Home is Where the Fires Are

Bismillahi ir-rahman ir-rahim – In the name of Allah, most gracious, most mercifu

A few days ago I woke up to the news of the bush fires in Victoria. Hour by hour I heard of the growing death toll and I read of the death and destruction. It is difficult for me to comprehend that such a peaceful place is currently facing so much devastation. It feels strange for me to be away at this time, almost like being away from your family at their time of need. It has forced me to realise that no matter what happens, Australia is, and always will be the place I call home.

I know for most this would go without saying – the country where you were born and lived your entire life, would naturally be the country you would call home. For the vast majority of my life I would have agreed. However, after September 11th that all changed. Its difficult to truly feel at home when you don’t feel welcome. When your government seems to go against everything you believe in, when you are regularly told to go back to where you came from, and when you constantly hear stories of those like you, Muslimah’s in hijab, being abused, both verbally and physically, merely for their attempts to live their lives modestly and piously.

I have always known that some people hate Muslims, that has never been in doubt. But occasionally, when I hear or read the opinions of not only one or two people, but sometimes that of the majority…I am truly in shock. I sometimes find myself walking in the streets and shopping centres, looking around and wondering how many passers by despise me just because I am Muslim.

Its not that I ever stopped thinking of Australia as my home, but it wasn’t quite the same. Like many other thousands of other Muslims in Australia, whether we are migrants, born here, or our families have been here for generations – we have all been made to feel unwelcome.

However, news of the bush fires, and the desire to return home in our hour of need has made me realise that despite everything, despite what anybody thinks and feels about me, Australia will always be the place I call home.

Beyond the ashes there is hope. Hope that we can put our differences aside and try to make life that little bit easier for those mourning the loss of loved ones. Hope that we can put our differences aside and unite to help the thousands left homeless. And hope that we can unite to do everything in our power to plan and prepare to try to avoid this scale of destruction from ever occuring again.

Let not the deaths be in vain. Not only do we need to review our fire procedures and learn from what has occured, but also this is an opportunity to become a pivotal moment in our history and to learn to put our difference aside to work together for a greater cause.

I hope that through this ordeal, others who may have previously viewed us with disdain, will come to realise that we are humans, and like them we have also shed a tear for those who have lost their lives and those who have lost their homes. We have been just as affected and touched by the current events as the next person, and just as both individuals and community groups in Australia have pulled together to donate and help in whatever way they can, so too has the Muslim community within Australia.

The Prophet (may Allah’s peace & blessings be upon him) said, “The most beloved people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to the people.” Let us be among those who are the most beloved to Allah, and hopefully our attempts to fulfil our Islamic obligations will help the wider community realise that Islam and Muslims are not the enemy.

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4 responses to “Home is Where the Fires Are

  1. You admitted that you go out and look at other people wondering what mean thoughts they are thinking of you because you’re Musilm. Do you think that type of attitude is going to make people like you or push you away for being so judgmental of them?

  2. Whenever this has happened it has been after a particular episodes where I was met with the realisation that more people than I realise have so much hatred and negativity towards us. I don’t sit there starring at individuals thinking of how much they must hate me, but I notice all the people around me and wonder how many of them would feel this way. I don’t do it to win any brownie points, nor is it a calculated act that I enjoy doing. It is just a human response and reaction to a specific situation. Either way I don’t look at people badly, nor am I judging anybody, just feeling sadness that people would feel this way about me for absolutely no reason. I fail to see how this would make them “push me away”, if they feel this way they did from the start, my private thoughts of sadness would have no bearing on this.

  3. it is true that humanity struggles with seeing all people of a certain religion as being the same. it is also true that some people realize there are differences amongst those who ascribe to one religion. living between those truths is a task of courage. and is sometimes isolating. thank you for sharing your heart here. you have a gentle voice.

  4. Thank you for your comment and support.

    I agree, I find that there are 2 factors that are involved here, firstly the fear of the unknown comes into play. Most people when they get to know the ‘unknown’ realise that its not quite as scary as they initially thought. Then we have the role the media play and the islamophobic position they generally take. Coupled together I can almost understand why people feel the way they do, but I do wish they would keep a more open mind about things. I really appreciate those who do keep an open mind, sometimes people ask questions, and I always really appreciate that they have bothered to find out the truth rather than judge me based on rumours or assumptions.

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