Student Participant, Walking the Walk Youth Initiative
Member, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Mosque & Fellowship
"Everything I Needed to Know, I Learned in Pre-K"
"I am half Egyptian, quarter Norwegian, quarter British and a born Muslim. When I was five years old, and still in pre-k, my best friend’s mom called to arrange for our first play-date. My friend’s mom had some reservations about our family being Muslim and wanted some reassurances before she agreed to any play dates. She point-blank wondered if we had guns in the house, saying that she would not allow her daughter to go to anyone’s house that had guns. My mom assured her that we do not have alcohol, let alone guns. My mom was bewildered and hurt by the suggestion, so the other mother tried to explain, “Well, with your husband and your religion, one never knows.’
"Several years later, I was with my mom at the mall. We were about to go into a store to see if they had a specific pair of basketball sneakers that my cousin in Cairo was dreaming of having after seeing them online. My mom had printed the information and pulled a sheet of paper from her purse to show the store clerk. We were both astounded when he half jokingly said, ‘Oh, you just pulled out some sheets of paper! I thought you were about to pull a gun on me.’
"Experiences like these have made me, from a young age, eager to share with others the truth about my family and my religion. I would love to share with other people, especially those of my age, the side they don’t know: the peaceful, welcoming, and loving side of the Muslim people that hardly ever gets broadcasted on the news. In joining Walking the Walk, I hoped to share with others all these things. I, myself, have so far learned many things, and even found out about a religion I had never heard of before, Baha’i. This organization proves that there are other people like myself, wanting to unify the disunity there is today and to teach, learn and accept others different from ourselves."