two statements that are not mutually exclusive

I'm a European.

The flat, grey, wet Lowlands, far from being Europe at its most resplendent, i call home. The dull canals reflecting oppressive cloud-builded skies, industrial edgelands eating up the park-like woodland that's left; it is cold; it is wet; it is an insignificant marshland corner of a great continent with blood on its hands. Nevertheless, each part is a gateway to the whole: in dreams, the squares and streets of former 19th century suburbs of my native town open up into the alleys of Rome and London, in which the coffee-houses of old Vienna stand undemolished before a backdrop of Paris untainted by Haussman's brutalities. How many Roman roads, combs, horses and urns form strata under the asphalt beneath my feet? How many strangers in the street are here because they are descended from Royalist refugees from Robespierre's terrorized France? How many Sefardím contributed to this city's wealth before being slaughtered? All this bloody history is mine - is what i live with, and in; and call home.


I'm a Muslim.

Singular blossom of the harsh, parched desert peopled by vast unseen legion of djinn, my religion does not exist in the achievements of the astronomers and doctors of ancient Baghdad; it is not exalted by algebra or alchemy or azimuth, found and named in its lands; it does not partake of any of its conquests, not Toulouse, not Andaluz  - not while the beggar remains unfed, the homeless unsheltered, the overfed unscolded. Not until mercy reigns will there be anything other than desert; harsh, parched desert under the indifferent eye of modernity's scorching sun, until we remember that God is calling us home, not to nations, states, and land, but to Him.