For most of my life I have hated myself for being a Muslim. Of course, Muslims aren’t allowed to have feelings of contempt for themselves as Muslims or for the Ummah, the worldwide fraternity of Muslims. It goes against our cultural make up. We are to stand loyally with the Ummah, no matter what it says or does. It is almost as if the Ummah was an independent entity producing its own thoughts, like a beehive with a brain. These thoughts are of course invariably objective and infallible. Therefore, whatever feelings of self-loathing we experience must be an aberration, a mere abnormality brought about by secret sympathies for the West (the arch enemy of the Ummah!) or by a passing moment of a lapse of faith. No, Muslims aren’t allowed to self-loathe at all. We are to suppress that feeling deep down where it would not threaten the façade of the singular, united Ummah.

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