Farhana Rahman is an Online Marketing Director and Startup Mentor working out of New York City. She has been representing socially driven startups for over 5 years, and has been in the PR/Marketing industries for nearly 10 years. She currently works for ZCast- an app by Zula in the mobile broadcasting space, as the Director of Communications. She is an advocate for peace in the Middle East, and actively works to correct inaccuracies portrayed by the media which inherently leads to anti-Semitism worldwide. Here, she writes a powerful poem that reflects her journey as an American Muslim.

 

“So Farhana- you sure you’re not a Jew?”
I get that all the time. It’s nothing new.

It started from my childhood. I’d hear it daily.
My curly locks and fair skin looked convincingly Israeli.
I was most fond of the teachers who happened to be Jewish,
and loved to wear white with anything bluish.
I loved children’s stories and songs that were Hebrew,
And found friendships with Jewish kids the ones to be true.
The difference in religions never came to mind.
I naturally gravitated towards those who were cultured and kind.

“So Farhana- you sure you’re not a Jew?”
I get that all the time. It’s nothing new.

As I grew into my teens, and grew a little bolder,
I came to learn that my friends frequently got the cold shoulder.
I learned of how they were taunted for practicing Judaism,
and learned the ugly realities of antisemitism.
and how the media misrepresented Israel on a regular basis.
It gave pain to my friends. I saw it on their faces.
And so I decided that this cannot stay,
I’ll stand for Israel and her people in my own way.

“So Farhana- you sure you’re not a Jew?”
I get that all the time. It’s nothing new.

As I entered my 20’s, people took notice of me,
I was very well spoken, and relatively pleasant to see.
I would take part in activities to provide clarity,
by gently exposing truths to promote solidarity.
I took part in seminars, rallies, talks,
meet ups, conferences, summits, walks.
The efforts were small, and wouldn’t always scale,
More had to be done, but what it would it entail?

“So Farhana- you sure you’re not a Jew?”
I get that all the time. It’s nothing new.

I am now in my 30’s, and have incredible reach.
My audience loves to hear what I love to teach.
Sudden fame came my way through the medium I knew most,
after I expressed simple truths on a social media post.
Fifteen minutes of fame continued extending.
In Jewish and Muslim Zionist communities, my name was trending.
Those who formerly found these topics tiring,
reached out to say they found me inspiring.

“So Farhana- you sure you’re not a Jew?”
I get that all the time. It’s nothing new.

I do not know what my future has in store.
But as I rise and speak up, others adore me more.
I’m accepting offers to give keynotes, lead panels, write posts.
I’m getting love from journalists and talk radio hosts.
Some things bring monstrous joy, to the point I can’t cope,
such as when older generations of Jews say I give them hope,
and when Muslim Zionists message me of how they educate
those who were brainwashed to know nothing but hate.

“So Farhana- you sure you’re not a Jew?”
I get that all the time. It’s nothing new.

Do I appear Jewish because I love the Jews?
Because I know the lies behind headlines and what’s reported in the news?
Do I appear Jewish because of how I dress?
Because I choose to be modest and not hide less?
Do I appear Jewish because of my knowledge of the religion?
Because of my efforts to bridge all the division?
No. I’m a Muslim. Crescent moon and star.
Radical extremists are not what we are.

Extremists are a sect of their own that bring shame,
they go against our values and destroy our name.
There are more Muslim Zionists and supporters than most even know of.
They are educated, know better, and are full of love.
As times are changing, they are gaining the strength,
to create a ripple change of effects by going full-length.
It will take a few more generations for changes to be visible and stay,
but I promise you that it is underway.