I am young Muslim woman, that was raised in a religious household, but never was obligated to wear a hijab. My parents always taught me an important lesson of life that I hold on to till this day- that if something was true and real it came from deep inside. As the years went on, I got closer to my religion and decided to wear the hijab.
The time I decided to wear my hijab, I was no longer living with my parents. I had moved back to the United States to pursue my high school education. It’s not that I couldn’t have had an education in Guinea, Africa, but I wanted more for myself. That was my biggest accomplishment. I always knew something was missing in my life but I couldn’t actually put my finger on it. When I finally started wearing my hijab, it was a like a flower bloomed in my heart, as if the sun came out after a long day of rain. I found a part of me that was hidden, when I finally started wearing the hijab. I never really doubted myself after that, my confidence grew, and I told myself that I could be whatever I wanted to be. All i need to do was be true and real with to myself and everything would come after that.
To this day, my heart is filled with worries- worried about how things are going about. The way muslims are being targeted today, which I find unfair, because all the muslims are not alike. We all have a story behind the reason for our choice of religion and the wearing of the hijab. Some are born in it, generation after generation. Some date, marry, or grow a strong friendship or connection with muslims and then convert to one. But that’s not the case anymore. Some people have to leave that part of them because of the fear that not everyone cares enough to know the story behind their choice of being muslim.
Recently in New York, a young student had to explain to another student that he was American because the other student was telling him to go back to where he was from. That was something that I felt that student shouldn’t have to explain to anyone. No one needs to share anything if they don’t want to, but just because he was muslim he got targeted. If that was me, I would have walked away as soon as he asked me the question, and reported that event to an administration, and if nothing changes after that I would go on the media to inform people about what happened to me, so that others who get harassed would not be afraid to speak out and fight for what they believe is right. I would give courage to not only muslims but everyone who is being pointed at because they are different. I would show them that they could share their story like I am, that there’s nothing more empowering than a loud and proud voice, and yes they’re not alone, and they, too, could make a change or inspire someone in their life.
Hadja is a Senior at Excel High School and a part of the Teen Voices Emerging Program. The following is a brief description of her piece:
“I wanted to write about Islamophobia because it something that I that matters to me a lot. Not because I Muslim, but because I different and I wanted everyone to know , (Muslim,Christian, male,female) that it okay to embrace your identity and to be proud of what and who you are no matter what it is. To inspire other girls and let them know it okay to have a voice of your own.”