His hands started trembling as he read further and further down the page. Tears began to flow as he recalled every petty fight, every silly argument. As the lamppost above him flickered on with its hazy orange glow, he wished he was home.
Andrew accepted Islam 9 months ago. Ever since his parents found out about his decision things went from bad to worse. Last week they kicked him out of the family home. His mother, really worried about him, has passed on this letter to him via a friend.
Imagine that you are Andrew, reading this letter from your mother.
I don’t really know where to start, I am sitting here on your bed going through your baby album thinking about when we brought you into this world. Your father really wanted to call you Jimmy or Jimbo or some other nonsense but eventually (read inevitably) I won the battle and you became our Andrew.
When you were born your father and I decided that we would do everything we could to give you a better childhood than we had. I remember the joy of you growing up, you always made us so proud, but now I can’t stop crying as I look around your empty room, so many memories, so many dreams thrown out the window, I feel like my little son is gone.
I still don’t understand why everything has so suddenly shifted in your life.
Was it because of us? Did we do something to wrong you? Did we not show you enough love? Where is it that we failed?
When I find out 6 months ago that you became Muslim, I was devastated. It has been like a Tsunami for me, and until now I can’t overcome and can’t understand your decision.
How could you make such a decision with everything we know about Islam, the countless discussions we’ve had about it at the dinner table. How could you turn your back on your family and on your upbringing.
We feel like you are rejecting us, you are becoming a stranger to your own family.
We don’t recognise you any more, you used to love my cooking but these days even if I go out of my way to make one of your favourite dishes you wouldn’t even touch it because its not halal.
You don’t go out clubbing with your friends anymore and even if you say that you are happier since you found Islam, all I see that you have lost all your zest for life!
You’ve now started growing a beard and make your Islam visible but it is becoming more and more embarrassing to us, what would others think and say about us now?
This situation has become a nightmare for us, all that we experience from you these days is your frustration, discontentment and arguments all the time.
I know sometimes I get carried away (the Irish in me) and say things I don’t mean in a fit of anger but really my son, I’m afraid of losing you.
The day I kicked you out of the house it was nothing but a cry for help and an attempt to wake you up and making you come back on your decision, make you come back to who you really were before all this.
But I realised that I have failed and that you seem to be committed to your decision.
It’s been a week now that you are not with us and it has been the longest one of our lives, everyday I wanted to call you and tell you that I miss you and that I love you so much but I just feel really frustrated that it has become so difficult to express my feelings and really connect with you.
No matter how many books you leave lying around or videos you leave playing loud, everything I know about this new religion of yours is scaring to me and and I just can’t understand it.
The only hope that I have left is that you mentioned once that in Islam parents are held in high esteem, and that you should care about your parents and what they think of what you do with your life.
I would hope so much to hear that you still love us that you don’t hate us and that you would not reject us, I really hope that you will not cut off the relationship with us and I am wondering now if you would even give us a chance to still have a place in your new life?