The train stopped at Mount Baker Station, the doors opened, and in walked Jesus Christ. He stood there like it ain't no thing. But after a moment of looking at him, a look I did not hide, I saw that Jesus was actually the local South Asian and Muslim American rapper Jamil Suleman. But why was he looking/dressed like Jesus? I could not help think about the two Muslims suspected of committing terrorists acts this weekend. One was a Somali immigrant in St. Cloud, Minnesota; the other, an Afghan immigrant in New Jersey. Was Suleman—who besides being Muslim is a Black Lives Matter activist, a youth educator, and one of the most progressive headz in local hiphop—being provocative along these lines? The bombs and stabbings? The Trump-triggered explosion of Islamophobia?
"Basically, what I realized is I kind of look like Jesus," he explained as the train approached Beacon Hill Station, "and also as a South Asian Muslim male, I thought it was important to show a Jesus who did not look white. Then there is the fact the US is a Christian nation. 70 percent or something like that. But when you look at how American society works, you realize that it really does not follow the teachings of Jesus. This is what I call a work of moving art about that. About the real Jesus. "
When I asked him if the performance was for Link passengers, he explained he was actually heading to City Hall to participate in a council meeting. He was going take his democratic minute to address the absurd plans for the North Seattle bunker-style police station (the plans of which were suspended by the mayor and three council members on September 15—but the suspension, many feel, is not enough) and the absurdity of homelessness in a city as rich as ours, one of the fastest growing cities in the nation and world.
"I'm going to come in as this character and speak as this character, speak according to what he preached. I will try to keep it brief..." Moments before we approached Stadium Station, he said: "Now, I understand this is a risqué performance piece. And I have gotten a lot of shit already. I mean, look at some of people on this train. They are a little freaked out. But I have got a lot of support too. So, I'm going stick with it because, you know, we live in dramatic times."
When I asked him about the recent bombings allegedly committed by Muslims, he said: "First, Jesus is the most quoted prophet in the Koran. But you know, I was born and raised a Muslim. I'm not a practicing Muslim, but the situation. The way it is. I can't avoid being religious. I'm very Muslim now. There is no going away from it at this day and time."
And before walking out of the train at Pioneer Square Station, he said: "I will have a Tinder account as Jesus soon. You can follow me there."