What I feed my mind…influences what I see.
I remember back in 2001; when the twin towers came down.
I knew absolutely nothing about Islam. I did not know one single person (or was at least aware of one single person) in my life who practiced the Muslim Faith.
Being totally honest…I am not sure I even knew that being Muslim had anything to do with religion. I think I thought it was more related to being from a certain part of the world..an ethnicity.
The news reports that followed were filled with terrifying stories. I was struck in particular by the information being shared regarding women in certain parts of the world. I was at that time under the impression that the entire Muslim Community held women in absolute contempt.
Since that time and since founding Red Boot in particular I’ve come to understand that being Muslim means different “things” to the many different people who practice it…kind of like being Christian or being Jewish…there are many multiple ways each religion shows up in the Individual lives of the people who practice them.
Some practice it in a more traditional way…others are more liberal in their approach. And of course there are the extremes…
I used to not understand the hijab. Based on the news I read and the stories I heard back in 2001 I saw it as a symbol of oppression.
After listening to the stories of many Muslim women (many who are now my friends!) I have since come to see the hijab as something Muslim women wear for a variety of reasons.
I trust my sisters and know that they…like all of us…are on their own journeys and writing their own stories. My Muslim friends do or do not wear the hijab for any number of reasons.
So had I seen this photo in 2001, I might’ve had a strong negative reaction.
Today I have a strong reaction; but it’s one that fills my heart…one of wonder and curiosity and the desire to hear the stories of these women…to celebrate them as women and athletes…as Christian and Muslim…and as human beings each with their own set of struggles and joys.
I mean come on…can you imagine how amazing a conversation with the two of them, over coffee or tea might be?
I love all my sisters and brothers.
I love you all.