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Being a Muslim in the Post 9/11 World

Eliza Yass and Abbey Fernandez
Amina in her traditional hijab, which she wears when praying.

Just a little more than a decade ago an American Muslim woman could walk through the streets of New York with a hijab (headscarf) feeling comfortable and accepted. Today she walks with everyone’s eyes glued on her with hateful stares, suspicious glares, fear, paranoia and treated like she’s a terrorist.

Welcome to our post 9/11 world, where Muslims have been living under stereotypes for twelve years.

At first, I had no doubt that the Boston explosions were done by Muslims, but just like every other American Muslim I prayed the two suspects would not prove the common stereotype and be Muslim.

“Authorities say the two suspects are Russian.”

They can’t be Muslim, thank God.

“The two suspects are of Chechen origin.”

Maybe they could be Muslim…

 “Chechenia is pro dominantly a Muslim region”

I am not angry at Americans who called Muslims terrorist. I believe Americans are not educated on the true meaning of Islam. So as a Muslim American, I feel like I am obligated to inform Americans that Islam does not promote violence. It is the exact opposite, Islam promotes peace.

A verse in the Qur’an (the holy book for Muslims) says that anyone who saves one life is equivalent to saving all mankind. But anyone who has killed another person is equivalent to killing all mankind.

Islam should not be perceived as to what groups like Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and people like Osama Bin Laden believe in. They are Islamic extremists. And believe in everything that is forbidden in Islam.

We live under the same fear everyday as America. We are afraid to go on an airplane without going through “random passenger checking,” we are afraid to wear a headscarf  to the grocery store, we afraid to go to Friday prayers.

When the suspect of a crime is Muslim, the entire Muslim-American community is labeled

Stereotypes will never define Islam.

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About the Contributor
Amina Abdul-kareem, Staff Writer
The brutal capture and murder of James Foley shook America, but it has not dissuaded journalists or budding activists from the concept of traveling to unstable countries, especially not Amina Abdul-Kareem. “Danger excites me,” she puts simply, “I think the best reporting can be done when you’re actually at the scene yourself.”  Even at the age of ten, Amina ignored danger to find out if a rumor of cannibalism around her estate in Kenya was really true.  “My uncle told us we weren’t allowed to play outside, but me being me, I snuck out and found out what was really happening for myself.” Amina, a daring and curious senior at Staples High School, was born in Dubai and moved to America when she was a year old.  Even though she had family from many different parts of the world in addition to Kenya, Amina did not always feel very connected to her ethnicity “Growing up, I kinda felt lost, I didn’t have any connection to my Somali roots.”  On the pursuit of finding herself, Amina has taken the Staples African Studies class and dedicated herself to fully appreciating her culture. In an effort to do exactly that, next summer, Amina and her cousin will be traveling around the Horn of Africa to Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya to fully immerse themselves in their African backgrounds.  “We’re both in the middle of an identity crisis,” she says of her and her cousin, “that’s what we call it.” Amina may be in the middle of a cultural “crisis”, but she is very confident in her future career path.  “I want to pursue a job in the medical field so I can go back to Somalia and help the people who are suffering from famine and poverty.”  A very laudable ambition; Amina is set on getting her medical degree in nursing after graduating from Staples in 2015. Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world, but Amina’s passion for helping others is stronger than the fear of risking her life.  The real threat of being kidnapped in unstable third world countries does not cause Amina to falter, even considering the circumstances of Tom Foley’s demise.  As Veronica Roth might say, fear doesn’t shut Amina down; it wakes her up.

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