Over the past few years, I feel as though Islam and Muslims have been brought more into the limelight. Sometimes for reasons of excitement such as that of Ibtihaj Muhammed being the first hijabi to compete in the Olympics, while other times, it to blame Muslims for one terrorist attack or another. Either way, with Islam being amongst one of the most popular religions in the world, along with being the fastest growing, personally, I believe some respect is due.
Now, I’m not talking about respect in terms of demanding each person to come up every Muslim they see and shake their hand, hug them, or even attempt to make conversation. However, what I do demand is to gain knowledge on the simplest of things. Pronunciation. I cannot stress the amount of times I’ve come across a white person who asks me if I’m “Muzlim” or better yet, if I’m “Izlamic”.
The first time it happened, I was barely even ten years old, and I heard a woman in the grocery story mention the term “Muzlim”. I was completely confused as to what she meant, because as far as I knew, there was no ‘Z’ in the word. As the years past, I began hearing the wrong words being used more and more frequently. What’s even worse however, is the pronunciation of our names. When I was nine, I attended public school. And, although I made it clear to the teacher that despite the fact that my name was spelled differently, it was pronounced the same way as the First Lady at the time, Michelle Obama’s. For some odd reason though, it seemed too difficult for my teacher to comprehend. If that’s the deal with a seemingly “American” name, you can only imagine how it feels for someone with a non-white name.
Albeit the fact that it may not seem to be a big deal, it is. God forbid, I mispronounce Jessica, because I have no doubt that I’ll be corrected with a disgusted look. Oh, and let’s also not forget the fact that I’ll be the one seen as someone “Fresh of the boat”, while when anyone else does it, it’s an honest mistake.But overall, what I fail to understand is how this all even came into being. The words are pronounced exactly as they’re spelled. I don’t even know of a Muslim who refers to Islam as ‘Izlam’. Then where did this idea come into being?
So PSA to everyone who isn’t a Muslim or who aren’t familiar with the terminology, pronounce it right. Educate yourself. Ask a Muslim if you’re still cofused. I have no doubt that any Muslim will be more than happy to help. It’s not as difficult as you make it out to be.
Therefore, if you can say Swiss Chalet, or Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, it shouldn’t be that hard for you to learn and say our names, the term Islam, as well as the word Muslim properly.