Being Muslim | TeenInk

Being Muslim MAG

July 20, 2012
By writingrocks GOLD, Brooklyn, New York
writingrocks GOLD, Brooklyn, New York
16 articles 23 photos 145 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others."


People are afraid of me.

Why are they afraid of me, you might ask? A rare disease? Hideous scars? Vile breath? I reply, with a smile on my face, that it puzzled me at first, too. But now I know. People think worse about me than that. Much worse. But I've learned. And I know that it isn't me. They're just scared of differences.

You know, I do have the freedom of religion. Created by of two clauses, granted by the First Amendment that says the government can't trump one religion over another. Equality, right? Okay, I guess most people get that. Or do they?

Well, the second clause allows people do whatever are the requirements of their religion. I would think most people got that, too, until terrorists from halfway across the world planned these horrible attacks that threw Americans into fear. I was scared, just like any other person might be. And suddenly, the translation of terrorists became Muslims. Because the terrorist group who planned the attacks was Muslim.

I mean, the whole nation wasn't hating. Just some people. I was five in 2001, but I still felt the discrimination. And there really wasn't any explicit reason for it. If I didn't wear it, then people would have probably ignored me. It was another way for them to label me. Now you'll ask me what that “it” is. And I'll tell you.

A hijab. Otherwise known as a headscarf or veil, and of course, the derogatory terms, like towel head, ­diaper head, turban, and whatnot. Whatever it's called, it has a very important place in my life. For some, it's a choice: Yeah, I'll wear it when it's the right time, or I'm getting to the age when I think I should. But those who do wear it are viewed as suppressed women forced to wear it because the sexist, fundamentalist men who rule their household say they must. Not true, people. Totally not true.

I'm a Muslim girl who was born and raised in Brooklyn. I'm turning 16 and starting my junior year in the fall. My parents are from Bangladesh. So, that's pretty much my bio. But there's a lot hiding behind that bio. The first thing people see is the Muslim part of me. Some of the stereotypes include that I don't speak English, don't know how to dress like an “American,” am a terrorist, and eat smelly foods. Well, the last one might be true. But other than that, stereotypes have degraded me to no end.

I'm a practicing Muslim. I pray five times a day, stick to the rules, fast when it's time, and wear my hijab. This is how my life as a teenager is led. (And possibly will be, depending on choices I make in the future.) And I can do all that because of the freedom granted by the First Amendment.

That brings me back to that question. Why are people scared of me? I'm as harmless as a fly, even though I may not look it without makeup. Honestly, I think people are not scared of Muslims as a whole. They are scared of ­differences.

I'm pretty sure all of us have met at least one Muslim who ­wasn't a terrorist. Hey, you're reading the work of a non-terrorist Muslim right now. And let me tell you something else – those terrorists made their interpretation of our sacred book, acted upon it, and live in a whole different hemisphere. So why put all Muslims in the same group?

People think that the ideals presented in Islam are very different from American ideals. Actually, they aren't. And let me tell you something else. Muslims are all different races. They have different backgrounds but share the same book and abide by its rules. And isn't that true for Americans too? And I'm not talking about the book-and-its-rules part here. This American I speak of isn't a race, but to some, it's simply one classification. People need to face the fact that America is made up of many different ethnicities and customs.

And it hurts me to see that even those in my community, who are so diverse, are prejudiced against me. Me, my religion, my hijab. And those are all my choices. The choices I made because I had the freedom. You can see that I'm not doing anything to hurt people.

You know, that may be the choice of those narrow-minded people, but I hope they change their minds. They have the freedom to befriend and understand – as I, among many other individuals – had the freedom to make my choice about religion. These choices can decide the future of generations. These choices affect everyone, because who knows when hatred among people accelerates into other actions? Making the right choice is not only about us, it's about everyone. The way someone thinks and the choices they make are so important.

Who knows what the future holds? I already made my choice. Now it's your turn.


