To me, no matter what political issues we have with America, it is undoubtedly the most beautiful place to have grown up in. I don’t mean that in the blind patriotic sense like, “America is the greatest country on earth!” way.
Rather, if you tear America down to its core, its bare bones, the skeleton, America is the most beautiful country to live in. It’s about coexistence and harmony, about tolerance and mutual respect. It’s about loving thy neighbor.
Each and every one of us, whether Muslim or not, wants the same thing for themselves and their children. Each one of us is on our own path to find our American dream. Many of us, immigrants, left behind countries that inflicted restraints on us for irrational reasons, whether it was long followed by suffocating cultural traditions or actual laws. We left all that behind to rebuild our own identities and our own communities, void of the restrictions.
Our motherland isn’t the country that our grandfathers lived in but the country that our children will be buried in.” – Yasir Qadhi
It’s a scary time to be Muslim in America, and that’s not something I felt even in the days that followed 9/11. Every time I step out of my house I am a little more aware of my surroundings, I pull my hijab a little tighter and I’m a little more conscious of the looks I get, trying to brush them off with minimal eye contact and a smile.
This is an ugly period in American history, with the recent shooting that took Micheal Brown’s life in Ferguson, Missouri and Trayvon Martin’s of Sanford, Florida, followed by all the police brutality of last year.
These incidents and more unfortunate ones have left many in the Muslim community and beyond reeling. I see nothing but beauty in the way the families of the victims have handled such an immense loss. The grace, the peace and their grief that they have openly shared with us all has been nothing but a source of strength to the community.
Other events have followed, verified and unverified hate crimes against Muslims, but the message we should all be taking from this is that hate is not to be answered with hate. The families of Deah, Yosar and Razan have set an example in the way we should be responding; with patience and unity. Let the premature deaths of the three Chapel Hill victims be the cause of bringing together our very fragmented American society.
Muslim or not, black, white, or brown, let us come together and understand each other so we can all continue to make America a country where our children won’t feel like they are walking targets.
Let’s stop pointing finger at this group or that, keeping our sensibilities as we move forward. Let us keep the hope alive for an even better America.
Atiya Hasan is the Editor in Chief at Brown Girl Magazine. She currently lives in Houston, TX and has just graduated from medical school. She is all about female empowerment through education and the importance of understanding their rights and sexuality. She is scheduled to be published in an upcoming anthology titled “Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay” and is part of the I Speak for Myself series. In her free time, Atiya enjoys consuming large amounts of chocolate and TV shows.