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The Irony of getting Stoned!

By Gardenia Zuniga-Haro

Have you ever been attacked for your religious beliefs?
Do you constantly have to defend your moral as a person or be on guard of any possible attack?

I, unfortunately, have been under attack lately for who I am what-what I believe in!

I knew that becoming a Muslim woman will be a topic of discussion within my family and possibly persecuted by those who think "My life is in DANGER", however it's not. People think Muslim women get stoned however when people constantly question me; they are the ones who are, "STONING ME!"

You were probably thinking this article will be of another method of getting stoned right?
Sorry to disappoint you but I am going into a different method of getting stoned.

Ignorance is one stone!
Judgment is another one!
Islamophobia is a HEAVIER stone!

The list can continue but these are the ones I have been getting stoned by recently without giving anyone a reason to other than who I believe it and what I stand for.

I had been asked if I am a member of "ISIS" by a few family members yet I don't post any harm to anyone including them.
Why ask? What gives? I don't judge you on your weekend hungover Snapchats when you are supposed to be at Sunday mass...right?!

See I grew up in religion based on my family. My grandparents raised me in Mexico where I was baptized under the Catholic church before I could crawl. I grew up attending Sunday mass and witnessing a religious volunteer reenacting Jesus Crucifixion on Easter Sunday! I still can't get the image out of my head when the poor guy literally got crucified in front of everyone and bleed till sundown.

What for? Didn't Jesus died for our sins a long time ago so why do it again?

 I never understood why they did that or why did they make me drink "Holy" water every time I said something inappropriate. I was a child, how should I know. I never understood why women had to be a "virgin" until marriage when most of my cousins had gone around the corner before walking down the isle.

As I got older and migrated back to California with my mother I was introduced to the Apostolic religions. A.K.A. Christianity.

I was a bit confused why both Catholics and Christians claimed to be the true religion or faith. I thought Jesus Christ was from the middle east. Well, that what I learned during Sunday school.

I grew up wanting to be "FREE" but couldn't because every time I spoke, if it wasn't "Christian" like; I got punished. I got kicked out of the "praise team", what I called choir. I got chewed up by the pastor's wife with vulgar comments because she thought I was going to be a "whore" just because I got along with the boys. Oh, the judgment! If she knew that I actually saved myself till I was an adult and that I am almost 27 years old and still not a "whore".

I have read the Bible, actually, I still have my first Bible in my room. Even though I am Muslim, I treasure it. See, I might not approve in all of Christianities rules but that doesn't make me hate them nor judge them. Who am I to do such thing?

I tried to avoid Sundays because the moment I had expressed my mother I wanted to convert to Islam, the stoning began. I am not going to bad mouth her but it was hell. Every Sunday the pastor or ministers will try to force me to speak in tounges and press their hand hard onto my forehead like if they had healing powers to get my Islam desire out of my head. That was wrong but I was a minor and had to "obey".

As I developed into a teenager, I began to read the Quran in secret from my mother. I practiced prayer and when I got caught,  I was forced to get baptized in the name of "Jesus Christ" by the pastor of our church. I wasn't ready nor did I want to get baptize.
My father came to my baptism since my mother made him but I will never forget him saying to me after I had been submerged in the waters, "You were always Muslim."

I grew up counting the days to become an adult but at 17, I moved out into my own world. A few struggles here and there but I never lost faith in any way. Once I was educated enough on Islam I made the decision to convert. No one hit me to become Muslim nor submerged me into waters and made me cry in a language no one understands. It was perfect and an intimate conversion in which my father was present.

Flash forward a few years later and I am stronger in my faith. I had quite a few stones coming from family members who think they are "right" when it comes to their judgment of my faith. I had a few friends who made fun of me for fasting during Ramadan and I had a few heartbreaks from men who I thought will understand me but I was wrong.

Islam is about peace and when my life was chaotic with sickness, heartbreak, and survival; I found peace.

I understand why people can be Islamophobic, there is so much crap on TV and on the web in which Muslims are always the bad guys. You know, I saw bad guys who were of "higher" power in the Catholic and Christian church and did not make me judge them.

Every tree has a bad apple, right? So then why judge the entire harvest and burn the new apples that are developing in the branches of the tree.

Just because we had ignorance over flowing in the air doesn't mean we have to absorb it and use the "Islamophobia" repellent. We should unite like the Quran indicates and practice peace within each other.

  I no longer want to get stoned but I want to be respected as a Muslim woman!

Oh the Irony!


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