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Beyond Belief Lies Acceptance

I am a Christian.

But I wasn’t always born as one.

My citizenship ID card tells me otherwise,

that I am of Muslim religion.

I wear a cross necklace and not a hijab cover,

but why are they forcing it on me whenever I go outside?

Do you not see this thick maroon book I carry around with the words “Holy Bible”

written in bold?

“Religion is like a pair of shoes... Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear

your shoes.” George Carlin, my favorite actor-comedian, quotes.

My parents need to hear that. And this whole nation does too.

“Why did you convert? Do you not care about us; after all we’ve done for you!? What

you’re doing is haram!”


I had my reasons.

Which I prefer not to talk about.

But when you’re born and raised in a place like this, there is practically no way out.

How could I live having to hide my real identity?

The words in my Holy Bible are not of obscenity.

Why should I pretend when others outside don’t have to?

I want to be in the light when I preach, too.

I am a Christian.

And I see freedom in nations far from my border country.

“I’m Jewish and my parents are Christian—some of my good friends are Muslim and

Buddhists as well. We may differ in beliefs but our love for one another stays the same.”

My mouth involuntarily opened in shock.

Religious freedom—that’s what they called it—the freedom to express, practice, and

worship their own religion of choice.

I’ve heard of it; wonderful parades and festivals to celebrate the freedom to express your

beliefs. The church built right next to a mosque, and the temple facing the two. The people of

various religions live in peace, harmony, and unity through diversity.

Interfaith harmony.

Something we don’t have, here.

I am a Christian.

And I am a minority.

I watch as my friends enthusiastically celebrate their Eid al-Fitr, fasting together and

devouring delectable food once it ends.

I respected their religious rituals and beliefs,

but did they do the same?

“I’m sorry, but I’ve found a new path towards what I truly believe and have faith in.”

Some stayed and nodded in mutual understanding; while others immediately scoffed,

muttering the word “shameful”, and left without another word. Though it did save me the effort

to throw away the bad apple “friends”; they walked out on their own.

Only one question lies in my head,

can’t we all just coexist and accept the beauty within our differences?

I am a Christian.

And my religion choice should be a human right.

“No way, is she not ashamed of showing her hair and skin off like that? Isn’t that

considered blasphemous?”

“...Does your God even exist?”

My fists involuntarily met her face quickly.

Hard. Violent. Fighting.

The next few scenes were blurry. Her nose was crooked and my hands tugged at her hair

mercilessly; launching all my attacks at her.

I was boiling with rage.

Just because I believe in a “different” God, doesn’t mean it’s any less than yours.

I am a Christian.

And my childhood dream was to become president.

I snickered at the thought, at myself.

I watched the television;

every single political figure present was of one religion only—Muslim.

Like a spot of black paint on a white canvas, I was an anomaly within the rest.

At this young age I realized, my dreams have limits.

At least they do, here.

I want to leave this place.

I am a Christian.

I am someone with faith and belief,

just like you.

Just like you, I want to be able to practice my religion in freedom.

Just like you, I want to praise in the light and never have to hide in the dark for who I am.

Just like you, my religion is my own personal affairs with my God, who I truly believe in.

And just like you,

I am human.

So don’t I deserve the same rights as you do?

I am Adeline.

And my religion does not matter here.

Because that is the one thing that truly makes me feel like I belong. But it’s not because

I’m finally like everyone else, in fact it’s because I’m different from them that we’ve come to

accept and learn from one another.

At the age of merely 18, I moved out of my country to be somewhere else, where

religious freedom exists and interfaith harmony is practiced.

Where religious freedom is possible, I notice that people here all around me express and

practice their religions with enthusiasm. This way, I get to learn, understand, and accept how

their religions differ from mine; or perhaps how similar we actually are. I get a new perspective

of the different beliefs that exist everywhere; of every form and kind—and learn to tolerate them.

I make friends—I learn from their experiences and beliefs, I sympathize with their views

and share their moral values through mutual understanding.

I patiently listen,

and they do the same.

I feel secure and at peace,

I feel accepted.

Hi there, it’s Adeline.

I turn 22 this year;

and I have learnt so much after years of being surrounded by various religions. I learn to

never force my religion on people; and I show them that I’m willing to learn and most

importantly understand all about their religion.

The key is to reset our default mindset from ignorance and prejudice; to equality,

acceptance, and understanding. We tend to realize then that our religions interconnect with each

other, having shown a few similarities.

My two best friends are of Judaism and Muslim religion—we’ve formed an Abrahamic

Religion Brotherhood.

I found my one true home here;

where religious freedom and interfaith harmony hold hands.

I am still a Christian.

But this time—an open-minded, accepting, and happy one.


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