I wanted my fellow nonMuslims to know my perspective on the recent world conflicts and about being a Muslim and I couldn't have said it better about how I feel than Brother Ali Shehata did. To read more of this post, go here.

This is just a snippet of how I feel.

“I sincerely want you to know that my religion, Islam, does not encourage violence. In fact, it specifically speaks AGAINST the killing of innocent people. It encourages forgiveness and the peaceful resolution of conflicts, be they interpersonal or international. I hope that you have seen this trend in my character, even though I know I am far from perfect and have much to improve in myself. I don’t have hate in my heart, even for those that have used their power to hurt others around them. I pray for justice for the people of our world, and I pray for peace as well.

I wish you could know how sorry I am that a small group of people have distorted all that is good in my religion by using it as a call for terror and bloodshed. I am sorry that these misguided people have caused harm to my fellow countrymen and women. I feel the same way that many of you might feel when you read about the atrocities committed against the Native Americans or the African Slaves by our ancestors in this country. The fact that Americans did these terrible things doesn’t take away from the good that America stands for. It just means that sometimes people can go very far astray from the principles they seek to represent. Nonetheless, I still feel sorry that these things are being done in the name of Islam and I wish that I could stop them from happening.

I know that no matter what I may say, there will still be those who will not like me because I have chosen, with my intellect and my heart, to follow Islam. This will not stop me though from extending my hand and my heart in friendship to those around me who need care. It will not stop me from trying my best to be a good citizen of America and the world. It will not stop me from working tirelessly to prevent those whom I can reach from turning to extremism. And it will not lead me to hate in return.” -Ali Shehata


1. When you were 1 year old, she fed you and bathed you. You thanked her by crying all night.

2. When you were 2 years old, she taught you to walk. You thanked her by running away when she called.

3. When you were 3 years old, she made all your meals with love. You thanked her by tossing your plate on the floor.

4. When you were 4 years old, she gave you some crayons. You thanked her by colouring the dining room table.

5. When you were 5 years old, she dressed you for the holidays. You thanked her by leaping into the nearest pile of mud.

6. When you were six years old, she walked you into school. You thanked her by screaming, ‘I’M NOT GOING!’

7. When you were 7 years old, she bought you a baseball. You thanked her by throwing it through the next-door-neighbour window.

8. When you were 8 years old, she handed you an ice-cream. You thanked her by dripping it all over your lap.

9. When you were 9 years old, she paid for piano lessons. You thanked her by never even bothering to practise it.

10. When you were 10 years old, she drove you all day, from soccer to gymnastics to one birthday party after another. You thanked her by jumping out of the car and never looking back.

11. When you were 11 years old, she took you and your friends to the movies. You thanked her by asking to sit in the different row.

12. When you were 12 years old, she warned you not to watch certain TV shows. You thanked her by waiting until she left the house.

13. When you were 13, she suggested a haircut that was becoming. You thanked her by telling her she had no taste.

14. When you were 14, she paid for a month away at summer camp. You thanked her by forgetting to write a single letter.

15. When you were 15, she came home from work, looking for a hug. You thanked her by having your bedroom door locked.

16. When you were 16, she taught you how to drive her car. You thanked her by taking it every chance you could.

17. When you were 17, she was expecting an important phone call. You thanked her by being on the phone all night.

18. When you were 18, she cried at your school graduation. You thanked her by staying out partying until dawn.

19. When you were 19, she paid for your college tuition, drove you to campus, and carried your bags. You thanked her by saying good-bye outside the dorm so you wouldn’t be embarrassed in front of your friends.

20. When you were 20, she asked whether you were seeing anyone. You thanked her by saying, ‘It’s none of your business.’

21. When you were 21, she suggested certain careers for your future. You thanked her by saying, ‘I don’t want to be like you.’

22. When you were 22, she hugged you at your college graduation. You thanked her by asking when she would be out of the house so you can call your friends over.

23. When you were 23, she gave you furniture for your first apartment. You thanked her by telling your friend it was ugly.

24. When you were 24, she met your fiancĂ© and asked about your plans for the future. You thanked her by staring and growling, ‘Muuhh-ther, please!’

25. When you were 25, she helped to pay for your wedding, and she cried and told how deeply she loved you. You thanked her by moving halfway across the country.

26. When you were 30, she called with some advice on the baby. You thanked her by telling her, ‘Things are different now.’

27. When you were 40, she called to remind you of a relative’s birthday. You thanked her by saying you were ‘really busy right now.’

28. When you were 50, she fell ill and needed you to take care of her. You thanked her by reading about the burden parents become to their children.

29. And then, one day, she quietly died. And everything you never did came down like thunder on your heart.

Glaciers have melted from too many tears
The sea that pretends it calmness
Deceives us when we get near
The pond in the backyard is color clear

The clouds have tossed from time to time
Uncomfortable with what is going on

Afar in the horizon the tears of mothers have gone
Blended with the soil to pass through the flowers as dew

The doves that used to gather at the center of town
Deserted us and flew
The eagle that used to soar perpendicularly with the sun rays at noon
Is ashamed to return

The wind that’s been carrying the wailing of the dead souls
Has reached its peak whistling and beating at every door
To awaken the dead conscious of the many

The ghosts, the unseen spirits, the jinn
Are outraged by the injustices of the US

And you Obama have not lifted a hand
From all the injustices that is going on in your land
The people have been oppressed under your rule
Their mother’s hearts have been ripped and undressed
The scene is surreal
Their voices are echoed beyond the hills
Their screams at night have caused the church bills
To quiver
And the lakes, the ponds and the rivers
To shiver

And yet Obama you have not lifted a hand

Does our soul come from a different creator?
A different species when we bleed we don’t feel?
Are our tears made from a different substance?
Or are our tears the same tears as human tears

Obama we have pleaded for you to stop the oppressors
To stop the shredding of mother’s hearts with scissors

Too many games are being played under your rule
Do not turn your head… take the time to listen
To the whispers of the oppressed

Sedentary one’s heart has become
From the burden and blows of life

Life could just be a dream of the dead

Reincarnated faces walk with all their might
Hitler, Stalin coming back to life
In the form of …the FBI
New faces come to replace the old

With the same….substance

©Laila Yaghi©