I subscribe to an email newsletter from a group called CAIR which stands for Council on American Islamic Relations. They’re a Muslim advocacy group and they field all kinds of issues that arise with regards to problems Muslims face in America.

Most of them have to do with women who are fired for wearing the hijab, the Islamic headscarf, either at work or in a court room. They do a lot of good work but sometimes you read something that just makes you go huh???

Like this mentioned in the most recent CAIR newsletter from a police report in Nevada: 

According to the Henderson Police Department incident report, the officers responded to a report that 7 MIDDLE EASTERN MALES ACTING 425, BY A GRY MINI VAN, UNK CA PLTS, SEV OF SUBJS ARE KISSING THE GROUND. (The men are of various ethnic backgrounds, including Middle Eastern and South Asian. The police code 425 generally refers to a suspicious situation. Muslims place their foreheads to the ground briefly while praying.) 

I’ve been to Nevada, and Montana and South Dakota and Wyoming. I can’t believe that people reported this!

In fact when in Montana, I was at the Little Big Horn Battleground National Monument (checking out where Custer had his Last Stand) and the time came to pray. There was a grassy spot just by the parking lot with the graves of soldiers behind us, where my son and I just spread a cloth and started praying.

We weren’t kissing the ground. We were prostrating ourselves in front of God, showing our complete submission to Him by touching the highest spot on our heads (our foreheads) to the ground to show our acknowledgement of Him as our Creator, Sustainer, Cherisher, and Lord of the Worlds.

Nobody said ‘boo’ to us. I saw them watching as they passed by, but nobody said or did a thing and no police were called.

I wonder if they called the police in this situation because it was seven men. No women were around.

I’ve traveled down to the States many times and never been too bothered, but then I’m a middle-aged woman. Long ago I stopped bothering my hubby to go down there. When this trip to South Dakota came up, he refused to go. He just doesn’t feel like dealing with American border authorities.

I’ve been reading about Crazy Horse, the Oglala warrior who defeated Custer for so long, that I felt compelled to spend my own money and go there.

I hired a native guide, a really nice guy named Marcel Bullbear (and paid him as much as I could) to take me around all the battle sites where Crazy Horse had fought.

There’s a book I want to write about it one day! I’ve been working on one for ten years but it doesn’t seem ready yet.

And I took my fifteen year old son along as a kind of chaperone.

It’s forbidden in Islam for men and women who are not married or closely related to each other to be alone together without a third being present. I was going to be driving all over four states with Marcel for about four days. It was good to take my son along with me.

And it was also good because the only experience my son had ever had with Americans was listening to the talking heads on CNN.

As a result, he thought all Americans were loud and obnoxious, and paranoid of Muslims, only thinking the very worst of us. Even when I assured him they weren’t like that, that when you actually meet Americans they are some of the nicest people in the world, he couldn’t comprehend it, until we went to South Dakota.

In fact we were in the parking lot of  Fort Phil Kearney, near the site of the Fetterman massacre, what the natives called ‘The Battle of One Hundred in the Hand’ when an old white guy came up to us. He looked like the type who’d be very racist, but he wasn’t. He started making conversation and asked us where we’d come from.

He was friendly and genuinely interested in what my son had to say, and I watched my son, ever the sullen teenager, speak to him, at first haltingly, and then more openly, and when the man wished us the best and left, I said, “See?”

He agreed that Americans were really nice.

He even went as far as saying they were nicer than Canadians.

I’m not sure I’d go that far. I’ve met some really nice Canadians too!

Check out the pics of our trip: http://www.rukhsanakhan.com/photogallery/SouthDakota/index.html