Woman tells of her experiences as a Muslim in America
In an area where United States minorities are rare or never seen, it is easy for people to develop an opinion on their beliefs and culture through what they see and hear on TV, radio, or online. Aware of these opinions, Amna Malik, a Muslim living in Marshfield, is visiting area libraries for a series of presentations to allow people to learn first-hand about American Muslims. She gave a presentation in Granton on May 9 and will speak again at the Marathon County Public Library-Spencer Branch on May 16 at 6 p.m..
Originally from Pakistan, Malik said she first came to the United States in the year 2000 to study medicine at the John Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Md. There she met her future husband, another Muslim from Pakistan studying medicine, whom she married in 2008.
Living in Baltimore and raising her two children, Malik said there was much more visible diversity in the big city, and the Muslim community there was very strong.
“We were settled there. My children attended the Islamic school in Baltimore that was visited by President Obama,” she said.
Her life as an American Muslim began to change after a position opened up at Marshfield Clinic in 2016 that her husband accepted. At first unwilling to leave the place she called home, Malik said it was not long before she rejoined her husband in Marshfield and began the next chapter of their life as a family.
“I wasn’t sure if I should follow him. I lasted nine months without him,” she said with a laugh.
Once they settled in Marshfield, Malik said she began to realize how alone her family was in a region not as diverse as the one she was used to. Miles away from any mosque or Islamic school, she said her family began to find and reach out to other area Muslims, finding some ways to still connect culturally.
“There is a mosque (in Eau Claire), we go to it. We don’t have a mosque nearby, so we take turns and hold services in our houses,” she said.
While living in Marshfield, Malik said she has seen people who are either hostile or curious about her faith and way of life. Knowing that her family may be the only Muslim these people would ever encounter, she said she began to reach out and speak in presentations to area communities — both to address false opinions and to teach the curious.
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