Loving Listening

Muslims are among the most patient of people -- we are among your best neighbors.

A Basic Hope for Education ...

Seemingly educated folks still ask me "Why do the Muslims fail to speak out against terrorism?" Starting summer 2014, I largely quit answering with a list of Muslim organizations that disclaim or refute terrorism. Likewise, I largely quit giving the statistics that demonstrate Muslims are less problematic than our population demographic.
Muslims are relentless in our calling to good and in our refuting evil. So, processing the incongruity between our worlds of information, my silent thoughts are "at what point do you take responsibility for your unwillingness to listen?"
ALLAAH is The Knower, The Listening.

A Basic Hope for Education ...

Seemingly educated folks still ask me "Why are Muslims the only religion bent on world domination?" Starting in the fall of 2014, I quit trying to defend. Rather, then, I ask "at what point do you take responsibility for projection?"
ALLAAH is The Knower, The Listening.

An Experiment in Loving Listening

For several years I have kept several "Pro-Muslim" bumper stickers on my car with my "ISLAM" personalized Texas automobile license plate. "The Muslim Mobile" is an experiment in listening to how folks choose to process a "Muslim Display". Here are the present displays:

left side
Ask ALLAAH for Guidance; To Understand Islam, Practice Islam; There will Always Be Muslims.
back side
God is not Jesus, Jesus is a Prophet; What say you 512-589-7148; There will Always Be Muslims; Jesus is Muslim; To understand Islam, practice Islam.
right side
God is not Jesus, Jesus is a Prophet; Jesus is Muslim; Ask ALLAAH for Guidance.

1500 miles in The Muslim Mobile

Loving Listening to non-verbal communication

In the Fall of 2014, our family drove up from Austin Texas to my mother's house near Niagara Falls. My wife and I kept track of the interactions with other cars. We felt that some interactions were linked to our having "Muslim Displays" on our car. That is, in the course of our drive, we had 6 folks go out of their way to let us know that they noticed "The Muslim Mobile".

    The positive interactions

  1. As we were about to leave Texas, I noticed a passenger behind us call the other passenger's attention to The Muslim Mobile. Next, she pointed her smartphone at us seemingly taking pictures. I waved to her and I saw her wave back in my rear view mirror.
  2. As we were about to leave Arkansas, a male senior citizen passed me on the left and slowed next to me. He gave a thumbs-up and speed back up to continue his original pace. As he moved beyond me, I smiled to see a veteran's decal in his back window.

    The negative interactions

  1. About noon on Saturday 2014/11/22, at mile 125 on Interstate Highway 30 between Dallas and Texarkana, a Red Toyota Corolla with license plate number DYR-1076 lurched his car towards our car almost side swiping me while he was passing on the right.

    Details: Shortly after passing this Red Toyota, I spotted him trailing not far behind me (still a safe distance). I was number 3 of 4 in a stack of cars slowing overtaking an 18 wheeler in the right lane. The lead car was on a trajectory to overtake the 18 wheeler in what seemed like 2 or 3 minutes. There was a large gap in front of the car in front of me. Abruptly, the Red Toyota punched it, passed us on the right, lurching at us when parallel with us, almost side swiping us during this passing. Once past us, he pulled in front of me with less than 2 car length between us. I slowed immediately and stayed away from him. Though, I did keep an eye on him. About 10 miles later, he had slowed down and we passed him. Being passed by The Muslim Mobile was seemingly too much for him, as he punched it and that was the last that we saw of him.

  2. About 4:38 PM on Saturday 2014/11/22, not more than 30 miles North Memphis on Interstate Highway 55, a Silver Lincoln with Tennessee license plate number RE4908 unnecessarily flipped his lights on and off.

    Details: He was driving 10 MPH below the speed of traffic and everyone was passing him on the right. I was part of a long parade of cars passing on his right. None of the 3 cars in front of me were flipped off by his lights. Neither of the pair of cars that I watched in my rear view mirror were flipped off by his lights. Only The Muslim Mobile was given special attention -- right after enough time to read the plate and stickers -- flashy flashy.

  3. About 7:30 AM on Sunday 2014/11/23, near Central City Kentucky on Interstate Highway 69 (also known as Western Kentucky Parkway), a 1980s Ford pick-up (a medley of paint colors and bondo body putty) with Kentucky license plate number 889-GLR drafted our car for about 20 or 30 miles.

    Details: After a few moments of this pick-up hanging 2 car lengths off my back bumper in the other lane, I kept an eye on his car. I gradually sped up 5 MPH and he kept 2 car lengths off my back bumper in the other lane. I gradually slowed down 5 MPH and he kept 2 car lengths off my bumper in the other lane. This is creepy. I gradually sped up 10 MPH and he kept 2 car lengths off my back bumper in the other lane. I gradually slowed down 10 MPH and he kept 2 car lengths off my back bumper in the other lane.

