Never discuss religion or politics.
How many times have you heard that one? The Golden Rule. They are probably the two most divisive topics of conversation, so it makes sense to avoid them. Doesn’t it?
Sometimes, things just need to be said and, as a family, I don’t think we’ve ever been too eager to follow ‘the rules’.
So, while my brother has politics covered, it’s high time I tackle the other taboo.
As difficult as it is to accept a new religion and learn all you need to know, it is much harder on a convert’s family. When you raise your child, you do so in the way you feel is best. So when they seemingly denounce everything you taught them and start a new way of life, it must be disconcerting to say the least.
But much of this worry surely comes from fear of the unknown? Or, worse, incorrect understanding perpetuated by the media.
For a number of years now, we’ve skirted around the topic of my chosen religion. It’s not an easy thing to talk about on either side; often subjects seem too awkward or too sensitive. For me, the main issue has always been not knowing where to start.
In 2018, I intend to harness the power of the internet to start conversations with all of my family, north and south, east and west, to introduce you to my daily life and show you that it’s not as alien as you may think. At the end of the year, I will have been successful if I can say, hand on heart, that:
- My family knows me better and understands my choices; and
- We are able to talk freely about the religious aspects of my life.
I hope you will see that Muslims are normal people, with pretty ordinary lives. That, despite some changes to my lifestyle, I’m still your Emma.
The open, honest, and sometimes emotional letters below are addressed to all corners of my family, but I welcome every reader with an interest in following my thoughts. In fact, I hope it will be useful for those who maybe have a Muslim convert in their family, or are thinking of converting themselves.
It’s not always plain sailing, but you only have one family, and Islam teaches us never to break ties with our relations. This is my way of reaching out.
Before we get started, just a quick note on how to use the blog. If you’re visiting for the first time, take a few minutes to read about My Journey to Islam, which will give you some background.
After that, you can read the letters in any order, and don’t forget to hit the follow button in the bottom right corner to receive updates via email. I will be posting a new entry each fortnight, and occasional special features throughout the year. Comments are welcomed on every post, or you can contact me privately.
Whenever I use a word or phrase which you may not be familiar with, or the meaning of which is often misunderstood, I will link directly to the Glossary. There you will find them all in alphabetical order, and I will continue to populate this with each new letter.
That’s it! Now, grab a drink, make yourself comfortable and let’s see where the year takes us.