Tomorrow will mark a new (probably, astounding) development in Muslim-American relations, and so far, Obama has moved past the unproductive rhetoric of his predecessor.
Thankfully, no more 'Us Vs Them', 'they hate us for our freedoms' crap, that has marred the relationship between ordinary Americans and their comrades in the Arab world.
Our struggles are the same; now more than ever, in fact: we worry just as much about our economic future (how to afford rent during downtrodden times; will we be able to keep our jobs despite this rocky financial road?).
We long for representation, to have our voices materialized into policies. Americans have democracy, and we have long tried to find other outlets to express our discontent with our own leaders. We long for change, although this has come slower for us in the Middle East. And despite the turmoil and instability in this part of the world, we still look up at the foreboding skies, and see hope through the cracks of dawn.
After all, it is the darkest moments of the night that usher the dawn of another day.
Tomorrow, we, in the Arab world, just like our fellow Americans, are hoping for a new era. For a new beginning. A chance to renew our friendship, to learn from developed nations such as yours. But we hope we can teach you something new about us as well. For starters, that we do not hate you for your freedoms. We actually respect you for them, but we never understood why such freedoms stopped at your borders, and your nation's foreign policy wanted to cripple our own autonomy.
We also struggle with the most mundane, yet most extraordinary struggles of daily life: coping with rebellious teenage youth, dealing with crazy mother-in-laws, estranged marriages, rising school fees, and the like.
But what we long for more than anything during times like these is exactly what you voted for seven months ago: change we can believe in.
Let's hope the man who enabled Americans to believe in idealism once more, can translate that across to Cairo, so that not only his words, but also his contagious hunger for betterment is echoed in the Arab and Muslim world.
Salam. Peace. Shalom.
Al Salaam Mosque
4 weeks ago