A Religion's Vision

Walking down the street, my mind as clear as the baby blue sky,

"Hey, look at that girl, she's one of them!" says one angry, aggressive guy

Now my mind is not clear, it is far from pristine,

something called discrimination polluted it, it is now beginning to scream

I know my headscarf is unique, different, standing out in their curious, weary eyes

I know that everyone's watching me, listening, thinking, about those violent, prejudiced lies

one breath, two breaths, I shut my eyes and count to ten

because being ashamed of who I am will never happen, never again

I think of my past, my present, my future and my choices

I think of why I am who I am today, how I've allowed only the closest voices

I think of previous Muslims, how they made sacrifices to follow what they wanted

I think of my parents, how they would chide me for straying away from myself, I’m haunted

For there is no one else I would rather be,

But the opinions of others are whispering, luring, dragging me

And I plead and I tug and I howl, “You know nothing about me, my life, my religion!”

Because if there is one thing I cannot live without, it is my religion’s message, its vision

Being a Muslim is more than a commitment to believing in God and praying

It is a promise, a lifestyle, that you will be better, more caring, with no delaying

At the root of the discrimination is one thing, the stubborn ignorance, like a villain from a story

Those who possess it refuse to see a religion in which charity and peace is mandatory

I open my eyes and take another deep breath, turning to stare at that rude, red-faced man and I say

“Yes, I am Muslim, and if you have any questions please ask so I can answer straightaway.”

He sputters, stutters, shaking his head, his face contorting from anger to surprise to confusion

“You didn’t react as I thought you would,” he states, as though I possessed violence in profusion

I reply, “I am a Muslim, I’ve made a promise to be a better person, especially the bigger person.”

He nods and walks away, and I notice that my fear of discrimination does not worsen

It actually begins to fade away, retreating like smoke and I know, deep inside my heart

I cannot live without my religion, because it encourages me to be my best and do my part

This poem is about: 
Me
My community
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

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