By Ameena Drammeh, age 14
Published in first issue of Youth Community Report on August 27, 2011
Introduction: Assalamulakum. My name is Ameena Drammeh. I am 14 years old. My subject is Equality and Gender Issues, and my topic is Racial Profiling on Muslim Women. The reason I chose this topic is because, I came across an article in the New York Post earlier this week that talks about a Muslim woman who was targeted, assaulted, beaten, pushed to the floor, had racial slurs hurled at her including being called a terrorist and had her Islamic clothing torn off, all of this just because she happened to be a Muslim. Now this is something I can relate to because I am an American Muslim girl just like her. I found it painful to know that we live in a free country where we are still not truly free to practice our religious freedom.
This has been a long history of injustice being ignored which has only intensified after 9/11. From the beginning of time women have always been the inferior of the human sexes, much less being a Muslim woman. There were many incidents targeting Muslims in America. Some of the most recent incidents include: a restaurant in Alabama which hung a sign that stated restaurant only safe if no Muslims inside; a hatred truck that had Anti-Muslim bumper stickers; a NY Imam assaulted on the New York Train; a 24 year old man accused of threatening to cut a woman and her infant in Seattle because she is Muslim.
I don’t think I need I go further; I believe you got the picture. Troubling, horrific, incidents happen much too often, whether we are aware of it or not, whether we care about it or not, whether it affects us or not, or whether you know a victim or have been a victim yourself.
I was born in America. I grew up in an Islamic School, so I never had the outside experience as some of my peers in a public setting, yet I feel like a victim because I cannot imagine leaving my house without wearing proper Islamic clothing or my hijab, much less having it ripped off me and plummeted to the ground. It is like having your identity forcefully taken away, and leaving you naked.
This particular story about the woman in the article really tore at my heart so much so that I had to raise awareness and talk about it. It had quite an impact on me because I am a Muslim, and it was something I could relate to.
Many of the victims of racial profiling are left traumatized. They feel hopeless that they will ever be free to practice their religion peacefully, without being accosted in the street.
This is a huge problem not only here in America but worldwide. And the question is what can we do collectively as Muslims to dissipate or eradicate this long standing and painful dilemma that affects so many? There are no quick fixes to this long standing struggle, nor is there just one solution. There are no right answers, but only our collective efforts to educate our non-Muslim friends about true Islam and Muslims. We as Muslims need to put forth our best effort and be the best example, so that the enemies of Islam can no longer prevail, hence, a peaceful co-existence among all. Thank You! Assalamulakum.
Ameena Drammeh is a student at the Islamic Leadership School, the only Islamic school in the Bronx.