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Face to the Floor: How a Buddhist American woman opened her heart to Islam

Artwork by Nada Farhat

Omar stood on my doorstep, smiling and peering at me through square, outdated glasses. He placed his hand over his heart in a traditional Muslim greeting and stepped inside. His disabled son shuffled in too with a mischievous smile, as if the joke was on us, dragging half his body behind him like heavy luggage. A friend of my Libyan-born husband’s, Omar had lived all over the world but moved to our hometown to care for his elderly father, whom he visited each evening in a nursing home. That afternoon he sat cross-legged on our living room floor in pressed pants and a collared shirt, drinking tea and having a passionate conversation with my husband about politics, social justice, and Islam.The headlines often linked Islam with violence, but Omar was one of the most peaceful people I had ever met. I wanted to know what made him so humble and patient, what inspired him to care so deeply for the oppressed and take such good care of his family, and, when I asked him how he was doing, to respond with a smiling “Alhamdulillah”—“All praise is due to God”—as if every bit of it was a blessing.So when he sent me …

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IslamBuddhismWorld Culture

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