Hi there joonies, this post was sent to us during the week of the Boston Marathon bombings.
This week has been hard for me as an Iranian American and as a Muslim. It was hard because of an incomprehensible attack in Boston, which made me and many others nervously hope wasn’t related to the peaceful religion we practice at home. It was hard because there was another earthquake in Iran, affecting the poorest in the country, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to help in any way because the sanctions imposed to limit the Iranian government’s nuclear activity have actually blocked the transfer of much-needed humanitarian items like food and medicine. But like all people everywhere, I’m a little bit selfish, and it hurt the most because I broke up with my boyfriend, whom I love, over ambiguous and big words like culture, values, and lifestyle.
My now ex-boyfriend is Hindu. I am Muslim. (Cue all past and future Bollywood movie plotlines ever.)
I am not South Asian, so I don’t think I can ever fully understand the antagonism between Hindus and Muslims, or between almost any two religions in that subcontinent for that matter. I suppose I am Shi’a, but my parents immigrated from a predominantly Shi’a country, so I cannot even claim to fully understand the Shi’a-Sunni conflict, although I joke with my Sunni friends that they’re just oppressing me whenever we argue over something.
Interracial and interfaith relationships are always interesting, but they have their own special significance when it comes to first-generation Americans. Being raised with a culture and often religion that is not predominant in the country our parents immigrated to, and which we now call home, we feel the enormous responsibility to be the keepers of traditions near to our own hearts. Traditions, which we feel are often at stake of being lost in this darn Westernization our parents always referred to when we were growing up.The languages in which our parents told us fairy tales, the foods we grew up eating and still haven’t mastered to cook, and the community we are scared of being exiled from when we lose the things we can’t quite put our fingers on.