An open letter to the man who stopped me on the street to tell me that “we should have never let you n****** into this country” and then tried to hit me,
I have no anger in my heart against you. I don’t hate you. I have no bad wishes for you. I only hope that you can find in your heart the love and forgiveness that I have.
That being said, you had no right to say that to me. You had no right to make me feel unsafe on my morning walk to school. You had no right to traumatize me and to make me feel unsafe on a part of my routine. You had no right to try to hurt me. You had no right to tell me that I don’t belong here. New York City is just as much mine as it is yours. This country is just as much mine as it is yours. I have as much right to go to school here and get an education as you do.
But I am not going to justify my faith to you or anyone else.
I am sick and tired of feeling like I have to apologize for atrocities committed by people I’ve never met, like somehow it’s my fault, like somehow I have to justify myself, like somehow I have to say out loud that I am not a terrorist. It’s ridiculous and unfair.
I am a Muslim. But I am also an Egyptian, an American, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a student and most importantly, I am a human.
But instead of being treated as such, you treat me like an abstract concept, like a statistic, like a news story on suicide bombings and terrorist threats. If you got to know me or any Muslim, you’d know that we are people. We do things like everyone else, we lead lives and do normal things like drink coffee and cry over TV shows and contrary to the picture painted by popular media, the fair majority of us don’t spend our days plotting the fall of the West. We, Muslims, think these terrorists are just as crazy and sick as you do.
So please, educate yourself. Muslims shouldn’t have to keep telling the entire world who we are, and we shouldn’t have to be held accountable for the actions of perverse, lost souls who have been grossly miseducated about the Message of our Prophet.
All of which is to say, if anyone is willing to listen to me talk, I’d be glad to educate them on who Muslims really are.
The Lion is the only publication that pledges to post all submissions . To submit a piece, email firstname.lastname@example.org