An Open Letter to American Christians

Dear American Christians,

Let me start off by saying- I love you.  The Quran teaches Muslims that Christians and Jews are our brothers and sisters in faith, and for that reason I love you and respect your beliefs.  I want to make it clear that I do not hate you, and I do not mean to insult or offend you- but I have to put my foot down.

  You are privileged.

  Particularly white American Christians.

  I’m not angry at you for being privileged, I myself spent the majority of my life under this demographic.  I still enjoy 75% of my white privilege despite my hijab, since I am whiter than mayonnaise.  Your privilege is not because you as an individual made it that way, therefore I cannot be upset with you for that.

  I am upset because you don’t recognize your privilege.

  Not all of you are ignorant of your privilege.  Many of you are very aware of it and are grateful for it every day- using it for good and not to harm others.  So this letter may not be aimed directly at you.

But isn’t that part of your privilege as well?  That you maintain your autonomy from your demographic, while others are painted with the same brush as the worst of us?  For example, when terrorists who call themselves Muslim do something despicable, all Muslims must answer for their actions and vocally condemn it…but when terrorists who call themselves Christian do something horrendous, no one looks at the Christian community with a cloud of anger behind their eyes.  Similarly, I recognize your autonomy from your demographic, and everyone who accepts their privilege is excused from this letter.

But for those of you who are convinced you are victimized, for those of you who believe that the American public at large is out to get you…

you are the American public at large

  Do you not realize that you are in the majority? Do you not know that 83% of Americans identify as Christian?

 I read an article on my Facebook feed this morning that sparked my outrage.   It was about an actor in Jurassic World talking about his faith in an interview…and he was called brave.  Are you kidding me?  How is that brave?  Identifying as the majority demographic is not brave.  I’m not saying that it is bad that he is Christian, no.  Good for him!  I have no problem with his expressing his beliefs in an interview- that is all well and good.  Good. For.  Him.

  But it isn’t brave.

  Furthermore, you are not under attack.  Just stop.  There is no war on Christmas.  There is no attempt to stifle your beliefs.  And don’t view a law to protect the minority as an attack on the majority.

 Making a wedding cake for a gay marriage doesn’t mean you have to marry a gay person yourself.

 Allowing Muslimahs to wear the head scarf doesn’t mean you have to put it on.

 Legalizing abortion doesn’t mean you have to perform one.

  And the fact that you expected a law that gives you a religious exemption from anti-discrimination laws makes me sick.  You have to get along with everyone else.  Christianity does not give you a pass for being a bigot.

And did Jesus not say to love the sinner?

Could you imagine if I opened a shop that had a dress code in order to shop there?  If I had extra scarves and abayas (think baggie maxi dress with sleeves) at the door that women had to put on to come inside?  Can you see the picket lines?  The protests?  The angry news anchors?  The arson?

  No one is out to get you.  No one is out to harm you.  You can wear a cross around your neck without being leered at.  You can leave your house without having to be afraid that someone will attack you physically for your beliefs.  You don’t have to worry that a police officer is going to stop you on the street because of ethnic profiling.  You don’t have to look for wire taps or spies in your church.   You don’t have to wonder if you will wind up in Guantanamo like the other 60% of inmates that were innocent just because of your faith.

And for that you should be grateful.

You are privileged.

Don’t act like you aren’t.

  This post may make me unpopular.  People may unsubscribe and leave angry comments (which I won’t approve- just letting you know right now), but this has to be said.  Someone needed to say it, and it might as well be an American Muslim with 75% of her white privilege remaining.

P.S. there may be some instances of anti-Christian behavior in the US, but those are very small and rare.  I would like to just take a second to recognize that some people may have indeed suffered for their Christian beliefs- but it is not the majority, and that is the point of this letter.

Ode to the White Eggplant (plus recipe!)

Oh white eggplant

How I adore thee

With your sweet flesh

Made soft upon cooking

With your white skin

Transforming to…green?

Well, never mind then…I’ll stick to brushes to produce my art.

  One thing that I absolutely love about the farmers market in Florida (and probably anywhere? Most of my experience with farmers markets has been in Florida…besides in Turkey where I followed my mother-in-law’s lead and didn’t really look around much) are the EGGPLANTS!  I am a HUGE fan of eggplants, but the ones in the grocery store do not do justice to the wonder that is this lovely vegetable (technically fruit, I guess, since it has seeds).

move over, boring purple eggplant!  Guess who is coming to dinner?!

oh yeah…that’s the stuff.

  So you may be wondering, “what’s wrong with the grocery store’s purple eggplant?”  Well, nothing, I guess…if you want to throw it in the oven.  I learned a lot about eggplant in Turkey.  For instance, our traditional purple eggplants are called kozleme eggplant, meaning they are solely for roasting (in their culinary tradition).  I mean, I’ve made mousaka with them, fried them, boiled them, what have you…but white eggplants and “japanese” eggplants are on another level.

  First, let’s talk about white eggplants.  They are much sweeter (in my opinion) than the others, and they are the perfect size for slicing into round pieces and frying up for a good mousaka.  They are also delicious roasted and stewed (recipe at the bottom of this post!).

  Japanese eggplants (i.e. the long skinny ones), are similarly great for stewing, but I prefer them roasted.  So what is the difference between purple eggplants and japanese?  The Japanese eggplants are much more silky after roasting, and you can roast them whole after stabbing some vent holes in them with a fork- locking in the flavor.  They also don’t need to sweat like most other eggplants.

  Anyway, without further ado- a recipe for white eggplants that we call “eggplant sulu”  Sulu means with water  in turkish (su= water, lu= with).  Yeah, we are so clever. Go find yourself a few white eggplants at your local farmers market and enjoy! Now is the perfect time to find them (Just fyi, they are sooo expensive at a grocery store)!

sulu

Ingredients

3-4 small white eggplants, cubed

1 large onion, diced

4 medium peppers (mild, like sweet banana peppers), diced

2 tomatoes, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp tomato paste

dollop olive oil

salt

cumin

paprika

pepper

water

Preparation
  1. cube eggplants and salt them, allowing them to sweat in a colander (over a dish or bowl) for 30min to an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, cut up onions and peppers. Add to a pot (a BIG pot!) with olive oil and some salt.  Cook over medium heat until translucent.
  3. Add tomato paste, rinsed eggplant, and tomato, mixing well.  Let sautee (covered) on medium heat for about half an hour or until eggplants are somewhat soft.
  4. Add water (room temp or cold) to the pot, filling until the eggplant is just covered. Sprinkle in spices as desired (I use only 1/4 tsp cumin and paprika, more pepper and salt) and add minced garlic.  Simmer on medium low until completely cooked.
Serve with warm bread and yogurt

Afiyet olsun 🙂 !