South Asian Muslim Youth in
the United States after 9/11
“The first week when I came to the Wellford High School,
we talked about religion and Muslims in class, which
was a bit strange for me. It was in my ESL class, and
my teacher, Miss Daniels, put up some pictures of people
praying from different religions. She asked us if we knew
what religions they were from. I noticed that one of the
pictures was of Mecca, so I said that they were follow-
ing Islam. She asked me to tell the class what Islam was
about. I tried to tell them, but my English was not very
good at that time because I had just come from India.
I said that there were five pillars of Islam. I was think-
ing that I was the only Muslim student in the class, so
I have to explain it to them. Miss Daniels also tried to
talk a little about Islam, and about the other religions.
Then this girl put up her hand, an American girl, and
she asked Miss Daniels why one of the rules of Islam is
that women have to cover their head. I don’t know why
she was asking that, because I don’t think that’s true,
but Miss Daniels said, ‘Is there any one in the class who
knows why?’ I didn’t really feel like talking about that,
because I was new to the country, and I didn’t under-
stand why that girl thought all Muslim women should
cover themselves.
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