“Facades” A Poem From an Asian American Agnostic Muslim

poem about love

Asian. A woman. Possibly an immigrant.
Perhaps she doesn’t speak English but either way, she’s probably not American.
Most of these assumptions aren’t wrong well…with the exception that I am American and English is my native language.

I know most people mean no harm and I know what they see when they look at me.
The social construct called “Race”, born from the era of colonial categories, is now a part of our present collective reality.

A relic of colonialism that refuses to die.
Empires rise and fall but ideas, for better or for worse, do not so quickly disintegrate into dust.

But people are much more than their race.
Aren’t they?
But people are much more than the amount of pigmentation in their skin, the sharpness or flatness of their nose and the roundness of their eye.
Aren’t they?

This Asian facade obscures my Americanness, my Mediterraneanness and my Muslimness. I don’t mind: Passing as Non-Muslim is a type of privilege and I take full advantage. Islam isn’t a race but Muslims have been racialized.

But I fly under the radar.
Does that raise any alarms: Creeping Sharia or taqqiya?!
I used to walk on eggshells.
Afraid of what might be released if I crushed their fragile shells and revealed my Muslimness.

love poem

I am no longer afraid and I feel neither pride nor shame.
It’s just a fact: I’m an Agnostic Muslim for progressive values.
And in the Women’s March, I showed up as
A woman
An immigrant
A progressive
An Asian
A Muslim.


Some images I took from the Houston Women’s March are pictured below:

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Editor’s note: If you enjoyed this poem, consider reading “MYSTIQUE: A Poem for Women” or “Shattered Childhoods“. Please consider donating via the Patreon button below, or via a one donation with Paypal, to keep us running. Thank you for your support!


Meili Criezis

Meili Criezis

I graduated from Southwestern University with Bachelor's degrees in History/French and I am passionate about issues related to the MENA region, progressive interpretations of Islam, women's rights and the Algerian Revolution for Independence. While at Southwestern, my academic advisor and I received a university grant to conduct summer archival research in the Paris archives concerning North African immigration to France and the Algerian 1954 Revolution. It's hard to know where life will take you (especially as a liberal arts major!) but the archival research experience strengthened my desire to pursue a long term career in international relations analysis with a focus on the Middle East North Africa.

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