She sits across the table from me in art class. We chat sometimes. I was very sick the other day and she gave me some painkillers for my headache. She seems completely unaware that she is "different" from me. I know she's aware, but she acts like she isn't. It's part of what I love about her.

         I admire the scarves she wears to school. The scarves are really the only thing different about her clothing. She dresses like my other classmates, has the same Invader Zim patches and Spongebob Squarepants key rings on her schoolbag as they do. She listens to the same music and laughs at the same jokes.

         But "she isn't one of us", I can hear some of my fellow United States citizens saying.

         Boo-hoo. Big deal. So a Muslim did something stupid. Does that make all Muslims evil? Of course not. It doesn't make them evil any more than the priests involved in the Church Scandal make all Catholics or all homosexuals evil.

         Yes, I know a Catholic and a homosexual, too. The Catholic is my mother's fiancée and the homosexual flirts with me even though I'm a girl.

         But the point here is my Muslim friend.

         She's a human being and a United States citizen, just like me. She's Muslim; I'm agnostic/atheist. She's of "foreign" descent; I'm a Caucasian. She wears a scarf over her head; I go for a week without washing my hair.

         Big deal. What you believe has nothing to do with whether you are "evil" or not. It's how you act upon those beliefs.

         I have a Muslim friend, and I wouldn't trade her for a person of any other religion in the world.