Meet a Muslim   (Allah ki Bandi) 

Allah Ki Bandi (Moina Shaiq)

 We are very conditioned to think that Muslim women don’t have much rights like  women from other religion ,it may be true or may be not, so I wanted to see it up close and witness it all by myself.I firmly decided to meet a muslim woman whose  face is very familiar around here in the Bay Area,seen her on TV and in  Newspaper, but wanted to experience what it is like to see/talk to her?!  Meeting a muslim isn’t a rare thing for us Indians because we are raised with them,they are one amongst us ,but meeting a pakistani muslim I felt will be a unique experience.
 
After reading the book ‘Malala’ from my son’s school and I was surprised that Muslim women are not that oppressed,they have all rights and we are often  confused about them ,right at that moment Moina’s face flashed on the TV,she was  igniting a big change ,truly making a difference by inviting people for open  conversation about Islam.I saw a spark ,a light in her confident face. I jotted my own set of questions ,went to Suju’s Coffee at Stevenson Boulevard,Fremont on April 5thto meet her,but before diving into the episode,we must know a little about Moina which will help us understand her intentions better.

            

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About Moina:    

Moina Shaiq is from Pakistan and has been living here in Fremont for about 33  years and in the year ​ 2005 she founded Muslim Support Network and has served as  its president ever since ,her organization is dedicated to improving the health and  well­being of Muslim elders, such as the homebound, those who encounter  language and cultural barriers, lack transportation or finances and suffer from both  physical and mental health issues.Moina Shaiq is also an active member of the  Tri­Cities Interfaith Council and Alameda County Human Relations Commission.  

San Bernardino shootings that happened in California ,blaming innocent Muslims, looking at them with doubt and fear inspired her to host these coffee shop meetings  to have open conversations with Muslims, and inviting people to handshake with them, especially for  those who had never met a Muslim person.Moina has been receiving very  friendly, respectful questions on Islam,Jihad and Quran, and is keen on hosting  more such events to bring a Change.Moina and her team’s honest initiatives are much appreciated by the audience and I could see that she is the epitome of ‘Be the  change’. 

 Moina’s Meet a Muslim marks a significant episode in the Women Rising in  Leadership. The social person in me also wanted to make new friends and I made one ,although it was a brief talk ,the new friend Shamsa Rafay was a very  aspirational woman ,we talked about our Cricket teams and I made sure to tell  her the crux of the Bollywood flick Bajrangi Bhaijaan!
 
Shamsa Rafay also has been appreciated for her Excellence in Human  Relations(Contributions preserving human rights and fostering mutual  respect for all people who live and work in alameda county)  
My husband I slurped up all the coffee with so much satisfaction and clarity,took pictures,exchanged ‘Byes’ ,buckled up back home and treasured the take  away ‘Holy Quran’. Meet a muslim episode was very awakening  to me , separated facts from fiction and fears ,also reaffirmed that Muslims are strongly against any kind of terrorist activities,the  gathering also reinforced that the Muslims or actually nobody needs to ‘fit in’  and wait for somebody’s approval to be accepted,all we need to do is embrace  our true self and understand the importance of difference(diversity) and never  feel bad or left discriminated for being judged but stand up for ourselves and  others.

 Tell us,write to us ,about your conversations with Muslim friends,until then Assalam­o­ Alaikum and May peace be with us all.


References and Resources :

http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Lively-Meet-a-Muslim-events-seek-to-break-down-6814176.php
http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_29414625/fremont-woman-hosts-meet-muslim-event