A few months ago, I took the oath and became a US citizen. Originally from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria, I grew up, lived, and worked for most of my life in these countries. I grew up under the theocratic regime of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the autocratic and repressive regime of Assad.

Although being an Iranian-Syrian is not a common combination in the region—since Arabs and Persians (or Sunni and Shia) have traditional rivalries and sometimes hold racist view against each other— I had the opportunity to grow up in both versions of Islamic religious societies: the Shia and the Sunni, as well as Persian and Arab (though some Syrians might call themselves Phoenicians).

This also allowed me to understand the on-the-ground socio-political and socio-religious platforms of these predominantly Islamic societies.

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