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How Is It Like To Grow Up A Muslim In America? His Story Will Break Your Heart

I am a Muslim, born and raised in America. I was in 5th grade when the 9/11 incident happened and because of it, my life was destroyed. I was mercilessly bullied; class fellows smashed me against lockers, calling me a terrorist.

What made matters worse was the fact that my birthday is on 9/11: people accused me of celebrating the lives I took, destroying what was supposed to be a happy day for me. One such incident is etched in my mind: I was riding the bus when a boy told me to get up from my seat. When I refused, he said “My father is in the army, he kills people like you everyday.” And then he and his friends beat me up while the bus driver turned up the volume of the music. When my stop came, the driver threatened to kick me off the bus if I got into a fight again.

Badly bruised, I remember feeling helpless and outraged at the unfairness. But when I got home, my mother helped me calm down and told me to forgive them because it is what our religion teaches us: peace. My mother was and is my strength. She believed in me, gave me the courage to forgive and get over my insecurities. I just hope no one ever goes through what I did, and that one day, Islam can be seen as the religion it is: one that promotes peace and harmony.