Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Thirty Days

I had a late night on Monday because as I was flipping through the channels I saw this show called Thirty Days that I'd heard about and decided to watch it.

The premise of the show is to put someone in a different situation for thirty days and see how it works out. I was fortunate enough to catch the episode in which they put a conservative Christian from West Virginia in the home of a devout Muslim family in Michigan. During those thirty days, he had to dress like a devout Muslim, grow a beard, and observe the religious requirements.

He left West Virginia decked out in one of those little hats and wearing a long shirt. It goes without saying that he got searched at the airport.

In the Michigan town where he stayed, more than a third of the population is Muslim. Some of his tasks while he stayed there were to pray five times a day, attend the weekly service at the mosque, learn about Islam, learn some Arabic, go to a Muslim man's bachelor party, and go to a Halal slaughterhouse. He at first had some reservations about participating in the prayers because he wasn't sure what they were saying and he didn't want to pray to a different god. But eventually after seeing the translations and learning that Islam and Christianity come from the same source, by the end he participated in the service at the mosque, bowing and reciting the prayers while holding a small cross in his hand.

The hardest task they gave him was to ask him to go out, dressed in his Islamic garb, to ask people to sign a petition against racial profiling of Arabs and other Muslims. People said some of the most heartless things to him! I think he really gained a lot of empathy about the plight of the peaceful Muslim that day.

It was very interesting to see the transformation in the man. He didn't convert to Islam, of course, but he gained a lot of respect for the devout followers and their spirituality. And it seemed like he became more compassionate about the difficulties that Muslim Americans go through every day.

1 comment:

Laura said...

That's really cool! Good for him, that he was willing to do that.