Tuesday, July 28, 2015

#differentisbeautiful: Opening

And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge. (Q.S.Ar-Ruum (30): 22)

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (Q.S.Al-Hujuraat (49): 13)

Perhaps some of you remember Addy, the girl who interested in Islam, the one behind some of my English posts, such as this one. Some days ago, she sent me email again, letting me know that she converted to Islam around October last year. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar! I am more than happy to call her my sister now, and for my readers, I hope you can take a minute to read Al-Fatihah for Allah strengthen her faith (and also for us!) until we die in khusnul khotimah, amiiin.

I am not gonna tell you about her stories, as she will tell you herself, hopefully very soon. But some of our conversations make me realize how ignorant a person can be, towards something that comes outside his/her world. The closest example might be me, I am basically Javanese and I don't really care about what happens outside Java island. I rarely think about Papua, Kalimantan, and others. I do pay attention for the global news, but to say I understand what is happening with hunger in Africa, I'll keep silent.

For some people, this ignorance will grow to be stereotype. In Indonesia generally, we accept the idea that people from Surabaya and Batak always talk in loud voice. Sundanese likes getting married. And so on. There are many bad guys from Java, as well as from Sumatera, Kalimantan, and other ethnic background. So it doesn't mean that we are simply better than others. But we are not aware of this and putting stereotype to people who is different than us.

Back to Addy, she tells me a lot about how Americans look down to a Muslim, and it does hurt me. It's a public secret that Muslim globally related with terrorism, and we all know that it's not true. So many international Muslim public figures who have done great things. Find some of them in The Muslim 500. Besides them, I do believe many Muslims are fighting to not only exposing good image of Islam; but it's what they do for life – and for years. They ARE good people, who sometimes might be covered by the shadow of global news about terrorism.

However, I do understand that it probably because intercultural/interfaith friendship are not really promoted in our daily life. It still feels weird to see a person going out with somebody who has different appearance. For example, people might look at me when I have lunch with my office mates because mostly they are Chinese descent – and sometimes the girls wear short-sleeve shirt. It is funny thing because we can't expect a peace world if every person just make friends with people who has similarity. You can't do that! You even have different point of views with your parent or siblings, so why can't we accept the differences from other people as well?

That's why, I will create a brand new project called #differentisbeautiful. I will tell you the stories of my friendship with people from different religion, ethnic background, etc. I hope by writing these, you will find out that, the more different we can be, the more similarity we probably have. Like me and my Vietnamese friends, Nhung; we love traveling, good food, and cute boys. Lol.

My first #differentisbeautiful post will be around mid next week. Once I started this, I hope you will also join me spreading the word that we, love differences as it makes the world more colorful and more vibrant. You can plan it from now! ;)

Lots of love,


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