“Honey, don’t get me wrong, but maybe it’s better if you remove these Arabic words from above your door for a while,” my 70-year-old neighbor softly advised me as she was leaving my house. I must have given her a puzzled look because she explained, “Crazy things are happening in the world, and people who don’t know you might get the wrong idea about you.” I grimaced and responded, “I’ll take my “besmele” down when you take your mezuzah down.” She gave me a dry smile and continued trying to convince me that it would be safer for me if kept my religious beliefs under wraps in today’s political climate.
Editor’s note: A longer version of this article appeared on Alt Muslimah here. Arzu Kaya-Uranli has been working as a broadcaster in New York, USA since 1998. She writes weekly editorial articles for Huffington Post and Today’s Zaman on human rights, education, gender equality, environmental issues and Turkey. Kaya-Uranli, also is an award winning Turkish Literature & Language teacher and she has been teaching Turkish for more than 20 years at institutions and universities. Her Twitter address is @akuranli. Her views are her own.