Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

My oldest child is taking horseback riding lessons. He and I both passionately love horses. We are having a great time, and he also has made friends with a little girl in his class.

He absolutely loves this little girl. I love the little girl. I met her parents and they are ok. In my previous life, before I got serious about Islam, before I came to Qatar I guess you could say, I would have no reservations about letting him socialize with her, about myself socializing with them.

But now, I do, and I feel like such a goon for even feeling this reservation. I hesitate to socialize with them because we don't share some important core values (they're American, aren't Muslim). On the one hand I feel totally justified and like I'm correct; on the other hand, I am like, "what harm can it do?" We have to face the "outside world" someday, right? I can't live in this bubble, away from America, away from everything I used to know, forever, right? But then again, it's my duty as his mother to protect him from influences I disapprove of. They celebrate Christmas. We don't anymore. My son remembers our life "before", when I was still Catholic. It's been really hard for him. He misses America (which he equates synonymously with those old Christian traditions), so much.

They want to invite us to a "solstice party". Omigawwwwd, it's a pagan party! I used to be so flexible about this stuff, now I'm totally mortified. No way.

Other issues can arise here too; It's extremely possible that they consume alcohol, which is totally not something I need to be around, let alone for my kids to see (uh, can we say inappropriate modeling?). It's ok for them; they aren't muslim. But I am, and man I really don't need that temptation put in my face.

Oh, I am so sick over this. I hate hate hate to make bad impressions on people, I hate it if someone doesn't like me, getting rejected is one of the most difficult things for me to take. But I have to stand my ground on this one. The possibility of a relationship with them hurting me and my kids spiritually is potentially too great.

Man, I'm such a prude! But all for the sake of Allah....If God is happy with me, then I suppose I can handle the rejection.

Maybe we could invite them over to our place. Then we would be more in control of the situation......Hmmm what do you guys think?

Oh, what I am going to do when we visit the states the next time? I think I will be in serious culture shock. Both sides of our families drink alcohol. It will be their first time seeing me like this, absolutely no alcohol, wearing hijab, etc. Ohhhh, and the food there won't be halaal. It's not only not halaal, most meat in the states also isn't Tayyib ("pure", basically means it's not organically grown). So I'll be "vegetarian" effectually while I'm in the states. My third-generation-of-German-butchers family on my mother's side will really understand!

We probably will go back this summer, as long as Bush isn't putting all of the muslim Americans in concentration camps or something by then! So, I have some time to mentally prepare myself for going back.


madcapmum said...

What if you told them that you folks are really strict about religious observance, but you appreciate their offer of friendship and would they be willing to visit you?

In the little community I used to live in, we were surrounded by extreme Catholics, who wouldn't let their children play with ours because we let our kids watch "Veggie Tales". It didn't bring me any closer to God. I think both Islam and Christianity have a long-tradition of hospitality towards outsiders.

Rockin' Hejabi said...

Yeah, thanks Madcap, good thoughts! Unity is always better than division I think.

Rockin' Hejabi said...

Veggie Tales!

We love Veggie Tales!

Our kids watch them even though we're "muslim". It's not really that overtly Christian.

..wow, ultra-conservative not to think that's ok.

madcapmum said...

They were a strange bunch. Their kids weren't allowed to watch or reading anything that wasn't "real". (Talking vegetables.) HOWEVER, when they started making Catholic evangelization tapes, they used a talking cat character. Suddenly pretend was okay. Go figger, huh?

ohthatdeb said...

I think it would absolutely be easier to feel out the friendship if you invited them over to your house. They would see your family culture and it would be easier to talk about some of your concerns. If they can't understand your perspective of trying to raise your children carefully according to your beliefs, then the friendship wouldn't work out anyway, yes? Just a thought.

Carissa said...

What did you decide?

Rockin' Hejabi said...

We decided to hang with them at a neighborhood park we all like to go to.

Haven't done it yet as my kids have been taking turns being ill, but hopefully since I'm on my winter break now there will be time and wellness enough to meet with them!

I'll keep y'all posted!