You might be polite about hiding the pain of it but I won’t, I can’t. I’m tired, I’m lost, I call out to Allah in this global isolation. Being a Muslim in a post 9/11 era has killed me on the inside, Mehreen. I have found myself apologizing again and again for things I would never do, for things my religion has never taught me. I have literally waited for people to call me a terrorist while I walk down the pavement in crowds. Your father has been questioned. I have been questioned. We’re scrutinized. We’re spied on whether we’re in USA or out of the country. It doesn’t matter if you’re Arab or if you’re Asian or if you’re African or if you’re European. You’re just a “Mozlem.” And “Mozlems” are bad. I don’t watch TV anymore. I don’t read the newspaper anymore. It’s either us getting killed for being “suspects” or us retaliating and then everyone starts calling us cavemen, barbaric savages. You know how it feels but you hide it. You’re polite about it. You’ve cried about it. Your father has. Your mother has. How does it feel to be subjected to constant paranoia, distrust, hate, xenophobia? Where do I go? Back home? The home that America wants to engage in war with? Do I stay in America? The place where my identity is no more than that of a “bearded terrorist”? Where do I go? Home is where the heart, right? My heart is crushed, Mehreen. There is no home. There is no peace. I call out to Allah after every prayer and weep in sajda. I ask him, Ya Rab, why us? Why? How long do we suffer? When will these people understand that it’s not you, it’s not me, it’s not him, it’s not her, it’s not Islam, it’s just a few bad people. I see our Muslim youth grow old before time with worry, with hurt, with this alienation. When will it stop.
My friend just emailed me. My heart has broken into a thousand pieces. Every single word of this hits so, so hard in the core.
Thanks for all the support, everyone.
It happens when a father realizes he doesn’t just love his daughter, but also her wife. It happens when a soldier tells his unit that he’s gay, and they tell him they knew it all along and they didn’t care, because he was the toughest guy in the unit. It happens when a video sparks a movement to let every single young person know they’re not alone, and things will get better.
It happens when people look past their ultimately minor differences to see themselves in the hopes and struggles of their fellow human beings. That’s where change is happening.
And that’s not just the story of the gay rights movement. That’s the story of America—the slow, inexorable march towards a more perfect union.
— President Obama (via barackobama)