When Rod Wave said, “Heart been broke so many times I don’t know what to believe,” I felt it.
It’s sixth grade. We’re reading an article on terrorist attacks. Why do they have to make me look bad? I can’t help but look at my lap while sitting on the carpet with the rest of the class. “It’s people like HER!” I feel like the sun, about to blow up and —
It’s ninth grade, and I hear from a friend that someone has hatred for Pakistanis. Why do they have to make me look bad?
By now, I’ve had time to reflect on my belief in myself and my religion, and after writing and saving my thoughts, I’ve come up with the answer to my taunting question: They’re not like me. I pray, hoping that one day, no Muslim will have to think twice before saying their religion out loud. I used to do just that, although I’m not afraid anymore.
The media has a bigger role in this than anyone would ever know. From portraying Muslims as filled with hatred to portraying us as terrorists, people only believe what they see on the news. No one pays attention to the educated woman who’s ready to start her independent life, or the young boy donating to charity because his religion encourages it. It’s up to you to make your rare, special image known. No singular type of person should be on a magazine cover or working in the kitchen all day, and when representation is served, it shouldn’t be appalling, it should be adapting.
No religion teaches hate. After Eid prayer, everyone in the mosque embraces each other, no matter if you’re Chinese, African, or Pakistani because we all unite to celebrate on a special day. I think that’s so powerful, that because you are under the same roof, you’re able to say, ‘Eid Mubarak!”.
We can all see success once we unite and include everyone. Speak up, and don’t do it for the terrorists killing innocent lives, do it for your old self. The self that believed you were from a “troubled” community. The self that believed it wasn’t “cool” enough to tell your teacher or friend you couldn’t wear clothes that exposed certain parts of you. Do it for those who, like you, have a willingness to show who Muslims really are, but can’t because they’re in concentration camps. Society this, society that — YOU are a member of society, don’t talk about it like it’s a friend who drifted away. Society won’t change until you do your part. The “It is what it is” saying only works to an extent, and the “I will sacrifice my life for Pakistan” girl will never back down from who she is. Also, banning shows, videos, and more never hides the truth, and never will. Not allowing others to be educated on inclusivity will only breed exclusion.
It’s tenth grade. Everyone on Earth has a purpose, and one of mine is to stand tall and proud. Being blessed as Muslim, I feel it is my duty and have taken it upon myself to advocate for Muslims around the world.
Don’t be ashamed of your deen because of other’s people’s hatred or biases. You aren’t accountable to them; you are only accountable to Allah.