“Hend? Who in the world is Hend?” Opening Facebook to find the red “Messages” balloon always gives me a little thrill. But, this Hend (who is he anyway?) was new to me. Trepidation mixed with irritation as I considered opening it. With one eye open, one closed, bracing myself for the inevitable spam about “male enhancement “or painkillers, I clicked on it.
Stacey, Thank you for your kind comment to the Muslim Americans on NPR’s post. Your comment really touched me and made me cry. I am a Muslim…
So began my friendship with a young wife and mother named Hend. Earlier that day, I responded to a post on NPR’s Facebook page regarding the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment surrounding the proposed Muslim social center in Manhattan in the fall of 2010. Hend was so moved by my post, she bravely emailed me to tell me so. I shyly emailed to thank her and told her to keep in touch if she wished.
That was a year ago, during which we have traded a number of emails. She is younger, has more children, came to Ohio by way of Riyadh, then Texas – two places I’ve never seen. She is Muslim. I am a middle-aged Sunday school teacher from Pennsylvania. Our exchanges run from the mundane – husbands and kids, to the enlightening – the differences and similarities in our faiths and cultures.
I hold her and her young family close, counting her friendship among the many gifts God has given me, praying for their continued safety as they peacefully live their lives. She wears a headscarf in her photos, allowing only a view of her face. But, I like her face. And, though I don’t know how she takes her coffee, (if she even drinks coffee) I do know her heart.
Stacey Shannon is a stay-at-home mom in Reading, Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two kids.
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