My family and I immigrated to the suburbs of Dallas-Fort Worth, TX nearly 16 years ago. Since then, not a day passes that we aren’t reminded just how Muslim we are. I’m not even talking about the incessant staring in Walmarts or TSA assaults at the DFW airport or Islamophobic remarks at Six Flags — nope. They say everything’s big in Texas… Even our Islamophobia.
So, here are 10 things that just might happen, should you decide to live in the Lone Star State:
1. You could potentially get arrested for bringing an invention to school!
2. Your city mayor just might be a self-proclaimed “anti-sharia crusader.” If you’re lucky. I’m looking at you, Irving.
3. Good ole “anti-jihadist” Pam Geller might probably organize a super-inclusive Draw Prophet Muhammad Day in your city, and call it “standing up for free speech.”
4. There might be a super neat Islamophobic rally in the streets of your town to SUPPORT anti-Palestinian* legislation sponsored by your own state senators!
*Bonus if you’re a Palestinian-Muslim living in Texas.
5. The awesome #JeSuisCharlie residents of your town might organize a “Stand with Free Speech” rally outside of a “Stand with the Prophet” conference against hate and bigotry. We’re really big proponents of free speech here in Texas, y’all!!
6. The super hard-at-work Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller, could potentially post something delightfully Islamophobic on his Facebook page.
7. A really fun and witty resident of your county just might hold pig races to celebrate your non-pork-consuming faith!
8. Your extremely proactive and inclusive state representatives could possibly actually push hard for an anti-sharia law (you know, because all our school districts are super well-funded, and our healthcare is the best in the country.)
9. Another state representative, Molly White, might post an amazingly baffling, wildly Islamophobic public jab at the Muslim citizens of the state that employed her! You know, the same Muslim citizens that pay taxes towards her salary.
10. There juuuuuuuuust might be an anti-Islam protest around, but it you’re really lucky, it’ll be right outside the Capitol Building on Texas Muslim Capitol Day! It’s that southern hospitality, y’all.
(Tony Gutierrez, Yahoo News)
You just gotta love the Lone Star State! And guess what? The fun doesn’t just stop with us Muslims. Black people, Mexicans, and the LGBT community are also feeling the love.
But in all seriousness…
In 1990, there were 140,000+ recorded Muslim residents in Texas. That was 26 years ago. There are thousands upon thousands of us Muslim-Texans that call this state home — despite the hardships we face, despite the blatant discrimination and hurtful intolerance. It’s way past time that our government and our community begin treating us like we belong. Maybe starting with our children in schools, and one day extending to our places of peaceful worship.
Featured image courtesy of Eric Gay/Associated Press