The author's comments:
I'm really tired of all the stereotypes surrounding different people and I want those very ignorant individuals out there to understand that there are differences in ideas that they are going to have to learn how to live with.

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This article has 81 comments.


on May. 9 2013 at 2:14 pm
Someone2know BRONZE, Council Bluffs, Iowa
4 articles 2 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
Dont let your insecurities ruin the beauty you were born with.(:

This is Beautiful.. Great job :)

on May. 8 2013 at 10:05 pm
writingrocks GOLD, Brooklyn, New York
16 articles 23 photos 145 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others."

Thanks for understanding!

on May. 8 2013 at 7:04 pm
writingrocks GOLD, Brooklyn, New York
16 articles 23 photos 145 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others."

Thanks so much!

on May. 8 2013 at 4:22 pm
writingrocks GOLD, Brooklyn, New York
16 articles 23 photos 145 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others."

Thanks so much!!!

on May. 8 2013 at 4:22 pm
writingrocks GOLD, Brooklyn, New York
16 articles 23 photos 145 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others."

Thanks so much for your feedback!

on May. 8 2013 at 10:21 am
Little_Blue_Lights SILVER, Cleveland, Ohio
8 articles 1 photo 7 comments
 I've always tried to be resonable when I'm with people from other views. I remember a girl I met at leadership camp who was Muslim, but that isn't how I rememeber her. I remember her as a girl who was funny, friendly. intelligent and Muslim. I can't understand anyone who would write off a group -any group- as "all the same" or "evil" or "dangerous." While I may not see eye to eye with them, it doesn't mean respect isn't possible. This peice of writing is really well thought out and well written. You don't condem anyone, even though they fear you. You tell how you feel and how your religion is importaint to you. This is written in a very colloquial tone. I'm not sure if that is good or bad, or if that is what you intended. It was humorous without being condecending or laying it on too thick. Good work! I like how this was written. It covers a hot topic without lambasting anyone, but rather a correction of conduct and who you -as an indiviual- feel.

on May. 7 2013 at 8:45 pm
iluvrockandroll2 PLATINUM, Tinton Falls, New Jersey
22 articles 0 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you're wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn't love you anymore."
— Lady Gaga

I love your writing!! Its awful that this country can be so ignorant sometimes, and cannot see that not all muslims are "terrorists" and it is only an intrepretation.  Keep it up :)

on May. 7 2013 at 4:19 pm
writingrocks GOLD, Brooklyn, New York
16 articles 23 photos 145 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others."

Go for it!!! Let me know how it comes out when you're done!!! :P 

on May. 7 2013 at 4:18 pm
writingrocks GOLD, Brooklyn, New York
16 articles 23 photos 145 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others."

Thank you so much!!! I absolutely want to read your fact-based commentary. It sounds really interesting. Do let me know when you finish!!! ;P

on May. 7 2013 at 2:30 pm
SaphiraBrightscales DIAMOND, Islamabad, Other
75 articles 16 photos 1143 comments

Favorite Quote:
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
- Maya Angelou
When i was little/I used to point a chubby finger toward the dark sky/And ask my father/why some stars moved and others didn’t/He would laugh and explain that some were airplanes/I still wish on them today ~ Laugh-It-Out
The feathers of a crow are black/The ink of my pen is blacker/The pain of my heart is blackest~ Mckay
If love produced a blossom/I’d take it in my palm/What a blessing, the bright color!/How soothing, such a balm!/I’d keep a petal for my own/The rest, drop from my hands/For such a flower would multiply/And populate the lands~ thesilentraven
And I began to rival legends/Long entombed before my birth./But for all my much envied fame/The lust for more would not abate./The plaques and prizes with my name/Will, like all things, disintegrate. ~ TheEpic95 now known as Helena_Noel

