I’m not Muslim and neither were my parents or grandparents or many-greats-grandparents. That’s why I belong to this tribe rather than that one. It’s a big deal, though. For about three years I’ve researched my family’s ancestry. I’ve been able to trace one bloodline all the way back to 10th century Scotland. Those folk were Christian and so were all the other people from France, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Spain, Denmark, and Hungary who made choices that eventually led to me. I’ve had my DNA tested and except for a smidgen from South Asia, my genes are European. Coming from the people I come from there wasn’t a chance in hell for my parents to bring me up in a Moslem country to follow the tenets of Islam.
I don’t take credit for not being Muslim. I could have, as an adult, moved to Iran or someplace and converted to Islam. I also could have married twelve times, cut off my thumbs, or built my house under a volcano. I’m sure you aren’t surprised to learn that I didn’t do those things. No. My choices and my culture have stayed fairly cozy. I started out life as Bob and Ditty’s daughter, born in Richmond County, Staten Island, New York. That’s where my parents, grandparents, and greatgrandparents met. I can barely stand to consider how many gazillion twists of fate had to happen in the lives of all my ancestors for me to be born me: a complete set of chromosones, white skin, brown eyes, no systemic handicaps, and culturally, at least, Christian. Fantastic to think about, really. Each one of us, alive as ourselves, because so and so did this and another so and so did that, back down the centuries. I humbly submit that it’s high time we got beyond “not my tribe” intolerance. You didn’t choose which tribe you belong to any more than I chose mine. Fabulous, hum-drum, skulking in the swamplands, here we are. So let’s figure it out.
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