I Am a 17-Year-Old Muslim and This is What Islamophobia Feels Like To Me

X Culture Magazine

Remember Amara Majeed? The woman we interviewed about The Hijab Project?

Well she just had a great piece published on Bustle about what it’s like to be a Muslim-American in an Islamophobic society. We just had to share it with you! 


I AM A 17-YEAR-OLD MUSLIM AND THIS IS WHAT ISLAMOPHOBIA FEELS LIKE TO ME

I am a 17-year-old Muslim-American living in the post-9/11 world — or as I like to call it, the era of Islamophobia.

Veiled women who submissively follow their husbands’ orders and are forbidden to drive; men with dark skin and a herd of wives around them; people who speak in a harsh Arabic tongue discussing Sharia law — these are the things that people sometimes associate with the followers of Islam. And there is another thing that some people associate with Muslims — it’s the thing that causes them to uneasily scrutinize the bearded man who…

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An Extract From Reiner Stach’s “Kafka: The Years of Insight”

Biblioklept

(Ricardo Bofill.)

The easy possibility of writing letters–from a purely theoretical point of view–must have brought ruination to the souls of the world. Writing letters is actually communication with ghosts, not only with the ghost of the recipient, but also with one’s own ghost, which secretly evolves inside the letter one is writing or even in a whole series of letters where one letter corroborates another and can cite it is a witness. How did people ever get the idea they could communicate with one another by letter! One can think about someone far away and one can hold on to someone nearby; everything else is beyond human power. But writing letters means barring oneself to the ghosts, who are greedily awaiting that. Written kisses never arrive at their destination; the ghosts drink them up along the way. This ample nourishment enables them to multiply so enormously. Mankind…

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Aside

A strange moment was when I realized the interconnected-ness that truly does exist within the inhabitants of the Earth. Now, this isn’t something that is new to me. It’s occurred to me on multiple occasions. But when the moment does arise, it hits me like a ton of bricks wrapped in pretty pink paper, it does just that, it hits. I’m thrown off into a perpetual wonderment filled with questions that are to be left unanswered. 

It’s similar to when your driving in a car, awaiting the deep sleep that is one more song away on a long trip, when you realize that every car you are passing contains human life. Life that is separate from yours, but connected now through a high way. You will never know these people, their lives are different from yours. It’s a fleeting moment. 

I recently went on the Dr. Stem show to talk about my fundraising process for the Thrive Fellowship program. I thought my stomach was going to sky rocket out of my eye socket. I sat anxious and jittery. It was a product of years of suppressing my thoughts and ideas and now being faced with the chance to speak to the general masses about myself and my inhibitions. It went fairly well, when I was able to just say what I needed to say without pretense and too much thought behind it. I spoke and hoped that I got my message through well enough. 

When I left the studio and realized that people in many different communities could possibly see my face, hear my voice, and sense my love for the work I wish to do I felt that hit all over again; it scared me. I think I will always prefer anonymity over notoriety but this was a whole new level of fear. It was just astounding to know that for about 15 minutes, my life was going to be intertwined with someone else. That they could possibly be essential in funding my trip to the Whidbey Institute to do my training. That feeling is enough to keep someone going for the rest of their life. It reminds me of why Generation Waking Up, the Pachamama Alliance, Spark 540, and myself are the way we are. We understand the connectedness and the importance of living your life in regards to that connectedness. Living within the guidelines of relativity to other humans is not the norm in American culture, but those that do foster that belief always seem to have the heart to follow through enough to create change.

I’m glad I possess the feeling of interconnectedness. On occasion, it makes human existence truly breathtaking and worthwhile.