Assalam-o-Alaikum! , there! Hey girl, this article and the honesty and sincerity with which you said all this truly made me proud. Telling people how this isn't the true Muslim picture, the one they have painted for everyone to see..I I'm soon going to write this article about the origins and history of the Taliban and how they ended up being related to Muslims and also how all terrorists aren't Muslims.. I'll let you know when I do, cause I sure hope you read it.... It will mostly be based on facts I've gathered but also obviously side-by-side commentry by me... :P  . This also made me realize how in so many ways I am lucky. At least here, we don't have to feel that way, people here want to go to America, and though it must be an amazing place... every place has its own flaws... I hope by reading your article and others like it, these prejudiced ones might , might change their views,, I sure think you have convinced some if not too many and that in itself is something amazing. Also your writing was truly enlightening and at the same time got me hooked. I loved loved loved reading this. I hope to show to many other people! You make me proud girl. You do. 

on May. 7 2013 at 11:12 am
Dreamer_ SILVER, Milton On, Other
7 articles 10 photos 69 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We're all mad here" ~ Cheshire Cat

"Whats your dream?"
"To go, away." ~ Surfs Up.

Really well done! I'm glad you got this out there, what with all the news going on about us muslims. I totally agree with your views and hope it changes other peoples views on islam :)

on May. 6 2013 at 9:39 pm
AbbaDabbaDoo PLATINUM, Mountain Grove, Missouri
43 articles 6 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
Some folks are wise and some are otherwise. I guess we know which one you are.

Thank you, and you're most welcome! Maybe I will write a poem, thanks for the idea. I love poetry.

on May. 6 2013 at 6:06 pm
writesomethingalways PLATINUM, Pueblo West, Colorado
21 articles 7 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing." ~Benjamin Franklin

You're welcome! Keep up the awesome writing! :)

on May. 6 2013 at 4:29 pm
writingrocks GOLD, Brooklyn, New York
16 articles 23 photos 145 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others."

That little part would be a really good poem, if you wanted to write one. Thanks for the feeback!

on May. 6 2013 at 4:27 pm
writingrocks GOLD, Brooklyn, New York
16 articles 23 photos 145 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others."

Thanks so much for your feedback!

on May. 6 2013 at 3:22 pm
writesomethingalways PLATINUM, Pueblo West, Colorado
21 articles 7 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing." ~Benjamin Franklin

Very well written, and I completely agree with what you said. Although I think it is safe to say that most terrorists are Muslims, that does not mean most Muslims are terrorists. In fact, most Muslims are just trying to live their life happily like anyone else, and even though I do not agree with the religion, I agree wholeheartedly that they should be able to worship who they please. I also do not think that people should shun Muslims because of their differences. While the hijab can be intimidating because we aren't used to seeing it, it shouldn't be a boundary for frienships between Muslims and non-Muslims. Wonderful article! You are a very talented writer! :) I think this will make many people think!

on May. 6 2013 at 6:43 am
SimranRazdan GOLD, Hyderabad, Other
10 articles 0 photos 34 comments
"I never said change was easy" whose being pessimistic now ? And hey! that's according to your own judgement."change not being easy" is exactly what I meant by "it will take a lot of effort". It was just phrased differently. Kindly do not accuse someone of being pessimistic when they offer honest opinion. Do think before you call someone something. :) This discussion is closed from my end.

on May. 5 2013 at 8:31 pm
AbbaDabbaDoo PLATINUM, Mountain Grove, Missouri
43 articles 6 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
Some folks are wise and some are otherwise. I guess we know which one you are.

So true! One thing I would like to say, although this may just be me. I think there are no "races." There is the human race, according to science and many beliefs. We are all the same. We bleed, cry, love, laugh. We think, feel, breath the air. There is not one person on this earth better than another person. You're right, Writingrocks. We are all the same and all unique at the same time.

on May. 5 2013 at 9:13 am
writingrocks GOLD, Brooklyn, New York
16 articles 23 photos 145 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others."

Typo: no "it" after "want"

on May. 5 2013 at 9:10 am
writingrocks GOLD, Brooklyn, New York
16 articles 23 photos 145 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others."

Maybe because when people are trying to make ignorant people understand something, they just don't want it to listen. BTW, I never said change was easy. You just have to try.