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. 5 2013 at 6:12 am
SimranRazdan GOLD, Hyderabad, Other
10 articles 0 photos 34 comments
one last question. according to you, it wouldn't take a lot to change the way things are currently. so why haven't they changed yet?  

on May. 4 2013 at 8:40 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."

So basically what I'm saying is that all Muslims aren't good, but all of them aren't bad either. The purpose of writing this was to show readers that labels and stereotypes aren't right. I hope that essentially explains everything. 

on May. 4 2013 at 8:03 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 for understanding. I just hope that my work can help change other people's views of Muslims. 

on May. 4 2013 at 7:59 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."

Honestly, I didn't see any constructive criticism about my work in your comment. You offered your opinion about the topic of my work. I said you were pessimistic because you said it would take a lot to change things. And what you just said in the last comment was actually really offensive.  

amoamare said...
on May. 4 2013 at 7:35 pm
@simranrazdan I just feel the need to say, I'm fairly certain that the author who is reponding isn't taking issue to any literary criticism you offered (I don't think you did, given that you did no speak to the story-telling itself). It's the ideological critcism he/she believes you implied based on your commentary (the "pessimism"). Your comments have spoken only to your ideologies about Islam in the world, and you should be the one who should be willing to accept back-and-forth without indoctrination being necessary to any one end of the conversation. Peace.

Miket123 said...
on May. 4 2013 at 3:31 pm
This is Beautiful.

on May. 4 2013 at 12:55 pm
SimranRazdan GOLD, Hyderabad, Other
10 articles 0 photos 34 comments
pessimistic, i mean

on May. 4 2013 at 12:43 pm
SimranRazdan GOLD, Hyderabad, Other
10 articles 0 photos 34 comments
look honey, firstly on your comment of being peesimistic. not all your readers are going to have hunky-dory things to say about your writing. what you call being "pessimistic" is called a critical review in the world of literature. get used to it. secondly, even though there "many non -muslims " as well, they don't go around blowing people up because of mis intepratation of their religion. this problem has existed for quite somewhile now. i don't see a solution from you guys either. and please, if you get all offensive on critisim, then mention so before and yoou will recieve the kind of comments you want.

on May. 4 2013 at 2:30 am
Scribbleaway. BRONZE, Karachi, Other
4 articles 0 photos 42 comments

Favorite Quote:
Paper is more patient then people. Anne Frank
“It doesn’t matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.”
“Sometimes I think books are the only friends worth having.”
“Fill your paper with the breathings of you
“Tears are words that need to be written.”

I am a muslim as well and I think this article will somehow bring a change in the thinking of people. Muslims are just human beings. Islam is the ideal religion to lead life and it tells me to be good to everyone no matter which race they belong to. So, I will be good to you no matter how you behave towards me and label me. I am a Muslim and a good person. Those terrorists however are just so called muslims. They are not following what Quran tells us to. So please, Dont label us because what they do is WRONG. Even in our eyes.  They will get their reward on the day of judgement. 

on May. 3 2013 at 4:15 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! It honestly feels so great to find someone who understands me. Keep writing! ;P

gerry SILVER said...
on May. 3 2013 at 2:49 pm
gerry SILVER, Nairobi, Other
5 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
enjoy life while still young

i certainly believe that birds of a feather belong to the same flock.so the crap behind moslem extermist terror groups may have some truth in it a really satirical religion.

khuloodf GOLD said...
on May. 3 2013 at 12:50 pm
khuloodf GOLD, Abu Dhabi, Other
11 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you can dream it, you can do it" -Walt Disney

I have tried and tried to make the same point in my writing, but I never quite knew how to phrase it. You did it perfectly, though. The mixture of seriousness and humor made you sound like a friend, and I hope that comes across to everyone who reads this! One comment I have, though, is that it should be made clear that a terrorist is a person, not a representative of a religion. No matter what yreligion you practice, you are prone to be both bad and good, so calling Muslims terrorists is totally invalid. They did it because they were bad people, not because they were Muslims. Islam was just an excuse to them, and the world chose to believe it. Amazing job. Thank you so much for writing this, and I'm glad it got published in the magazine! The more audience, the better! Keep writing :) 

on May. 2 2013 at 10:31 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."

I really appreciate the fact that people share the same opinion as me!

on May. 2 2013 at 7:51 pm
Positivity_At_Its_Finest DIAMOND, Morrow, Georgia
56 articles 2 photos 148 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is a stage, get on it and perform your best act.

thank you.... all i can say is thank you. :)

on May. 2 2013 at 7:46 pm
UndefinedBeauty GOLD, Boston, Massachusetts
19 articles 4 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
“The realities of the world affected me as visions, and as visions only, while the wild ideas of the land of dreams became, in turn,—not the material of my everyday existence—but in very deed that existence utterly and solely in itself.” -Edgar A. Poe

I am not Muslim, but this writing does speak to me on an extreme level. A buddy of mines is from Somalia, and everyone makes jokes about him and I am one who stands up for him. He is critisized, and on one occasion, they called him the Marathon Bombing suspect's brother. It really pisses me off, as a not-Muslim, that people are critisizing people of your cultures and beliefs and people who have similar cultures and beliefs. I really feel as though this writing is so powerful, It has impacted me. In a good way. I understand your cultures and beliefs a bit better now.    Seriously, Cheers to your strong voice. I wish this could be presented to a bigger audience. It is so, so, so very powerful and well written. Applauding you virtually! haha!    Warmest Regards,       A fellow writer.

on May. 2 2013 at 4:21 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."

I understand where you're coming from, and I agree to some level, as well. But I want to tell you two things: 1) Even though many of the terrorist attacks were done by Islamic fundamentalists/extremists, there are a lot of non-Muslim terrorists out there as well. 2) When someone tries hard enough and gets enough support from the people that agree with the person, then the person and those people can change this distorted, crazy, prejudiced world in which we live in. And just another thing is that I don't think what you said was racist because being racist means discriminating against race.  However, I still found it offensive because of the fact that even though you were "forced to think", you were being pessimistic.  I rest my case.

on May. 2 2013 at 9:58 am
SimranRazdan GOLD, Hyderabad, Other
10 articles 0 photos 34 comments
This article has clearly taken birth from deep thoughts and wounds. I have muslim friends too and inspite of that, I had prejudice against the community to some exent (the veil for example). I truly respect your choice , indiviuality and thoughts. But as much as it saddens me, the truth remains that majority of terrorists have been muslim. We love our families too and though everyone in the comunity is not to be blamed, the fear still remains and I'm afraid it will take a lot of effort to eradicate it. Please don't view this as a rascist comment. I come from a country where the greatest president has been a muslim. It is honest opinion. great work though. Forced me to think. :)

on May. 1 2013 at 6:41 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 know a lot of people have similar feelings, but I just needed to write it down somewhere.

on May. 1 2013 at 6:40 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! I honestly used to lose my temper when people told me really stereotypical things about Muslims, but now I understand that people are ignorant and need to be enlightened about differences in religion and religious extremism.

on May. 1 2013 at 5:17 pm
YasminB. PLATINUM, Ocala, Florida
20 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
Practice makes perfect!

I really love this!  I'm a Muslim too and I know exactly how you feel. Just plain amazing!!!!  : )