I got onto the BART train this morning right before the doors closed. The train was filled up and started moving before I even had a chance to sit down. I wondered why it was leaving earlier than usual but I chalked it up to the fact that it may have been a late train and the conductor was probably trying to get it back on schedule.
I sat down to read and I didn’t realize until a couple of stops later that I was actually going on the wrong train so I got off at a station along the route to transfer.
As I waited on the platform to catch my train, a man walked over to me: “Excuse me, are you Muslim?” he asked, with a French accent.
I responded affirmatively and he told me that he was from France and he talked about the events that had happened this morning. If you don’t know, there was a terrorist attack this morning at the offices of a satirical newspaper in Paris called Charlie Hebdo. The attackers killed 12 people, were masked, and witnesses said they had shouted “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire.
This man told me that in France, he has a lot of Muslim friends and he knows that Muslims aren’t like the terrorists that were responsible for the attacks. His eyes were tearing up as he told me that he and the French don’t hate Muslims and that he wanted to let Muslims know that. I understood that he didn’t want me to apologize or condemn the actions, he already knew that it had nothing to do with my beliefs. We talked for a couple of minutes and then we both went on our separate ways.
I was touched that he took the time out to talk to a complete stranger to give that message. It meant a lot to me, especially since something like “#KillAllMuslims” was trending on Twitter today. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and may justice be served, InshAllah.