It’s WHO I Am

Umme - Bronx, New York
Entered on June 23, 2011
Age Group: Under 18
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I vividly remember watching the twin towers collapse on 9/11. I was at home, and it was a gloomy Tuesday morning. The dreadful news took over all news stations and the smoke from the buildings could be seen from miles away. Even though I did not know much about what was going on, fear still overruled me. Several days after the attack, I overheard my parents talk about how rough life was going to be for the Muslim community because of the Muslim extremists behind the attacks. The press and media used our overall religion as a scapegoat for the events of 9/11. I felt frightened for my family. I felt afraid for what we are, rather then who we are.

I am a Muslim human being. I come from a religious family – one that takes religion as an essential security blanket and a sense of certainty in what is an uncertain world. For someone like me, who has been born and raised in a city like New York, I am more open- minded and aware of many different kinds of religions and ethnicities. In a religion like mine, we tend to follow the holy book of our lord that has been sent down by angels upon the heavens to our prophet Muhammad. Our religion is similar to the other major monotheistic religions: Judaism, and Christianity. In times such as these, its hard to stand by religion and claim my faith-especially after the events of several terrorist attacks like 9/11 that left many Americans to blame Muslims for the loss of loved ones and the twin towers. However, I believe in responsibility, but that belief comes with sacrifice. And with faith comes consequence.

Looking back now, even after so many years, I have found how Muslims all over the world have been persecuted for their religion and faith. In Kristof’s article Message to Muslims: I’m Sorry he states that: “Many Americans honestly believe that Muslims are prone to violence, but humans are too complicated and diverse to lump into groups that we form individual conclusions about” (1). In France, Muslim women are being victimized for the way they dress. Supposedly Muslim women are using religion as a way to disguise themselves from the outside world. One should not be mistreated for what religion she/he believes in. According to Gieseket, religion can be a way to “provide a powerful mechanism for anxiety relief” (1). Gieseket, in his article, proves that “religion provides what is essentially a security blanket and a sense of certainty in an uncertain world” (1). Even though we live in a world where science has evolved, I am still uncertain about many things in relation to my existence. Religion is my sense of relief from what I am not sure of. Islam offers me hope that this life is but one stage of existence. That if we do well now, then there is a chance for eternal good and well being in the afterlife. Islam provides me with a feeling of contentment and hope that nothing else in this world provides.

I believe It’s my responsibility, therefore, to stand by my faith I believe it’s my duty to shun those who are willing to bring me down because of who I am. Only responsibility will help me stand up for others who have no voice. Responsibility will offer me something true, something worth of my effort to help understand the importance of self respect. Responsibility will only bring me something that is greater than I am.