Just the other day I was driving to my aunt's house with my mom in the passenger side of the car, both of us dressed in Islamic garb. Little did I know there were two American teenagers in the neighboring car driving alongside us shaking their heads, as if they were scolding a naughty child by saying "tsk tsk, you should know better than that."
My mom's immediate reaction was "Shamira, go into the other lane! Let's move away from these people. They are shaking their heads at the way we're dressed." While respectfully changing lanes, my immediate thought was "Well, why not shake our heads back at them? I mean, must we be fearful of others' ignorance?" I actually felt sorry for them and I recalled a short interview I had seen the day before about a Jewish teenager who based his ideas and opinions about Muslims solely on the news and propaganda he received from the media. After he accepted Islam, however, he saw Islam and Muslims in a totally different light.
Thus, I entertained hope for the teenagers in the car next to us...that one day they will be able to wean themselves off the spoiled milk of the tainted media, and be able to expand their minds and hearts to see the beauty of true Islam through deep introspection, reflection and action.
Life is too short...we need more love and understanding in this world, less shaking of heads in anger and hate, less wagging of tails to the injustice being perpetrated throughout the world, and more reaching out and working together for social justice and the greater good.