Student VoicesBack to student voices archive May 19, 2013
“Sometimes I feel like the only Muslim in the world”
In light of news coverage that often over-emphasizes the race, ethnicity or religion of criminals and terrorists in the U.S. and abroad, some Muslim Americans have found themselves to be the target of suspicion and discrimination in their own country.
Mahin, a 7th grader from Plainfield, Illinois, writes to NewsHour Extra about his feelings on being Muslim in America and what his religion means to him.
Reuters states that, “American Muslims adherents rose to 2.6 million in 2010 from 1 million in 2000.” This statistic is surprising to me because sometimes I feel like the only Muslim in the world.
Walking into school every day is a routine. I am used to stepping through the doors and seeing four types of people; Asians, Hispanics, Caucasians and African Americans. Never do I see a Muslim. By now I am used to it, but there is a feeling of emptiness. This does not affect me greatly, but when you hear something about shootings in Pakistan by the Taliban or bombs going off, I do feel like the only Muslim in the world.
All around North Africa and the Middle-East, civil wars are taking place, bad societies are being formed, and innocent Muslims are dying. According to BBC News, a young girl named Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban on October 9, 2012 just because she was standing up for education for women and for everyone. What the Taliban does is not what Islam represents. However, many Americans associate what happens in the Middle-East as something condoned by all Muslims.
Islam is a religion that respects all others; we believe in one God and we do not associate companions with God. We believe in fairness, the fact that everyone has a choice, to be good and to be much more. Islam’s “laws” are very similar to American law. We do not believe in killing innocent children or harming them, like what the Taliban did to Malala.
It is said in the Holy Quran chapter 5 verse 32, “We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person — unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land — it would be as if he slew the whole people; and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” This means if you kill a person, unless it was because they committed a crime, it is as if you have killed a whole community. If you save a life, it is as if you saved a whole community’s life.
Islam forbids terrorism, which means that terrorists are not Muslims. They just either interpret the Holy Quran in the wrong way or have no iman. Iman is one’s belief and faith in their religion. I am not the one to say “Muslim” terrorists have no iman but why else would they attack innocent Americans on September 11, 2001?
According to CNN there are 1.57 billion Muslims in the world, but only a fraction of them are terrorists. Just because a small percentage of these 1.57 billion Muslims in the world are in the Taliban or Al-Qaida, not every Muslim is a dangerous person.
Muslims are true-to-self people, and even though I cannot say I am the best Muslim, I can say I am not a terrorist and never will be. Muslims are not cold blood killers and I stand by that whole-heartedly. Muslims are men and women who will respect you for who you. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” I am Mahin, a Muslim, not a terrorist.
Mahin Azam is a 7th grader from Plainfield, Illinois. He enjoys acting, volleyball and baseball.
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of related content
Tooltip of RSS content 3
The role of media literacy in teaching your students about Charlottesville
Use this PBS NewsHour video and discussion questions to teach your students about the events in Charlottesville. Extension activities include the history of Confederate monuments and the debate as to whether or not the statues should remain standing. Continue readingCharlottesvilleConfederacyConfederate monumentscurrent eventsDonald TrumpGovernment & CivicsMedia Literacyneo-NaziracismRobert E. LeeSocial IssuesSocial StudiesU.S. historywhite nationalismwhite supremacy groups
How to discuss the history of white nationalism with your students in the wake of Charlottesville
Today’s Daily News Story provides video, key terms and discussion questions to help teachers talk with their students about the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Continue readingCharlottesvilledomestic terrorismDonald TrumpGovernment & CivicsprotestsracismSocial IssuesSocial StudiesU.S. historywhite nationalismwhite supremacy groups
James Madison’s Montpelier tells the stories of the enslaved people who lived there
Montpelier, the home of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, recently opened a new permanent exhibit at the Virginia estate to inform visitors about Madison’s slaves and the lives they led. Continue readingAmerican Historyconstitutionenslaved peoplefounding fathersGovernment & CivicsJames MadisonMontpelierslaverySocial IssuesSocial Studies
Antibiotics keep animals healthy, but some dangerous superbugs are resistant
As high-density, industrial-scale livestock feeding operations become the norm, farmers have had to take extra steps to keep animals healthy. Illnesses and diseases grow and spread quickly when large numbers of similar animals are kept in close proximity. Continue readingantibioticsdiseasedrugsfarmingfoodFood and Drug AdministrationHealthillnesslivestockScienceSTEMsuperbugs
5 engaging lesson plans celebrating invention and innovation
Are you looking for lesson plans focusing on scientific innovation and invention? Click on the…design thinkingdisabilitiesengineeringinnovationinvasive speciesinventionlesson plansmathematicsrenewable energySciencesocial mediaSTEMTechnology