Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Funny Thing

Here's a funny story for you guys...

There are a LOT of Muslims at my school, and a lot of them wear head scarves and modest clothing. Today I had chem lab first thing in the morning, so I wore a head scarf (not tied the Muslim way) instead of a wig. As I walked into the elevator, a Muslim girl got on right after me. She looked at me and immediately said "Salaam aleikum" (which is Arabic for "Peace be unto you"). Hebrew has an identical saying, "Shalom Aleichem". I was a bit startled, but said "Aleikum salaam" back to her so as not to be rude. (Although I have no idea if that is the practice for Muslims, but I know it is for Jews to say Aleichem Shalom to someone who says Shalom Aleichem to you.) When I got off of the elevator I nearly burst into laughter. She actually thought I was Muslim! Me...with the REALLY WHITE skin tone. But I guess wearing a long black skirt and a sweater along with a head scarf (still not tied the Muslim way) in a place that has a large concentration of Muslims (and a very small concentration of Jews) makes me look like a Muslim. How cute, eh?

While we're on the subject, I want to say something. Although some Orthodox Jews may disagree with me, I have a great amount of respect for Orthodox Muslims, excluding the fanatics who enjoy killing people. *Real* Orthodox Muslims are quite similar to Orthodox Jews. We dress modestly, the women cover their hair, we pray several times a day, we fast on our fast days, etc. I would even venture to say that we have similar morals (again excluding the weird ones who like killing). So yeah, I wasn't offended in the least when mistaken for an Orthodox Muslim. I was honored to be considered among this group who practice their religion in similar ways to how I practice my own.

*UPDATE* I took out the last part of my post not because I received any comments from Christians complaining, but I received comments from people who I'm close with who felt that it was inappropriate. For anyone who read it and was *still* offended, I apologize as it was not meant to be in any way.


FET Accompli said...

Interesting connection!

WiseGuy said...

I love your insight.

My alter religion would perhaps have been Buddhism.

Jamie said...

Funny how we can be so different but still sort of the same!

Mrs. Gamgee said...

I have often thought similiar things... about the parallels between orthodox Judaism and orthodox Islam. But being outside of both communities, I have hesitated to speak those thoughts. I think if we all seek out the similarities while respecting the differences, we would have a much more peaceful world.

Michael Zamboanga said...

What a lovely musing, Elana! I'm touched. :)

The Salaam Aleikum exchange you had reminds me of "Little Mosque on the Prairie." The Muslim characters do that all the time on that show.

I remember a time when one of our friends from Qatar was explaining that the Arabs like eating with Jews if they are away from the Middle East. It might be because of the whole pork avoidance thing, I think. I'm not sure on the Halal v. Kosher meat preparation requirements, though.