Dear Mr. Blow,
I wanted to take a moment of your time to respond to your article in the DMN from Thursday, Sept. 2. You see, my wife and I were the Muslim couple that everyone including yourself is referring to from the Cowboy game.
My name is Hujefa Vora. I am a physician at Arlington Memorial Hospital. My wife is an elementary school teacher. Your article refers to us as a "Middle Eastern couple," when in fact I'm American-born and my wife is Canadian-born. We would refer to ourselves as Muslim-Americans.
My wife Insiyah and I have been loyal Cowboy fans for many years. We go to several games a season. I always wear my topi (religious hat) and my wife has a specially-designed and self-made Dallas Cowboy rida (covering). The Monday night game against the Titans was the first time we have ever made it to the JumboTron. We were elated.
In reality, we didn't hear the "booing and hissing" at the game. We were sitting in Section 24, and when the people around us saw our picture on the JumboTron, they cheered and applauded rabidly for us to win. That's really the great thing about all the Cowboy games we've been to. The fans have always embraced us as Cowboy fans. We have never felt "different."
We first heard the "booing and hissing" stories from several of our friends who were sitting in other parts of the stadium. The stories were confirmed by the letter to the editor from Wednesday and your article on Thursday. There was also a segment about the incident on SportsRadio 1310 on Wednesday morning. Your article was very well-written, and I believe the point was very well-made.
My wife and I were appalled by what we've heard/read. We have always felt very safe from racism at Cowboy games. Being a fan gives you something in common with everyone else at the game, everyone is rooting together for America's team.
I would like something positive to come of all this. I want people to know that we are Muslim, but we are also Americans. We are very proud Americans. This land is a nation of immigrants. My parents came to this country more than 30 years ago in search of a better life. They found it here. They raised me to love this country. At every game, we stand with everyone else when the national anthem is sung. We salute our flag every morning.
As Dawoodhi-Bohra Muslims, we are taught by our religious leader to be tolerant of everyone around us. We are taught to embrace the countries we live in, and the people we live with. I love this country and am a very proud Muslim-American. Our diversity makes us all Americans. Our ability to embrace our differences and respect each other's individuality makes us Americans. Being an American, this is the tie that binds us all together, regardless of race, religion, creed, sex, etc.
I think that this is an important point to make. I don't want the Cowboys organization to think twice about putting someone of different race, religion, etc. onto their broadcasts. They too should embrace the diversity of their fan-base. We were very proud to appear on the JumboTron that day. We would do it again if they'd let us. The booing and hissing is a symptom of a bigger problem in America. People don't seem to view Muslims as Americans. To some degree, all of the media outlets (including your article) have referred to my wife and I as outsiders. We are not outsiders. We are everyday Americans who decided on a whim to spend an evening at Texas Stadium watching our favorite team. We were honored to be chosen to appear on the JumboTron with a woman holding a sign and a group of American soldiers. We're proud that the soldiers won the contest. We too gave them a standing ovation. They deserve it. They work hard to defend and preserve our freedom, our right to watch a football game in peace.
I would like to discuss this further with you if at all possible. I would like there to be something even more positive to come of this. I would like people to see Muslims as Americans, not something different.
Thank you for your time, and your article.
Sincerely yours, Hujefa Y. Vora, MD Dallas, TX
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
Letter to the Editor of the Dallas Morning News
My friend Hujefa has written the following letter to the editor of the Dallas Morning News, in response to the incident at the Cowboys game to which I referred earlier.