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Muslim in America – Voices

“I constantly feel alienated in public spaces because nobody wants to be near me.”
Philadelphia, PA
I think there is probably not a general understanding of either Islam or Muslim culture in America. If you are Muslim in this country and practice Islam, then obviously you have a good understanding of the religion and culture.

However, as a Muslim in this country, I don’t really have a good understanding of any other religion besides my own, so I assume most others in America are the same way.

I think people have a fear of Islam because of the way it is portrayed in the media. Many people in America have very loose associations of Islam and Muslim culture with negative stereotypes.

When many Americans think of Islam or Muslims, they often think of the Middle East, 9/11, Al-Qaeda, terrorism, etc. It is these sorts of associations that draw out fear in people.

Muslim people are absolutely discriminated against in America. Everywhere I go, I feel people staring at me in public.

I can tell people become uncomfortable and tense when I enter a room. I constantly feel alienated in public spaces because nobody wants to be near me.

When we were younger, my sister and I went to a predominantly white school. Both my sister and I were constantly isolated, bullied, and harassed by our peers.

It got so bad to the point where we had to move schools. We are now in a much more inclusive and diverse environment, but it’s sad that it took years of harassment and bullying to get there.

Since grade school, I have not faced any direct discrimination from people around me, so I would like to say Islamophobia has gotten better over time. However, I am not entirely sure that this is true.

Just because I have not experienced any recent problems does not mean that that goes for all Muslims. I can only speak for my own experience, and not for that of others.

I can only hope that in the future, we continue to improve as a country when it comes to accepting Muslims as well as any other diversity. People, in this country, are very selfish and do not often care about others who are seen as “different” like me.

I hope that the country as a whole can learn to become more compassionate and sympathetic towards others. I hope one day to see Muslims positively represented in media and in positions of power.

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