December 13, 2019
As a Muslim and a Catholic, junior Kayden Kadri is searching for balance between the two religions of his family.
With a father raised of the Islamic faith and a mother brought up a Catholic, Kadri has practiced both faiths his entire life.
Originating in Mecca, Islam is centered around the belief in a God, named Allah, who’s will is known in the scriptures of the Qur’an. “Followers typically go to the mosque once a week or more, but I personally go on Friday’s for Jumu’ah, our Friday prayer. We are also expected to pray five times a day,” said Kadri.
“I am a Sunni Muslim, there are two different sects– Sunni and Shia,” said Kadri. Sunni Muslims rely on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad to guide their actions recorded in the Sunnah, when the Shiites rely on signs of God found on Earth.
In a community where Muslims are of a very limited population, Kadri understands the importance of learning more about his religion and continuing to practice Islam. “I feel like it’s super important because it separates me from everyone else. I grew up with it and I practice all of the rules and intricacies of Islam,” said Kadri.
While Kadri remains faithful to his father’s side of the family, he also participates in Catholicism– a completely separate religion from Islam. Being raised in a Catholic church, Kadri does not feel as isolated in the community because there is a large population of Catholics compared to Muslims.
Kadri feels like he is a part of two completely opposite lives. “One is full of mostly white people, the other is full of mostly brown people… you see two different colors. Also the language– Islam is practiced in Arabic, and Catholicism is practiced in English (for the most part, as it can be practiced in many languages with English being the main one),” said Kadri.
Because Kadri is apart of two vastly different religions, it is hard to find a solid connection to one over the other. He feels like an outsider when attending both services because there is either a language barrier (Islam is taught in Arabic, which Kadri can not understand), or a cultural barrier (Catholic church is prodominantly white).
Being an outsider in his community, Kadri has been treated differently because of his faith. “Mostly in middle school, where people weren’t as accepting, I lost friends over it. I got called ‘Terrorist’.” Kadri has forgiven certain peers for treating him a certain way due to an ignorance that Kadri believed influenced their behavior towards him.
Even though there has been a growing awareness about Muslims, there is still a stigma around the Islam faith. Especially because of terrorist attacks and ISIS, Kadri remains to feel pinned down by the fear and hate towards his religion. “I’ve definetly felt ashamed to be a Muslim– especially after terrorist attacks. I’ve been treated differently,” said Kadri.
With a very small community of Muslims around him, Kadri has adapted to being an outsider and has established separate bonds with his friends at school or the Catholic community.
“I used to never tell anyone that I was Muslim, but all of my friends know now, and I’m open about talking about it,” said Kadri. “It’s a part of me and now I’ve learned to recognize it.” There is always going to be a stigma around Islam, but Kadri has looked past that and has accepted his faith and works to make his religion more accepted in his community.