Stage 4 Interview
Intercultural Communication 371
August 4, 2013
Stage 4 Interview
A few weeks ago me; along with my group had the privilege of visiting a Mosque in the Clairemont area of San Diego, California. There, we were greeted with open arms by several very nice, humble and informative men. These people consisted of men and woman that belong to the Muslim religion, specifically the Ahmadiyya sect. They were generous in offering us food and drink. We expressed our need and want to sit, talk and learn more about the Muslim religion without any bias or judgment and they happily obliged. We were seated at a table with about ten men or so and asked not to speak or go near any of the woman. In a Muslim Mosque it is practiced that men and woman are separated so that one’s complete mind can be in total meditation of Allah, their God. After, eating and some small talk of getting to know one another, we were all taken into a room where we sat on the floor in a huge circle and there, is where we had the opportunity to have one-on-one interviews; a complete access to all of the questions that we were patiently waiting to ask. There, I sat next to a man named Shoaib; he was dressed in all white and was wearing a taqiyah, a Muslim hat used for religious purposes. He had short black hair with a goatee. He seemed like a quiet man and as I began talking with him he opened up more and more and I was shocked at what he shared with me. I learned that he like myself was twenty-six years old. He was born and raised in Pakistan and was here living in the United States going to grad school at the University of San Diego. He had an interesting story to tell and it all began back in Pakistan, where he was from. Shoaib was a quiet natured boy who has known no other religion except the Muslim religion his entire life. He is a part of the Ahmadiyya sect, within the Muslim religion. That is the same as saying someone is Christian but they identify or belong to a Catholic church. He said that back in his home land; laws and religion play a huge part of society and cultural norms. There is no separation of church and state like the United States. He explained to me in depth about the differences in his sect and everyone else’s. He told me that because the Ahmadiyyas believe Jesus to be a prophet and that the second coming has already happened, that many other sects do not consider them a true practice of the Muslim community. The Ahmadiyyas believe in love, peace and harmony, after September 11, 2001 there have been many misconceptions about the Muslim community as a whole and the idea or notion that all Muslims are terrorists out to attack America could not be further from the truth. Shoaib told me about how much his sect is hated within the Muslim community around the world. He explained how there was a law enacted within the Pakistani an constitution in the seventies which states that the Ahmiddiyyas are not to be considered Muslim all because of their belief that the second coming has already happened. This law has created and sparked much controversy with Pakistan because it singles out and eliminates people from certain human rights and freedoms. The twenty-six year old then began to tell me of a story about his grandfather and why he came to live in America. On a Friday evening, about three years ago him and his grandfather along with several other Ahmadiyyas were meditating and gathering at a Mosque in Pakistan when out of nowhere and without warning seven men armed and hooded pushed their way through security and shot up their Mosque and began chanting, yelling and killing. After the horrific incident was over, five men lay dead one included Shoabi’s grandfather. When I asked why this had happened and what he did about it. He said because the Ahmadiyyas are the most hated sect in the whole Muslim community and all we did was call the cops. We captured two men but did not harm them, because we Ahmadiyyas believe in harmony and peace. Revenge is not in our vocabulary and the very next Friday them along with many more others were back in prayer and meditation, right where his grandfather and other Ahmadiyya believers were slain down just a week prior. Shoabi, said he was shaken up and terrified but that his faith and belief in Allah has carried his through. He went on to tell me that he then moved to America and here is where he found some sort of solitude and comfort. He explained that though most other Muslims dislike him because he is Ahmadiyya that it was much easier here in the states to be that Ahmadiyyian rather than back in Pakistan, there if anyone proclaims to be Ahmadiyya they get an automatic three year prison sentence. Shoabi proved to be among one of the most interesting people that I have ever had the privilege to meet or interview. He was kind, gentle and open in his experiences and what he believed. That night our group visited the Ahmadiyya Mosque was not only an eye opening experience but allowed me to become a little more open minded and kill some of my own ignorance and misconception I had about the Muslim community.