An old acquaintance contacted me a few years ago... Facebook and Blackberry Messenger (bbm) had brought back my long lost friends and acquaintances again. The last time I met this friend when I was in my teens, when I was addicted to hair gel and hair spray that could make me look like I was just electrocuted by lightning. I remember the hard work to get my hair "stood up" like porcupine. He remembered me as a "cool girl" who loved to dance.
Growing up in the 80's, being cool means wearing Madonna's style fishnet pantyhose, sporting huge spiky Cindy Lauper hair and falling in love with Simon Le Bon. Going to a disco means having a very good exercise, dancing non-stop to the beats from Cameo, Culture Club and INXS while trying to keep the spiky hair stood up. It was purely dancing... no drugs and alcohol involved. My parents allowed me to go to disco almost every weekend as long as I would be back home by 11pm. I must say I really enjoyed those days when disco was just dancing..... nothing else. But of course, when I look at my teen pictures I couldn't help but wonder if I had misplaced my brain.
Since we had not any contact for the past 20 years, we updated each other's lives. He told me that he got married and moved to another city. I also told him that I got married and moved to Kuala Lumpur. When he asked me which church I went to in KL, I told him that I was no longer a Christian. I told him that I married a Malay guy and converted to Islam. He was very surprised. After a long pause, he diverted the conversations into general things. I could feel that he was not comfortable.
After three days, I received a text message from him. He asked me if I was not afraid of the God's wrath for converting to be a Muslim. He said that "as a good friend" he would pray for me to return to the right path. He believed that I would definitely go to hell for joining the religion of the terrorists. I told him that I believed I had chosen the right path and hopefully I won't be condemned to hell. I asked him politely not to talk about religion because not only it was a sensitive issue but everyone has the right to choose his/her religion.
Apparently he was adamant about his mission of "saving me from hell". He would text me verses from Bibles almost everyday. He also sent links to testimonials of Muslims who converted to be Christians. He emailed me articles about terrorists who blew themselves for jihad, oppressed Muslim women in Saudi, sighting of miraculous clouds that looked like Jesus (I forgot to tell him about the miraculous Adobe Photoshop) and so many other articles that he thought might help me come back to the (supposedly) right path. He mentioned that he sent all those things because I was his good friend.
In the beginning I tried to be polite by just ignoring his messages and emails. But after it continued for a month, I couldn't stand it anymore. I blocked and deleted him in my FB and BBM. I did feel bad about this because I didn't want to be rude. But a girl got to do what a girl got to do. Besides, I'd never felt that he was my friend. He never really knew me even when we were teenagers. We just said hello to each other when we met. After 20 years he suddenly appeared in my life, lecturing me about how bad my religion was and acting as if he was a very good friend who tried to save me from the burning hell.
If he were to lecture me during my disco days, I would probably think about it. But now, when I have tremendously reduced my contributions to the holes in ozone, shrunk my hair and thrown away the fishnet pantyhose, I can't possibly believe him. His lecture was just untimely.
And to say he did that because I was his good friend..... was such an overstatement. I refuse to say that he is my friend because like what William Shakespeare said :
On another note, I have a close friend who changed her religion from Islam to Christianity. She was born as a Muslim but as she grew older she learned more about Christianity. She said she found solace and peace when she converted to be a Christian. She never felt those beautiful feelings when she was a Muslim. As a friend, I respect her decision. Who am I to judge her? She is a beautiful, kind, helpful and hardworking person. For the 30 years I know her, I've never seen or heard her doing bad things to people or even animals. And yet, she also has experiences where her Muslim friends tell her to repent as she is a murtad and will definitely go to hell. Her "friends" also try to save her from the burning hell. They lecture her, send her articles about how wrong her Bible is, tell her stories about Christians who converted to Islam and how her children will suffer because of her deviation from the right path. Some even refused to befriend her again as she is now a kafir.
I believe one should educate itself about the freedom of choosing one's religion. It is a total disrespect to think that people from other religions will go to hell. I believe it's the prerogative right of Allah to choose which of His creations should go to hell or heaven.