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As A Muslim Teen
People ask her why she wears "that rag" on her head. Or if she's hot because she's not wearing skimpy clothes during the summer.
However, Fatima Dawaan, an 18-year-old from New York City, says she hasn't faced any discrimination as a Muslim in high school.
She isn't really different than anyone else, though her style of dress may be more conservative. She wears a head covering, a khimar, and shows as little skin as possible. As a Muslim, she believes that Muhammad (not Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad) was the last messenger.
She lives by the Qur'an-- a book containing the message of God, Allah, much like the Bible. Over 975 million followers all over the world study the Qur'an.
"A lot of people think that being Muslim means that you cannot have a life and that is totally not true," she says. "The only thing that some of my friends do that I cannot, that is thought of as a sin, is eat pork. Muslims are just strict.
"We believe in staying pure until marriage and I do not think that there is anything wrong with that - in any religion. We cannot have a boyfriend or girlfriend. If we want to go out with someone of the opposite sex, we have to go out as a group so no one is put into a situation where he or she feels uncomfortable and cannot control the outcome.
"We cannot drink alcohol because we believe that there is no point in intentionally drinking something that takes away your self control and your ability of making rational decisions.
"I have to make salah [pray] five times a day."
Dawaan says that because her high school, Science Skills High School, had "a good amount of Muslims," she hasn't really had any extreme tests of her faith.
"There was even a place for us to make salah. The principal understood what Islam was about and did anything that he could to help out," she says.
The hardest part was during the month-long Ramadan fasting observance. Muslims don't eat during daylight hours. "Seeing people eat in your face all day long, but once you get used to the fact, it becomes more simple."
Some Muslim youth, she says, can't handle the pressure of their beliefs. "Peer pressure gets to them. Some people I know, mostly girls, fall astray because they can't handle dressing differently. They take off their khimars or wear tight or short clothing. Muslim girls, women have a strict dress code."
When asked if she
considered other religions, Dawaan said no. "I have been living
in this religion for all of my life. I have not seen another religion
that I am interested in. I like being Muslim.
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