I visited Louisville KY in last week of August 2015 on a purely personal visit, no business at all. That was my first ever visit to USA. The only purpose was to see my email friends (all Christians). We had been friends for over 14 years.
I am a Muslim, 70 years old man not a business person, a rich guy, some spiritual personality or something but I was treated with great respect and love. I lived with them for about 2 weeks, in their house in absolute harmony. My host took two weeks off from Job and was so happy to show me around the city, to almost every worth seeing place including Mammoth Caves at their expense. Five of their friend families also invited me for dinner and were very happy to meet me. They also took me to Cincinnati where we stayed for 3 days with another Christian family in a very friendly atmosphere. The heart felt respect that all of them (both males and females) gave me could not have bought that even for a million dollars. I could clearly see the positive shine and reflection of love on their faces when they met me. You know why? The answer is that it was all based on mutual respect, no material interest. I was somewhat unsure before leaving for USA but just after few days I felt very much at home and did not worry even for a moment that I was thousands of miles away from my homeland among those whom I was meeting in person for the first time. Those feelings were the result of the way I was being treated and hosted.
My hosts also arranged my lecture on homeopathy to Louisville Esoteric Society. Members of the society also honored me and treated me with respect and love. That was my first ever lecture in a foreign country. The visit to them was very short but was a pleasure being with that beautiful community. There I got new friends too.
Some of the people that I met asked questions about Islam, Pakistani culture and customs etc. but without even a trace of prejudice, hatred or suspicion; that was just for information. My religion was not an issue for them and similarly their religion did not bother me because we had known each other for long. When they invited me, they knew that I am a Muslim and similarly I knew that I would stay with a Christian family. I have always respected Christianity because I know it is a Divine religion. On both sides there were absolutely no feelings of wars between religions. My eating habits were different to theirs but they took special care to avoid what my religion does not allow me to eat or drink. They respected my feelings and I respected theirs. They were unhappy to see me off and so was I while leaving them. They insisted that I must visit them again.
During the whole visit, I met lots of other people at various places like shopping malls, parks and restaurants etc. but did not find a single person giving me dirty looks or expression of disliking. However, one odd exception is always there but that does not represent the majority. One of the security persons on Chicago airport on my return journey was a bit rude but I did not mind that because may be that he was upset at that time for something. Overall it was a pleasant experience and I returned with enhanced feelings of friendship and very pleasant memories. I do not know if I would ever be able to go there again but those beautiful memories will stay with me.
The lesson is that prejudice never wins friendship, mutual respect does. I have never seen a person or a group that encourages prejudice and hatred and still gains respect. One should stay away from all shades of prejudice.
Muhammad Akram Khan, Reiki Master/Teacher