Omar Dawood was 7-years old.
was also just in first grade.
Nahla remembers watching the horrific pictures on the news with her dad, hearing him call family in Brooklyn to find out if they were safe, and later experiencing first hand how Muslims became the target of suspicion.
“As a Muslim, I’ve grown tired of defending my religion and the rest of my community as a result of the acts of a senseless and ignorant minority, Nahla wrote. “It seems as though Muslims cannot be just Muslim individuals; rather, we are all spokespeople for one another in a way that members of other faith groups don’t have to be.”
Omar Dawood understands how Nahla feels. “When I was growing up, I experienced episodes of racism,” he said. “I remember being in fifth grade and having my fellow Muslim sisters be called ‘terrorist’ for wearing the hijab (headscarf), and they called me a terrorist for the color of my skin.”
Reema Ghabra has also experienced racism and has been told to “Go back to your country,” despite being born in the United States. Despite that, she sees signs of hope.
“People want to understand Islam. They don’t antagonize me anymore.”