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ShiaMan14

How To: Assimilation of Reverts into our Communities

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This question / discussion is for Reverts and Born-in Shias:

Reverts: what you do to assimilate within your local Shia community?  What challenges do you face? What are resolutions to fix this problem?

Born-In: How do you facilitate the assimilation of Reverts into Islamic communities. Ideas on better assimilation opportunities?

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5 minutes ago, Reza said:

Lets give credit to Sunnis (and Wahhabis), for being more diverse and accommodating of believers of different backgrounds. Being Shia, if you're not Lebanese, Iraqi, Iranian, or IndoPak, you're mostly out of luck in many places.

Very true. Unfortunately. 

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10 hours ago, Reza said:

Lets give credit to Sunnis (and Wahhabis), for being more diverse and accommodating of believers of different backgrounds. Being Shia, if you're not Lebanese, Iraqi, Iranian, or IndoPak, you're mostly out of luck in many places.

Salaam.

You've highlighted the problem. Solution?

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8 hours ago, starlight said:

I live in a Muslim country so I don't know any reverts. Your Muhajireen-Ansaar idea is excellent and will also serve to provide a family for reverts whose biggest problem is loneliness since lots of them lose their families after becoming Muslims. Speaking of loneliness another problem they face is finding a spouse where 95% of the born Muslims start acting holier-than-thou and always view them with suspicion. Often reverts end up in a situation where they have a strained relationship with their non Muslim family and friends and also don't feel warmly welcomed in the Muslim community. As I already mentioned I haven't been around many reverts in real life so I don't know how practical these suggestions are but still..

1.On Eids each Muslim family should make the effort to invite a revert into their homes for lunch or dinner or even better, for the whole day.Eid is a time of happiness and celebration and no one should spend the day feeling alone. I know there are events held in Islamic centres but they don't make up for a get together in a home environment. 

2. There are Sunday schools for kids. There should a class or two in every Sunday school for reverts.Salat isn't a simple thing to learn and is even more difficult when you are the only grown up in the mosque who doesn't know how to pray, not to mention the people who soley exist for the purpose of pointing out mistakes in other people.

3. Not just for reverts but all Muslims, get rid of ethno-cultural camps! Reverts find it difficult to go an Islamic centres if this Hussainiya is 'Arabised' and that is 'Pakistanised' and the next one is 'khojas'.Do they have to find one which is 'Americanised' or 'europeniased'? I know I am making a generalisation here and there are exceptions but let's accept it we Muslims are bound to cultural more than we are to our religion.

4.Make revert support groups, not online ones, real life ones. 

What about Sunni » Shia reverts?

The rest of the ideas are great.

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1 hour ago, Reza said:

Intermarriage.

Absolutely. 

Reverts are amongst the most beautiful things, fresh pure blood being injected into the soul I.e from the moment they revert they are given a new life for the sacrifice they make not just in words but  in action with their whole being. 

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1 hour ago, Reza said:

Its the other way around.

I think it would be a catch-22 thing. How/why would someone marry them without knowing them and to know them, they would have to be assimilated within the community.

I am not saying intermarriage would be wrong just not following the steps from reversion to marriage without being in the community.

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4 minutes ago, Panzerwaffe said:

Which ethnicity do you belong to?

My ancestors were poor white farmers and factory workers. So in addition to being white - which many born Muslims assume = sleazy - I don't look or act like rich people. Most Shia Muslims in the United States are rich people. 

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45 minutes ago, notme said:

My ancestors were poor white farmers and factory workers. So in addition to being white - which many born Muslims assume = sleazy - I don't look or act like rich people. Most Shia Muslims in the United States are rich people. 

You should not let that discourage you sister.

This country was built by the poor whites who turned this savage land into a world power you should be proud of your heritage too.

These " Shias" of today act like rich urban elite ummayyads who used to make fun of poor shabbily clad sloppily groomed bedouins who were supporters of Imam Ali 

I commend your courage and fortitude. Please forgive us for treating you like this 

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1 hour ago, ShiaMan14 said:

I am not saying intermarriage would be wrong just not following the steps from reversion to marriage without being in the community.

I'm not commenting on its feasibility, but it seems like the only long term solution with a real impact. Anything else would be a half measure at best. Some people will have to take the plunge first.

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1 hour ago, notme said:

I gave up. For many years I tried to join various communities and was either rejected outright ("We are a group only for [insert ethnicity]") or excluded and ostracized. I tend toward reclusivity anyway so it doesn't much matter to me, though it would be nice for my children to know other Shia, and I'll probably not end up with a proper burial due to not being known in the community. 

This is really sad but so true. Even from afar I know of snobbish and exclusive attitudes of some Shias living there. They will have a lot to answer for.

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Just now, starlight said:

This is really sad but so true. Even from afar I know of snobbish and exclusive attitudes of some Shias living there. They will have a lot to answer for.

But they don't know. 

I guess the ones who reject outright know, but the ones who say "welcome, come in" and then ignore and make negative assumptions until the revert leaves on their own have no idea. They think "welcome" is enough. I don't think they are intentionally snobbish so much as not knowing how to relate to people with a background different from theirs. 

I had an American friend whose parents were Lebanese. She would take it upon herself to bring "outsiders" in. She extended invitations to newcomers who might not know of community everts. In social gatherings, she would translate the chitchat when the others spoke Arabic, and that helped them to be aware that they were excluding. She was Sunni, but I see no reason Shia who are aware couldn't do the same. Most people are unaware. 

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7 hours ago, Reza said:

Its the other way around.

This is true in my case. I'm only accepted in my community because I'm married to a Middle eastern man. Before that I was invisible. I hate it when I'm meeting or talking to someone and instead of asking me about myself, they are more interested in who I'm married to. Also I think Muslims are fascinated by interracial marriage so they get stuck on the topic like, "how in the world did that happen??" And don't care to know me as a person. So I don't know how much I'm assimilated per se but at least I'm not completely invisible anymore. 

