I was a rural, Christian, home-schooled kid. Then I converted to Islam.

From Vox:

“So you’re Muslim? But wait, where are you from?”

Since converting to Islam in 2009, I have been asked this question more times than I can remember. It’s a kind of verbal squint: You look white, but…

When they aren’t satisfied with my answer — I was born in Maryland — they move on: “Okay, but where are your parents from? Your grandparents?”

They just can’t imagine a white Westerner being anything but Christian or maybe Jewish. An atheist even; that might make sense. But a Muslim? I must be hiding a secret Arab grandmother.

But the truth is, I was born into a Christian family. Then I chose to leave. I chose Islam instead.