So my friend who is a Muslim matchmaker has been trying to introduce me to a Muslim man for marriage. He suggested a man to me last week with immigration problems. I immediately turned down the idea. Hopeful for a match, he texted me tonight and said he had an American citizen for me. Could he give him my number he asked. I said sure. I thought to myself, Why not? Couldn’t hurt to try right?
So the man contacts me. Right away before even speaking to me, he leaves a text suggesting we should meet one time for coffee and then pray (Istikharah) and decide on marriage. I was thinking, Hold on wait a minute. So I texted him back and asked him if I could call him. He called me. I told him this:
He agreed. So we were ok on that. Then he told me after talking for a minute that he had four children. The conversation continued, and I told him I didn’t practice polygamy. He right away ended the conversation. I could tell by this behavior that he was still married to his first wife and maybe even had other wives. My matchmaker later confirmed my feelings on this.
I wasn’t surprised but angry at my matchmaker for suggesting him. I had told him strictly no polygamists. But it seems Muslim matchmakers think Muslim women my age (40) are only suitable for polygamist suitors or men with immigration issues. I got news for them: I would rather stay single.
But my friend had a funny reply to give the next polygamist I meet.
So at the end of the day, if we can laugh at these experiences, then I guess everything is ok.
I recently wrote a blog on Grassroots Dawah NYC where I praised them. Then after a later negative experience with them, I realized it needed an update; and I updated it. When I was updating the blog I searched them on Google and realized that my blog showed up in a search for their business name. I was even more convinced then that I needed to update this blog. I realized the power this article had. Blog: https://shethoughtsheonceknew.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/a-dawah-experience-in-new-york-city/
This experience reinforced the idea for me that when you are discontent with something the best thing to do is not kick and scream but to write about it. There is power in journalism, even if it is just a blog. Think about it, every time someone searches “Grassroots Dawah NYC” my blog will come up in the search. My blog is a permanently imprinted in their record online whether they like it or not.
When meeting people online be cautious and always try to read in between the lines.
If you check people out or ask enough questions you can usually find out if what they are saying is true and not fall for one of these scams:
“A Facebook user pretending to be a Politico reporter has befriended dozens of journalists, prompting suspicion about the account owner’s motivation. Someone falsely claiming to be a journalist at The Atlantic also has become Facebook friends with prominent journalists.”
A good way of checking people out is cross-checking several social media sites with their name. Look at their other accounts to see if they are consistent with their posting and who they say they are. If you are friends on Facebook, Facebook will automatically link you to their Instagram. LinkedIn is where users tend to post more credible bios than let’s say Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Fake names and fake profile pictures on accounts are usually a safe bet that someone is hiding something or doesn’t want to be held accountable for their actions online. One can check to see where an image is from by putting it through a Google reverse image search if one doubts that an image actually belongs to the user. Directions on how to do a Google reverse image search: https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/1325808?hl=en
If you ever choose to exchange numbers with anyone you meet online it will link you to most of their social media accounts. If you haven’t already discovered them. This works only if they have added their phone number to the accounts. You may then see accounts that are under different aliases.
If you ever decide to meet anyone in person that you friend online as a precaution you should always first do it in a public place.
I was on my way to make signs with the Arab American Association when Grassroots Dawah NYC stopped me and asked me to volunteer. So I did. And I did Dawah with them for 4 hours at Atlantic and Barclay subway. What a rewarding experience. I met so many wonderful Muslims and spoke to so many great non-Muslims. I reached many people with pamphlets and words. But probably the most rewarding part was when the guy in charge bought me dinner and a homeless guy walked up and asked us if we were feeding the homeless. I had just started eating. I looked at my food and then looked at him hungry and said to him while handing him my food, “Here take my food.”He grabbed it eagerly and said,” Really thank you so much. “And he took my fork and started eating my dinner right in front of me. Then he quickly hurried away. I could tell he needed the food more than me. Lucky for me the organization bought extra food and I was able to get another plate. But we prayed together, ate together and did Dawah together. The fellowship with my fellow Muslims was great. I encourage all to try this experience. I will definitely be back again doing Dawah with them again.
Update on this story: Since I had this Dawah experience I went back another time and did Dawah with them. I talked to people and handed out pamphlets. I had great conversations with the public. But they did not think at one point that I was giving proper dua and basically told me to be quiet in front of people. So I told them I was leaving. They insulted me. And one of the sisters that works with them who earlier in the day had brought me Haram food (and lied and said it was from a Halal vendor when it wasn’t) also attacked me and was very rude. I found them very ungrateful and inconsiderate.
Video of Yemeni-American who was residing in Yemen paying a mentally challenged poor man to slap him.
A Yemeni-American who was residing in Yemen paid a mentally challenged poor man 250 Yemen riyal also equal to $1 to slap him. His name is Abeed Ghaleb or, at least, that is what he goes by on Facebook and he now resides in New York. He later posted another video on Facebook apologizing for the act saying it was all in fun. The Yemeni community expressed disgust with his actions which is probably what triggered his apology. His apology was not accepted by the Yemeni community as they found this act inexcusable.
This is a disgusting act and unfortunately because it happened in Yemen I doubt he will face prosecution. But let’s as a public prosecute him and let our feelings be known that we don’t find this act acceptable or excusable.
Dawah is not just about spitting out Quran and Hadiths and preaching to people. I know someone who does that all day. He has memorized a lot. And he preaches and corrects people a lot. Even to the point of putting down and humiliating others sometimes. But what he has failed to see is that Dawah is not just about how many verses you can recite to someone. It is about showing someone how beautiful Islam is through your character. So that you don’t have to push Islam on people, but that people are so impressed and interested in you that they ASK. So this brother criticized me cause I don’t go around preaching and pushing religion on people. But I told him I don’t solicit religion. I feel if people are interested they will ask. And they do. Because they feel comfortable around me. And that’s the key to Dawah. People feeling comfortable and feeling like they can exchange ideas with you, not feeling like you are just going to give them a sermon.
I am Muslim in NYC and life hasn’t changed since Donald Trump’s Islamophobic statements. I agree with those who say that Donald Trump didn’t make anyone hate Muslims or Islam he just made vocal a fear and hate that was already there. In other words, those people already hated Muslims, Donald Trump just made it “ok” to be vocal about it.
So in a way, I think Donald Trump kind of benefited me. Now I am more sure to know who my enemies are because people may feel more open to saying “I don’t like you” now. Which is fine by me. They can dislike me all they want as long as they don’t act on it. But I would rather be aware of someone’s hate than have them plotting behind my back.
But personally, I am not feeling the hate. I wear a hijab. I live in NYC. And except for the usual Islamophobia found online I experience nothing. And my friends say the same. They are going about life as usual and no one is bothering them. And don’t think for a second that I am surrounded by Muslims most of the time because I am not. I have many non-Muslim friends and I go to a secular school.
So I think those marketing on the “fear” the media has put in Muslim’s minds that America all of a sudden hates them are just as guilty as Trump. I heard of a Karate School in Queens that was advertising self-defense courses for Muslim women in light of the “recent anti-Muslim attacks in the city” http://www.ny1.com/nyc/queens/news/2016/01/1/queens-couple-giving-self-defense-classes-for-muslim-women.html . What attacks? I believe one Muslim woman was spat on in Brooklyn. There were a few instances against Muslim males in businesses also. But for the most part, if you compare it to crimes to happen throughout the city the rates are pretty low. A few crimes don’t mean I will run out and take a self-defense course. But again this is smart marketing because the not only Trump but CAIR and the media has made it out to sound like the American public is out to get Muslims. And not only non-Muslims but Muslims are buying it too.