What’s in a name?


New Year’s Eve, the world is optimistic, hoping..hoping that 2017 will be better, at least less bloody, than 2016.


The attack in Turkey on New Years Eve took the lives of people close to home. Some of the dead.. we know their names, their families. They were related to and -colleagues of -some of my family members. And if I were in Saudi Arabia, I’d be attending the wake of a young woman named Lubna right now. There was also an attack in Madina a few months ago, in the Holy Mosque, where up to millions of Muslims gather to pray every day..there were attempts in Jeddah this year too, where I will be living in 6 months time. (inshallah, God willing).

But you know what the killer is? As if being killed is not bad enough.. what is really special, is that although Muslims, are the most likely victims of terrorist attacks.. we are also the most likely suspects.

No sooner did the attack happen, than the rest of the story unfolded in a sickeningly familiar sequence. The media shouts: it’s the Muslims again! the Terrorists! ISIS! (They are all the same thing in the media you see, who cares about mere nuances amidst such tragedy?)

What people often forget though, is that Muslims form 82-97% of fatalities in terrorist attacks (hey, don’t take my word fort, look it up : http://www.globalresearch.ca/muslims-are-the-victims-of-between-82-and-97-of-terrorism-related-fatalities-us-government/5516565 ).

No matter. I am always “randomly” selected at airports for extra tests or pat-downs. Here is one particularly painful event: I was traveling alone to New York to attend my mother’s college reunion (Vasser). After passing the metal detector, the security agent-he had kind eyes-said, somewhat apologetically: “I’m sorry M’am, but if you’ll present your hands, palms up, I have to run a test”. I complied silently as he swabbed my fingers. He looked at me and smiled..”Sorry, we have to do this to anyone wearing “headgear” “.

Why did I suddenly feel like crying? “You do what you have to do” I said, tight smile.

but don’t do that. I thought. Don’t be kind. Don’t be human. Don’t you pierce my comfortable prickly shield of anger.. and stir my grief..which is never far below the surface.

Then I’m given the choice of the x-ray like machine or a pat down..hmm, what do you think I’ll go for..I think the pat down is less humiliating than allowing a semi-naked reconstructed image of me to pop up on a screen. Done. I quickly run to the ladies room and cry. To this day, I’m not completely sure what those tears were about, so I don’t really expect you to get it either.

So there it is..here I am..The Muslim (thunder sound effects would be nice here)

The most likely victim

the most likely suspect

you think I am them

so..you are afraid of  me

but..I am afraid of them

We all lose

I’m so tired of explaining

and defending




Note: look, I know the security guard was doing his job. I know he is ensuring my safety. I know everyone is doing their best. This is an emotional account. Not a political one. I’m revealing a human facet of myself, and if you can turn or bend, to align  your own facet of humanity to mine, then we’ll understand eachother, and see eachother, and never ever kill eachother, or call eachother names.

Wid Kattan




2 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

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