words were other words, “I want to believe her. I have nothing against her or any Muslim. I would never recoil from her.” This is how the West has made Muslims an invisible enemy. That all Muslims are a potential enemy. I could feel myself screaming inside.

    Basically I have to live by what I have always said, “I always give my trust for free until the person gives me a reason not to trust them. If you lose my trust then you will have to earn it back.” No Muslim has ever done any harm to me. Actually there are many who live within my apartment complex. They are all pleasant people. I have had pleasant conversations with a couple of the men and when I see their wives outside with their children, they always look to me and smile. I always return the smile. Truth is that most white people just pass by me without smiling or even saying “Hello”.

    I do apologize for this long, philosophical comment. It represents how difficult it has been to find the words to describe the feelings that your powerful words aroused within me. I could have probably simplified it by simply saying, “I love you for the human being that you are, upon the Earth that we all share, each a part of humanity as a whole.”

  43. I’m so sorry for anyone who has to go through such disgusting treatment simply for their faith. As a Christian, heck, as a human being, I pray for love, peace and solidarity together against the evil in this world. God bless you.

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