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The secret Muslims

Two men came to my door today. They were bearded, wore cotton kaftans, one even came complete with skullcap, asked for me by my first name and wanted to let me know there was a mosque round the other side of Bernal Heights. I should feel free to visit sometime.

Here's where it gets odd. I don't have a land line, so I don't think I'm listed in the phone book. My contact info is listed on translation networks online, but none of it would be available to the public. The only place I can really think of that might list me is the business register, but you'd have to be scraping the barrel if you needed to look for Muslim-sounding names in City Hall's records. SF is diverse enough I know just looking for "Muslim-sounding" wouldn't help. People with Arab names out here don't have to be Muslim. People who look Arab don't have to be Muslims. 

Where is this Muslim informant mailing list I'm not subscribed to? More importantly, why would I even be on it? Who would cite me by first name and give my exact address? 

I'm not creeped out yet, but I am worried. There are more than enough reasons why I would never expect to open my front door to the friendly neighborhood Muslims in San Francisco, never mind ones who know and would call me by my first name. I didn't come here for this. And I shouldn't have to deal with this here-- a city I genuinely love and where I feel I am weird enough. I am not something to 'save'. I am not a lapsed  project. So what am I still doing wrong? 


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 8th, 2014 03:22 pm (UTC)
I don't think you're doing anything wrong at all. Religious fundamentalism is working overtime because it's losing followers. I find it disturbing that they tracked you down, but then maybe it's not that weird. The French Jehovah's Witnesses left a French tract on my door right after I broke up with Christophe. They did not do so on my neighbors' doors. How did they know I read and spoke French? I'm inclined to think that the Alliance Française sold a list of names and addresses, which pisses me off. As for your situation, I suspect that they are combing lists and targeting all the people you mentioned, even if it's unlikely that they would be Muslim.

Edited at 2014-05-08 06:48 pm (UTC)
May. 8th, 2014 08:35 pm (UTC)
That is likely what's happening. There's an off-chance an online store or company I make purchases at sold their lists -- which is pretty perplexing, since virtually all the stores one would sign up for explicitly say they don't. So it could be a wider net of places than I think. The mosque is 10 minutes away by car. I'll know how intrusive they'd like to be if they send me any materials in future. But one benefit of this being a Muslim canvas is that almost more than any other group in the US, they would be the least likely to want to draw attention to themselves.
May. 9th, 2014 02:19 am (UTC)
I get Jehovah's Witnesses coming to my door, and Mormons, so perhaps the Muslims are doing the same door-to-door spamming. Except knowing your name is creepy.
May. 9th, 2014 03:43 am (UTC)
Muslims, You Say?
If some nice men are going door to door with names of secret Muslims, encouraging them to come out into public, so that you may mingle with people you don't know but might feel inclined to trust, it may just be the FBI trying to check you off their watch list.

My family back home lives in a 6-flat and at least one of the units is leased out to the Jehovah's Witnesses. As a consequence, they don't proselytize in the building. Sort of a good neighbor policy. What you need is someone from the mosque to move into your building, preferably the FBI informant, and they can say "hi" at the mailbox once a month or so, and otherwise count you among the counted and let you be.

Or it might just be that they chatted up a chatty neighbour, who volunteered that you were from a certain country that would catch their attention, and they decided they should say "hi" because its nice to hang out with your peeps, &c. You husband, though, would sure throw them off on that cold-knock! :)

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )