Bad Muslim

Bad Muslim

Do not project your fear

onto my body


I will not hold your hand

and reassure you

I have no intention of killing you

I will not coddle your

fear or accept guilt

by association

I have no interest in

reassuring you

not all of us are like that


I will not apologize

for your parochialism

your provincialism

or your ignorance

for your inability to


violence unless

a tv box or a hashtag

numbs your mind with it
I will not mourn with you

because you don’t even


how to acknowledge

my many deaths

I will not affirm

that your grief

and your loss

is more painful

or more significant

or more terrifying

than the grievances you

have never even heard of

than the grievances you refuse

to recognize as grievances


I will tell you instead

what it feels like

to watch your

Pundits and your Experts

extoll the virtues of

Killing All Muslims

of deporting everyone on

security lists with names

like mine

I will tell you

how much terror

your vaunted fear


how it pierces my skin

coils around my cranium

burrows under my parietal

bones makes it difficult

to breathe

to think

to wake up

in the morning

how it grows inside me

this infinite terror

because you think

your fear is

so special

so singular

so unique

it justifies the

rivers of blood

in places

you still don’t know

how to find on a map


I will not apologize

until every single european

apologizes for the massacres

holocausts genocides famines

committed in your names

until you personally apologize

for palestine kashmir algeria the


for drawing lines

in the sand

that still fester

like bloody wounds

will refuse to apologize

until every single american

personally apologizes for discovering

this continent

by washing it in the


of it’s original inhabitants

for slavery the kkk

plantations japanese internment

camps the trail of tears

for the burnings

hangings lynchings

of Black bodies

for policemen

who still don’t know

innocence and Blackness

can exist

in the same body

for rectal feedings and

unaccountable disappearances

abu ghraib and fallujah

for torture that still doesn’t


as torture for terror that rises and

rises and rises

I will not apologize

because nothing I can say

will ever suffice for you

because you have already

proven your inability

to hear my many


because even

my 1,600,000,000 deaths

won’t quench your fear


I’m a bad Muslim

and I will never again


for the bitter taste of

your fear in my mouth

Asam Ahmad is a writer who still has a hard time trusting words. He coordinates the It Gets Fatter project and lives in Toronto. He is a contributor to Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence.


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