It’s not a question of whether Muslims are capable of warding off the rampant anti-Islamic attitude they face in Non-Islamic communities- For Muslims are indeed equipped with all the tools required for that. They just need to decode the morals and lessons inherent in their Deen. Nothing’s becoming more intriguing in our modern times than co-existence, and particularly co-existing on a strong foundation of acceptance and love. Hypothetically assume you need to place a certain object within a particular place or set of other objects. What would you need in order to execute such simple act? Well, I guess you’d need to first analyze the size of the object you have, the size or the space within which you want to place it, then see if they’d fit within each other- right? You’d also need to explore reasons why do you want from such ensue, henceforth; you sort of test the ground and analyze the realm for your action. Same course applies in reality. It’s not a question of whether Muslims are capable of warding off and bashing the rampant anti-Islamic attitude they face in Non-Islamic communities- For Muslims are indeed equipped with all the tools required for that. They just need to decode and sort of decipher the morals and lessons inherent in their Deen (religion)- ones that are intended for a superb integration into whichever communities they’d bump into or actually decide to dwell in. What needs to be brought into focus here is how practically would Muslims integrate into Non-Muslim societies, or if you’d like to call them, Western societies?- A profound look into the noble teachings of Islam would render great insights into this “challenge” if I may call it so. Otherwise Allah Almighty wouldn’t have commanded each Muslim to be a good representative of Islam, for how else would a Muslim propagate or present an ideology without getting connected to the realm where he/she wish to deliver such a noble message? For any person to sell his merchandise he’s got to prove to the people that what he has is worthwhile, and this is The Name of the Game. Presenting Islam as a worthwhile doctrine by extension means that you prove it, and by another extension dictates that you translate it into the balanced type of attitude that would integrate you, as a Muslim, into any nation, community, or culture. Islam has got its unique etiquette that would make a Muslim character well fitting and actually admired anywhere, only if he can abide by its noble teachings intended for both mental or behavioral acts. From gender interaction, financial dealings, living as a minority, to appearance, cleanness, and pursuit of knowledge, Islam has set the frame of a balanced Muslim character that’s capable of dealing pragmatically and wisely with any given social realm. A prime conception encompassing all advices for integration is “one ought to think reversely”. Let me put it differently; connecting to people’s heart and mind is the principal challenge one would face to deal with others. But if he manages to effectively achieve that, any other objective will just follow. And in order for you to do that, put yourselves in others’ shoes and think, what would make them feel comfortable dealing with you, and essentially prefer dealing with you than the rest? If you’d get them develop that sort of easiness then you’re close to integration. Personal likeness is a crucial element for any type of integration and without a doubt one that can neither be sidestepped nor compromised. It’s a common need amongst all humans, let them be of varying faiths or adherents of the same religion. The first and foremost advise I offer for a Muslim in his/her pursuit for integration is a look into the impact of Iman (faith in Allah) on one’s character. Impact of Iman Iman in Allah, His supremacy, His omnipotence, and mercy, is enough for a Muslim to have full self-confidence and peace of mind, knowing that he’s being watched over, taken care of, and protected by the Only Creator of this Universe, that is Allah (SWT)- and thus he’s safeguarded against any human control or suppression. This allows you face any turbulences you may encounter in a foreign community, one that is different in every way than what you are and come to present, wisely and firmly. And knowing that in the sight of God the pious occupies a higher and indeed elevated stature should make you feel proud, yet not pompous, and firm, yet not hard-hearted. These are essential qualities you’d need to be equipped with upon getting introduced to societies of the Other, so that you may never waver or deviate from your intended straight path. Now let’s move to another element paving the way for your integration that is behavior and having a righteous character. Behavior There’s a misconception among some Muslims that covering your religious and largely conservative character will earn you better position and make you more loved by the Other. Nothing can be farther from truth. Twisting any of part of your reality will only make you lose ground, whereas showing a firm belief in your creed and ideology is what will get others respect and trust you, and consequently believe in you. Doubt is infectious, and likewise is self-confidence- it gets transmitted to others, getting them feel you’re someone worth knowing, which is a leading factor in getting them listen to you, favor dealing with you, and may be befriending you. What will earn you a better position among others is your personal traits: your righteousness, your trustworthiness, being helpful, honest and truthful, among other good morals. Ali ibn Abi Talib once described the character of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him), saying: “The Messenger of Allah was not harsh, coarse or clamorous in the market places. He never returned evil for evil; he forgave instead.” Ali, may Allah be please with him, furthermore said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) was always cheerful, mild, kindhearted, and lenient. He was not rude, tough, clamorous, or indecent. He overlooked what he disliked; yet he would never despair of redressing it. He spared himself three things: Dispute, self-admiration, and what was none of his concern. He also refrained from three things concerning other people: He never disparaged, reproached, or sought the defects or the shortages of others.”–  Peace be upon the chief teacher of humanity Appearance Now your personal appearance and cleanness. Your appearance should not oppose your reality. Actually you should try your best making your appearance best speak of your reality. Modern theorists say dress to impress, and I add to that: dress to make a statement and deliver a message. Make your attire speak of your good self and invite others to explore more of you. And I do not mean wearing weird or provocative outfits, but rather go for an attire that’s most familiar to the community you’re living in, provided that it doesn’t involve any infringement of the Islamic code of appearance whether for men or women, which, while doesn’t impose certain cultural or traditional look, color or appeal, has to meet certain standards of modesty as known to all Muslims and most Non-Muslims. Over and above, keeping a special personal cleanness and hygiene is crucial, and may be more imperative than your fashion statement. Identity Last but not least is a matter I touched on in one of my latest articles tackling Identity Crisis.  I advise you to not confuse integration with dissolving in others’ shadow. Preserve your identity, and nurture it, you’d need more of that when you’re in a foreign land. I do not mean that you become like a stick that doesn’t bend, for there should be room for adaptation, but this has nothing to do with reversing your identity and adopting another that is not befitting the Islamic criteria. You should seek to integrate into Western or whatever foreign society, but you don’t really have to adopt their lifestyle and all it entails of direct and indirect violation of Islamic traditions and behavior. You’d not only lose your identity, but you’d more or less look like a clown, mimicking personalities while in fact looking funny. All these advices bounded should make you feel confident and have such feeling transmitted. And do not forget to always refer to Allah for support and personal aid. Supplicate and supplicate and supplicate. He (SWT) is your foremost advisor and most trusted counselor, put your sole faith in Him and He shall never fail you. Then comes your role as an advocate of your religion, a duty you should uphold as much as your capacity and intelligence allow for. You’ve certainly got to fulfill such mission but firstly you have to avail the platform, lest you make your religion and the Prophet (pbuh) subject to ridicule. Living in a foreign land that adheres to a religion that’s different from Islam doesn’t allow for explicit propagation of its teachings nor enjoining what’s good and warning against what’s evil in a direct manner as would be the case in a majority Muslim community. You’ve got to be smart and develop needed social cleverness that would allow you integrate and present Islam wisely and efficiently. Embrace your true self and set your goals clear before reaching out to the other and deal with a brand new platform and all it entails of burdens and challenges. Also have your roots firmly planted, lest you lose ground and float, putting yourself at the mercy of events, let that be at home or in foreign lands. Wassalaam, Maha Youssuf