British teenager takes on Islamophobia

SHAFAQNA – According to Huffington Post, People won’t sit next to her on the bus when she wears her hijab. Even living in a city as diverse and progressive as Cambridge, Sumaiya Mahee, 13, encounters some form of prejudice on a daily basis for her faith and heritage.

She is the author of an essay, “You’re Not Who You Say You Are: Beyond the Single Story,” an assignment for her combined social studies at her School that was published in Public Radio International’s Global Nation Education section.

“I face these stereotypes everyday because I am a Muslim girl. It’s what I experience,” Mahee said. “Writing about this boosted my self-esteem because it gave me a way to tackle the stereotypes that I face. When I started talking about it, I realized I wasn’t alone and that other kids go through the same thing.”

“I was shocked when I first read this,” English teacher Woodly Pierre-Louis said. “Here she is, this tiny little girl and it amazed me that anyone could see her as a threat or a target of ridicule. I couldn’t believe anyone would comment like that at all.”

“If someone calls me a terrorist, I won’t choose the actions that I chose. I would tell other Muslim kids to tell people what a real Muslim is like,” Mahee said. “Muslims are shown on TV as terrorists and it makes people think that that’s what a normal Muslim is.”

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