Thursday, March 10, 2011
And honestly, Texas has been the butt of many jokes between me and my husband--we like to call it the One Star State. (Note: I've heard people wrongly say "so-and-so and I" so many times lately--they should say "and me," it almost sounds wrong to say "me" even though it's correct.)
Dallas is definitely not one of America's jewels. It seems to be known for its air pollution, football, and almost year-round heat (and now its inability to cope with winter weather) and even high crime. It's even on this list of 10 worst cities to raise a family. In general, the people aren't really that friendly (Carolina folks are nicer, in my opinion) and the scenery is just tiresome (I'm missing the picturesque horizons from Seattle, not to mention the greenery.) I hate driving around here, because despite the sign (from my honeymoon drive through Texas two Decembers ago), drivers are aggressive and either inconsiderate or oblivious to other drivers.
But there is something here which maybe isn't expected--a well-established and thriving Muslim community, including open and active masajid, and a number of well-educated scholars and imams. In fact, though my husband used to joke about hating to come visit me here in Texas, the last time he was here he remarked that Dallas actually might be a nice place to settle down--due especially to the masjid, surrounded by neighborhoods full of Muslims. Maybe that's easy to say in the middle of winter when daily highs are only rarely over room temperature, but I think it is true that Dallas is a good place for Muslims. Or maybe not Dallas specifically, but its suburbs--Irving, Plano, Richardson, Arlington, Colleyville, etc.
I'm not convinced that I'd like to settle here but I can't deny that the community is very welcoming. And while I can't disguise my eagerness to return to Seattle, some major credit should go to the leaders of the Dallas Muslim community for all their efforts to make this place such a great place for Muslims to live.