Jacobson: My Somali Wife and I are Happily Raising Our Children as Muslims
Editor’s Note: Sahan Journal readers sent a flurry of hateful messages about Hani Jacobson, a Somali mother and a nurse in the town of St. Cloud, in Minnesota, after we posted an article about her on our Facebook page on Sunday.
The St. Cloud Times wrote the article showcasing how Hani is making a difference in the city’s growing Somali community. Besides being a nurse, Hani has helped teach Somalis English and basic computer skills. But many Somalis who commented on Sahan Journal’s Facebook post judged Hani based on her last name. The harsh Facebook comments became outright personal attacks, with many calling Hani a “kafir,” an infidel, and one person even going further and saying, “she deserves to be killed.”
Hani’s husband, Nathan Jacobson, has sent us this letter after he read the comments.
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I am the man called Jacobson that many of you are slandering. I have converted to Islam nearly 7 years ago. My wife and I are happily raising our children as Muslims but obviously, not having been raised in the religion and not living in a Muslim nation my experience is understandably different from many of you.
I have to admit that seeing the sort of ugliness and ignorance that many of you are capable of makes me question how much many of you understand your own deen [religion]. I don’t know where you learned that judging others, attacking them and engaging in idle gossip is a part of the religion but it most certainly is not.
As to the matter of my name, I did not change my name when I converted because it was the name my parents gave me. If I am not mistaken, Islam teaches us to honor and respect our parents.
As to the matter of my wife changing her name I have many feelings.
First of all, it is her decision and she does not need permission from anyone on this forum to change her name if she chooses. If I were to speak as ignorantly and as hatefully as many of you, I could also point to the fact that many Muslims abandon their father’s name to allow them to fraudulently enter the U.S. under another man’s name. Where in the Qur’an does it state that it is acceptable to abandon one’s father’s name in that instance?
As to the matter of my wife wearing a hijab, it again is her decision and hers alone. I know many women who dutifully wear their hijabs in public but are not half as pious as my wife. I also find it laughable that some here on this forum who have been the most vocal about my wife not wearing a hijab have Facebook profile pictures that are full of women who are similarly dressed. This is the true definition of hypocrisy.
In addition, our article was not featured in our town’s newspaper simply because my wife is married to a white man. Our community has a Somali immigrant population of nearly 10,000 and yet that population is still quite new to the area. These new immigrants have experienced a great deal of persecution and ridicule in our community in the last few years but things are finally starting to change for the better.
People like my wife are now finding positions in the hospital, we have Somali educators entering our school district and we have a Somali candidate for the city council.
These are all encouraging and exciting stories and worthy of being shared. My family did not seek to brag or place ourselves above others. We were simply asked to share our story as an example of the positive change that is taking place in our community as it is gradually becoming more accepting of others.
Many here on [Facebook] could learn a great deal from this lesson.
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