I was 12 years old when the Twin Towers fell. I had no idea what they were. Neither had I ever heard of Al Qaeda. I don’t even think I knew what the word “terrorist” meant. I didn’t know, that it had anything to do with Muslims. I didn’t know that it was a planted seed that would slowly grow to target me.
I never imagined that one day, in the country I have been born and raised in, the place that always has been my home, I would walk out scared, not daring to look anyone straight in the eyes. That I would pull my hoodie up to hide my headscarf (I saw another girl who did this). I didn’t know that the feeling of guilt mixed would fear would pierce me everytime strangers discussed the latest terrorist attack. Yes it was a heinous crime. But it wasn’t my fault. I mourn the innocent lives lost. And it wasn’t the fault of the faith I practice. Just like it isn’t in the Jewish faith or the Buddhist faith to kill.
Yet I’m the one who’s afraid. I’m the one who questions my future. And I can’t help it.
A non-Muslim friend of mine texted me earlier today, telling me to keep myself safe. I want to believe that his type of people dominate the world. But am I wrong if I can’t believe it? Is the majority ignorant and filled with hatred?
Like I tweeted earlier, it’s a sad sad day when the first thing I ask as a Muslim during a terrorist attack is “who did it?” The fear overtakes the shame.