A Christian from a Muslim Country

Islam. It is a word that conjures up many images.

And in a country such as the US, my new home, it brings up more negative opinions and feelings than positive today. Naturally so, since it is difficult to remain politically correct when the former has been waging war against two Muslim regimes in the last few years.

When people ask me where I'm from and I tell them, my response draws more disappointing blanks than I'd ever imagined. Most Americans do not know where Malaysia is, even when I use the "Petronas Twin Towers" card, which was supposedly our crowning glory.

Many have asked where our home country is and my usual explanation is "it's near Singapore/Thailand". Most are surprised we speak "excellent English".

However, all I've met are shocked that a Chinese Christian girl named Jennifer, with daughters named Raeven and Skyler, are all born and bred in a Muslim country.

"Is that normal?" I've been asked once.

It is the breaking of such preconceived notions that I enjoy most when exchanging stories with my newfound American friends, most of whom think Islam is but a Middle-Eastern religion in oppressive, backward regimes, where no other religion dares take root, much less make disciples of in the millions.

Except for the Philippines, my American friends know no other country in Southeast Asia that embraces Christianity and other faiths. Needless to say, the fact that Malaysia is a multi-cultural, multi-religion country is news to them.

So I have another positive point to add to my list of Good Things that I have going for me in Seattle: that I can spread the word to Americans about my beloved country.

That although we are a Muslim country, Malaysia is so much more than just Islam and religion.

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1 Comment »

  1. Kelantan Gal said

    You will start to find that many Americans are ignorant of the world outside of the U.S. They simply have not had to learn about other countries because of their super-economy/power bully status. We probably know more about their Boston Tea Party than they care to write in their own textbooks.

    Sad and scary.

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