Lack of knowledge actually leads to many negative things in life, but my main concern for this post is racism. Religion racism to be exact.
I am a Christian that was born and raised in a Qatar, a Muslim country. The amount of racism I got growing up was crazy. I remember ever since the age of 9 little girls my age and a bit older would come and ask when I will convert to Islam. I use to always tell them I would never change my religion and their response would always be “but then you will go to hell because only Muslims go to heaven”. As a child you could imagine how terrifying that was, but eventually I got use to it and learned to ignore it.
Some kids would not talk to me when they found out I was of a different faith which was so hurtful as a child. I remember walking around malls with my cross on and people would just stare like I was an alien. Even once I was in an elevator at a big mall with my older sister and this little boy, he couldn’t be over the age of 6, nudged his sister and said “look kufar”. He didn’t think we were Arab so he didn’t know we would understand what he said.
As I grew older I realized that in the Islamic classes of public schools in Qatar, many teachers would refer to Christians as ‘Kufar’ which basically means non-believers of God, and people that did not believe in God would go to hell.
Getting so much hate because of my religion made me a stronger person.
Growing up in a very non-religious household, I didn’t know much about Christianity. Actually, I knew a lot more about Islam than Christianity, so I decided to research about my religion and read the bible. I attended a few Sunday school classes around the 5th grade as well as the 9th grade but I didn’t stay for long. I preferred learning on my own.
Those little children that use to mistreat me or make me feel very uncomfortable about who I was because of my religion were actually the ignition to me learning about Christianity. I’m actually glad I had racism around me because if it wasn’t for them I would not have wanted to learn about Christianity. At the age of 21, I still do get slight racism, but mainly I get lots of questions about Christianity, and I love it because I can educate people about it. Not in a way were I would want someone to convert to Christianity, no, but in a way that would make people more understanding and more acceptable of what is different from them.
After all, Islam and Christianity and incredibly alike. We believe in so many similar things, and when more people start to understand that, the less racism there will be.
I don’t want to change the world, but if I can educate a person about something they know very little about, then I have accomplished a big thing in life.