    There was no one in sight this Sunday morning for as far as I could see behind me or in front of me. Thought of the movie "Deliverance" made me laugh a little. Time for a real test: I dropped my manual transmission from 5th to 4th and took my foot off the gas for a rapid 10 MPH drop in speed. My rapid deceleration did not deter our pick-up from drafting us. Rather, he punched his breaks and kept 2 car lengths off my bumper in the other lane.

    Speed limit was 70 and when I tried to lose him at 80, he was still there. Fine. Then, I though, I will lose him by going extra slow. As my speed dropped below 50, he passed slowly. I thought about looking over at him while he passed, but thought looking may be provocative and unnecessary for this experiment. Better to keep my eyes on the road. Out of the corner of my eye I could see his window was rolled up and he was glaring at us and our car. If I had to do it over again, holding up my cell phone and gesturing for him to phone me, may have yielded a chance to hear what he had to say. Seemed for the next mile or so the pick-up was moving on to mind his own business.

    Sadly he did not move on.

    The pick-up slowed down just enough to let us pass him, and he again kept 2 car lengths off my bumper in the other lane. A patrol car shot by us at 10 MPH above the speed limit, and the pick-up had to slow down to leave a proper 2 second interval when he pulled in behind us to let the patrol car pass. Interestingly, Kentucky has patrol cars that are not general purpose patrol car. Rather, this patrol car markings on its door panel said something like "traffic law enforcement vehicle" -- seemingly limited in scope.

    Shortly after that the pick-up passed us, the pick-up would match our speed, staying 1000 or 2000 feet ahead of us. This accordion behavior went on for about 20 minutes.

    When the pick-up finally exited the highway, he pulled off the exit's pavement completely and stopped. From the safety of his exit lane, he rolled down his window and leaned out his window to glare at us passing.

    My phone number is on my car -- easy enough for him to call. He never did. He clearly wanted to communicate something. Only ALLAAH knows what he was trying to say. May ALLAAH guide him - aameen!

  4. About 11:290 AM on Sunday 2014/11/23, between Louisville Kentucky and Cincinnati Ohio on Interstate Highway 71 near mile marker 47, a Honda with Ohio license plate number CB77TF flashed his lights.

    Details: The Honda pulled up behind, but in the other lane -- the passing lane. After enough time to read the bumper sticker, the driver flashed his lights and punched it -- not to be seen again.

    The ambiguous interactions

  1. Several times folks passed us with a blank stare. Neither positive or negative. Some were reading The Muslim Mobile bumper stickers. Others looked at our car full of furniture. Still others looked an my wife and I. I would smile and Ubiquitous were their flinch to look away rather than return a smile.

What is the take-away from this experiment? Frankly, seems doubtful there is enough data here to make a scientific conclusions. Yet, I hope the people of the United States continute to grow in ability to tolerate and not have fear. Oh ALLLAAH, grant the Muslims liberty to exist, grant the Muslims to prosper, and grant the Muslims to worship ALLAAH without partners - aameen.

1800 miles in The Muslim Mobile -- the return

Loving Listening to non-verbal communication

We returned in the rain. Perhaps this was why folks were considerably less vigorous in going out of their way to let us know that they noticed "The Muslim Mobile". Only one person slowed for a moment and snapped a picture of the rear of The Muslim Mobile. She smiled as I waved for the photo.

After the first couple of times that folks passed us with a blank stare, I started counting. 28 hours of driving later, the count was 14 passed us giving us a blank stare. If ALLAAH wills, our rather limited interaction helps to "Paint a Beautiful Picture" of fluidity of expression in USA.

We took an extra 4 hours driving time to stop by the Kennesaw City Hall. The Monday before our return, the Kennesaw City Council voted against letting a Masjid [Masjid is the Muslim's word for Mosque] exist in the City. Islamophobes gathered during the meeting to protest on the sidewalk on the East side of the City Hall. When we arrived on Sunday morning at Kennesaw City Hall, we parked in the City Hall parking lot and I made my Duha Salaah [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duha ] on the sidewalk were the protesters had been. Why? Why not! ALLAAH keeps records; ALLAAH is The KNOWING; ALLAAH is The DOING. Fear ALLAAH; Hope ALLAAH. We left and made it to Austin late that night. Thanks be to ALLAAH for a save trip -- aameen!

Monday night, the Kennesaw City Council revised their vote. Now the vote of recored is 5 to 0 in favor of letting the Muslims have a designated place to worship The Maker and The Manager of all that ever exists. Thanks be to ALLAAH for ALLAAH granting the Muslims of Kennesaw a formal place of worship -- aameen!

2014, all rights reserved. Inshaa'ALLAAH.