Note I am not a revert but both my parents are thus I'm not one of the "typical" Muslim ethnicities. 

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5 hours ago, notme said:

I gave up. For many years I tried to join various communities and was either rejected outright ("We are a group only for [insert ethnicity]") or excluded and ostracized. I tend toward reclusivity anyway so it doesn't much matter to me, though it would be nice for my children to know other Shia, and I'll probably not end up with a proper burial due to not being known in the community. 

That is really such a shame.

If for no other reason, being buried the correct way is a HUGE reason to be part of a community. 

Is there a large center near you with an outreach program?

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I think there is also a certain "is he / she a spy or informant" syndrome which doesn't really make sense because most likely an informant would look similar rather than different. 

 

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5 minutes ago, ShiaMan14 said:

I think there is also a certain "is he / she a spy or informant" syndrome which doesn't really make sense because most likely an informant would look similar rather than different. 

Besides, if you're not doing anything questionable, what's to fear? And wouldn't changing the thinking of an informant be excellent? 

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Just now, notme said:

Besides, if you're not doing anything questionable, what's to fear? And wouldn't changing the thinking of an informant be excellent? 

Exactly!!!

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The revert community in the US is probably the most diverse Muslim community on Earth. I have met reverts from almost every culture and ethnicity and every socio economic background. That is part of the issue. There are even a few Korean American reverts on the community that I see at gatherings and have spoken to a few times 

I have been in the Lebanese community for so long people think I'm from Lebanon unless I correct them and tell them I'm not. Most reverts are not as Integrated as I am. There have been some weird awkward moments if someone happens to find out what my last name is and then realizes I'm not Arab :(

Edited by Abu Hadi

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Just now, Abu Hadi said:

The revert community in the US is probably the most diverse Muslim community on Earth. I have met reverts from almost every culture and ethnicity and every socio economic background. That is part of the issue. 

I have been in the Lebanese community for so long people think I'm from Lebanon unless I correct them and tell them I'm not. Most reverts are not as Integrated as I am. There have been some weird awkward moments if someone happens to find out what my last name is and then realizes I'm not Arab :(

Can you share tips in what you did to assimilate and what others did to help you assimilate?

I brought up this topic because of Tom Brokaw 's comments recently about immigrants need to better assimilate in America.

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Well it helps that my wife is Lebanese and I was accepted by her family many years ago. I also grew up on an area of the United States that is very ethnically and culturally diverse so I was used to that from an early age. 

So being around different languages and cultures was never a strange thing for me so when I became Muslim I just thought of the cultural education as part of the process. 

Reverts who are from less culturally diverse backgrounds have a harder time integrating into the community. They believe in the religion and practice it but tend to be more isolated and many of them are uncomfortable hearing different languages, eating different food, and / or are not quick to pick up on verbal or non verbal cues that are not part of their own culture. 

I think it is this specific group that needs to be made to feel welcome in the centers. If they were more integrated into the community the community would benefit from it. The main benefit would be that then Islam would start to br seen as part of the society in the US and not as something foreign

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13 minutes ago, Abu Hadi said:

Reverts who are from less culturally diverse backgrounds have a harder time integrating into the community. They believe in the religion and practice it but tend to be more isolated and many of them are uncomfortable hearing different languages, eating different food, and / or are not quick to pick up on verbal or non verbal cues that are not part of their own culture. 

I think it is this specific group that needs to be made to feel welcome in the centers. If they were more integrated into the community the community would benefit from it. The main benefit would be that then Islam would start to br seen as part of the society in the US and not as something foreign

This is the crux of the problem. 

There should be some sort of a Revert Assimilation Program.

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In London the revert brothers do get together once in a while to share their experiences.

Also here we or anyone I have met has ever pointed a suspicious finger at the reverts. 

Looks like our experiences are slightly different and maybe we might need to get the Sheikhs involved in the better assimilation program of marriage.

Same would also apply over the diverse nationalities and cultures and smaller subsets.

Like Khoja with Punjabi.

Pakistani with Nigerian 

Iraqi with British etc

 

Edited by haideriam

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1 hour ago, Abu Hadi said:

Reverts who are from less culturally diverse backgrounds have a harder time integrating into the community. They believe in the religion and practice it but tend to be more isolated and many of them are uncomfortable hearing different languages, eating different food, and / or are not quick to pick up on verbal or non verbal cues that are not part of their own culture. 

I think it is this specific group that needs to be made to feel welcome in the centers. If they were more integrated into the community the community would benefit from it. The main benefit would be that then Islam would start to br seen as part of the society in the US and not as something foreign

Hillbillies and Midwesterners. Yes, they're my people. I think as more Muslims are born in the US, we will seem less strange to y'all. In spite of our islamophobic, xenophobic, maybe even racist families, we're just normal people with normal values and dreams. Many of us are already outcasts from our native communities, and then we are ignored or rejected by the few Muslims we meet. 

59 minutes ago, ShiaMan14 said:

There should be some sort of a Revert Assimilation Program.

Maybe it's because I watch Star Trek, but I don't like the idea of being assimilated.

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49 minutes ago, notme said:

Hillbillies and Midwesterners. Yes, they're my people. I think as more Muslims are born in the US, we will seem less strange to y'all. In spite of our islamophobic, xenophobic, maybe even racist families, we're just normal people with normal values and dreams. Many of us are already outcasts from our native communities, and then we are ignored or rejected by the few Muslims we meet. 

True. I think another 20 years or so.

49 minutes ago, notme said:

Maybe it's because I watch Star Trek, but I don't like the idea of being assimilated.

Resistance is futile

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