So If You're Muslim, Then Why Are You White? The Difference Between Race and Religion

64317_10150559801462391_205799721_n My friend Lubna recently reminded me of this question I often receive, so I thought I would elaborate :)

Yes, I am white.  Caucasian. My heritage is Czech mostly with a sprinkle of Irish and German, but I'm American.  100% cracker, white girl status.

And, I'm Muslim.  100%... MUSLIM.


Islam is the name of our religion - as Christianity or Judaism is the name of other religions.

Muslim is the name of the person who follows Islam - as Christian or Jew is the name of people who follow other religions.

Caucasian is my race.  As other races are African American, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc...


Your religion is connected to how you perceive the world, who you worship, what you believe in. It has nothing to do with where you were born, or where your parents were born.

You can be a black Buddhist from Budapest.

You can be an Asian Jew from Timbuktu.

And, as you read in my bio, I'm a Caucasian Muslim from Ohio.

(I hope you liked my rhymes).

Yes, I'm learning Arabic.

Yes, I love Arab culture.

Yes, I make kabsa wa kousa mashi wa samboosa (all Arabic foods).

But I'm a white girl.  And I'll always be white.  And I'll never be FROM an Arab country. And I'm very thankful for who I am. I like that I'm different. I love surprising people when they ask "Intee min wein?!" and I say "ana min hon!" (Where are you from? I'm from HERE!").

See, not all Muslims are Arab.  I know people associate Islam with Arabic, Arab culture, etc... , but it's not 100% accurate.

Our Prophet Muhammad (saws) lived in modern-day Saudi Arabia.  This is true.  But, Malaysia actually has the biggest Muslim population in the world.  It's not an Arab country at all!

And, not all Arabs are Muslim - there are many Christian Arabs in Lebanon, for example.

Funny, I know, but my grandma calls me all the time and tells me that she goes to Arab restaurants to feel like she is "in touch with my cultural roots."

Grandma, we're Czech.  My cultural roots include pierogies and kolacky and polka music.  Not Tamer Hosny and falafel.

She told me recently that she's going to start taking matters into her own hands if I don't get married soon and start meeting nice Arab families to marry me off to. I told her I want a nice MUSLIM husband and I explained to her the difference between Arab and Muslim.  I thought she got it.  Then, at the end of the conversation she said she would make sure he was Arab.

I have a feeling she's going to bring home an Israeli guy for me and not know the difference.


I guess that I should say I would prefer that people don't confuse my love for Islam with my love for Arab culture.  I do care about both, very much.  And I feel like I am very influenced by Arab culture, but I'm much more influenced by Islam.

Islam is perfect. Muslims are not. Arab Muslims aren't always the best Muslims.

Islam is a mercy for all mankind.  Not just Arabs.

When a lady at WalMart told me to go back where I came from, I told her I'm from CLEVELAND.

There is a hadith (not sure on how authentic) but it says that Prophet Muhammad said, "O people, know that the Lord and Sustainer is One. Your ancestor is one, your faith is one. The Arabism of anyone of you is not from your mother or father. It is no more than a tongue (language)." (As quoted in Islam The Natural Way by Abdul Wahid Hamid p. 125)

May Allah give us the wisdom to realize that Islam is for all people - in all times - of all colors - forever. And, may He give us the tolerance and patience to understand that the diversity of the world is beautiful. Ameen.

Do You Wear Hijab Because Some Guy Made You? Why I Choose To Wear Hijab


I've done seven posts about different questions I get about hijab - but here's the last post in the series.  One that answers the big question: Why I DO wear hijab. No, it's not because my dad made me, it's not because it's the cultural norm in my country, and it's not because I'm worried that people will think I'm promiscuous if I don't...

Why DO I Wear Hijab?

Because God Told Me To

This is the REAL reason I wear it.  You don't know what it means to do something selflessuntil you do something for God.  He gave you life, He provides for you, but what do YOU do for Him?

One of the things that I feel like I did for Him was to wear hijab.

"And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.” [Q 24:31]

This isn't a fancy explanation, but it's the truth.  There's nothing in the world I wouldn't do for Allah (swt) and, that's it.


I feel very protected and safe in hijab.  It really does take away a lot of the pressure of men looking at you.  When I didn't wear hijab, guys would ask me out, touch me, just be GROSS.  Now, no one does anything that makes me feel uncomfortable.  No one touches me.  It's very powerful.

There is a pretty common story that a nonMuslim man asked a Muslim man why Muslim women cover themselves in hijab.  He took a piece of candy - took it out of the wrapper - and threw it on the ground.  It got dirty, ants came and swarmed it, etc... He took another piece of candy - that was wrapped - and threw it on the ground as well. Then, he asked the nonMuslim man if he wanted the wrapped candy or the unwrapped candy? He of course said the wrapped one. The unwrapped was to symbolize uncovered women - how they are walking through this filthy world .  The covered woman was symbolized by the wrapped candy - which is protected from the dirty things on earth.

I know it's kind of cheesy, but the meaning makes sense.

To Be a Representation

Wearing hijab gives me the amazing ability to be Super Muslim.  Everyone knows what religion I follow when I walk down the street, so there is an opportunity to answer questions that they may have.  I'm not sure what it is about ME personally that makes everyone open to ask me questions, throw out comments, and sometimes even insult me, but there must be something. It's something most other religions don't get to experience.  Maybe the Amish.  Maybe some Sikhs, or Hindus, but not MOST religions.

It's also nice that when people think I'm going to start speaking in broken English, that I'm fluent :) It shocks them sometimes that I speak English so well.  I know that sometimes people pray I don't come to their line in the grocery store because they think communicating with me will be impossible, then, I open my mouth, don't have an accent, and they realize it's not so bad to talk to a Muslim lady!

Like I've said before, it's pressure, but it's also a gift.

So I Don't Have To Do My Hair

Okay, so it's not a religious reason, but it saves me a lot of time in the morning to not have to blow dry and straighten my hair everyday! Plus, my hair looks MUCH better than it ever did when I didn't wear hijab. Fine, so it's not a reason, but definitely a perk ;)

To Prevent Myself from Doing Wrong

Every time I look in the mirror, I am reminded that I am so incredibly blessed that Allah (swt) chose me to be Muslim.  It gives me the passion about my religion that I need to live every day as the best possible Muslim I can be.  You can't go into a bar in hijab.  It very easily helps you to avoid haram.

To Remind Myself of What Really Matters

Yes, I was much more attractive to the general population before I wore hijab, but it didn't mean anything.  It is so much more important to work on what's inside of you - to perfect your religion, to better your personality, to increase your knowledge - than to work out your calves and curl your hair.  Really, it is. I know.  I promise you.

For My Future Husband

A final, very important reason.  No, I'm not married. And I might not be married for a long time, but I already love my future husband and respect him.  I wouldn't want him to be out there right now - whereever he is - showing off for girls.  I'm not a hypocrite.  So, I choose to wear hijab - partially - for him.  I already belong to him, and him to me, so I'll save my beauty for him as I save my heart for him, inshaAllah.

I'm not under any pressure to wear hijab - and I wasn't when I first started wearing it.  I love it.  And I am not taking it off. InshaAllah, not now.  Not ever.  And I don't care what that means for my job, for what people think of me, or for anything except for the fact that it pleases God.  The rest of the reasons are just support of the first reason - and doing something for God is doing it for the Best of reasons.