“Hey, my man, I need to talk with you right now about something very important. Can I come sit with you?”
We had been living in Mankato for four or five months when our neighbor, Mohammed, stopped me in the hallway of the apartment complex.
“Oh! Of course, come on in!”
Mohammed and I walked quickly to my door, and shouted to my girlfriend at the time that we had a guest! He sat with us at the kitchen table for about an hour, explaining how it is a sin, in Islam, for a neighbor to disturb the community. We never explained to him that we weren’t married.
“Oh don’t worry about it, your kids are fine! We love them!” explained my ex, ever compassionate and understanding. There were four neighbor kids, and some nights it seemed like they were taking a running start and launching themselves into the wall between us and them. Lots of laughing. Lots of crying. We were part of it all! .
However, I also did not believe that was something worth sending a family to eternal damnation for. We graciously accepted Mohammed’s apology, as well as a brief introduction to Islam.
Mohammed and his family are from Somalia. He and I both work in Gaylord, MN. He works at the local food processing plant, and I work at the county government center. We talked about carpooling for split second, but he has to be to work by 5:00AM, and I don’t have to be there until 8:00AM. He goes in there every day and supports his family. His wife works at one of the medical centers in Mankato. They seemed like great people that are raising some great children, if a little energetic!
I broke up with my girlfriend and moved out about a month after our meeting with Mohammed. I still have the copy of the Quran he lent me and have half a mind to read it! I wish him and his family all the best.