For all the haters. For my brothers and sisters. For my friends.


September 11

September 11. Fresh off her third birthday.
Didn't know what a 'bomb' was, much less the concept of a 'terrorist'.
Toddlers don't understand why the adults are all crying.
She knows that something's wrong, though, when the other adults won't let their kids play with her.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Mommy wears a scarf over her head.

September 11. Shy little girl starting school at four years old.
Didn't know why she could never seem to get as many friends as the other kids.
Shy little girls don't understand why the teachers speak carefully around them.
She knows that something's wrong, though, when some of the kids give her funny looks and run to their mothers.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Daddy said 'asalamu alaikum' instead of 'hello' when he picked her up from the school play.

September 11. Little girl growing up with her classmates.
Didn't know why some of the kids looked at her funny.
Little girls growing up don't understand why they can't do all the things other kids do.
She knows that something's wrong, though, when she sees how rude and unrestrained the other kids can be.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that she fasts during Ramadan, so she has all the control that they lack.

September 11. Young girl entering the first grade.
Didn't know why the students liked to tease her so much.
Young girls don't understand what's so bad about wearing a scarf around their heads.
She knows that something's wrong, though, when the boys call her a towelhead and push her around.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that she's proud to wear her hijab.

September 11. Young girl going into second grade.
Didn't know why the girls always got quiet when she drew near.
Young girls don't understand the full meaning of gossip and slander.
She knows that something's wrong, though, when the girls whisper and giggle and point at her during recess.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, as a Muslim, she isn't allowed to slander and lie like they love to do - she knows that backbiting is like eating the flesh off of a dead brother's back.

September 11. Young girl going into third grade.
Didn't know why people mocked her when she stood in her hijab with the American flag held high.
Young girls don't understand why people find this ironic.
She knows that something's wrong, though, when some other kids knock her flag out of her hands.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that because she's a Muslim, she's not supposed to hit back.

September 11. Girl moving up to fourth grade.
Didn't know why the girls kept pressing her to wear a tank top and short shorts.
Girls like her don't understand why exposing bare skin to strangers is attractive.
She knows that something's wrong, though, when the other girls parade in front of the boys in skimpy tube tops and shorts that hardly cover their butts.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that she's a Muslim and she respects herself too much to go out and expose herself unveiled to strangers.

September 11. Girl going into fifth grade.
Didn't know why people kept telling her to start using swear words.
Girls like her don't understand why saying vulgar things is cool.
She knows that something's wrong, though, when her ten-year-old peers start saying words more suited to prostitutes in a strip club than fifth-graders in a school.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Islam doesn't tolerate profanity.

September 11. Girl entering middle school.
Didn't know why people still blamed her for the attack that happened when she was three.
Girls like her don't understand the hatred that's directed at them 24/7.
She knows that something's wrong, though, when a boy shoves her against a locker and spits at her hijab, snarling something about 'dirty muzzie scum'.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that people love hate, as long as they're not the subject of it.

September 11. Girl going into seventh grade.
Didn't know why other kids liked to call her names.
Girls like her don't understand what's so great about calling a sweet, innocent American-born citizen a 'convenience-store-owning terrorist'.
She knows that something's wrong, though, when someone tries to grab her hijab from her head and tells her to go back to Pakistan.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that she was born and raised in New England and they're just afraid to admit it, because they still want a scapegoat.

September 11. Little woman going into eighth grade.
Didn't know why they hated on her for something she didn't even do.
Little women like her don't understand decade-old blanket stereotypes.
She knows that something's wrong, though, when people make threats to the Muslims without acknowledging the helpless majority who fall victim to the general intolerant and ignorant attitude.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that people don't want to be educated, they just want to make up their own facts and then war over them because acceptance of what really happened isn't an option.

September 11. Young adult entering high school.
Doesn't know why people are still fighting over this.
Young adults like her don't get what the deal is; her people have proved themselves peaceful and gracious so many times over that it's hard to keep count.
She knows that something's wrong, though, when people are still making assumptions about her after all this time.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that even though it was only a few people falsely claiming the name of Muslims, the reputation of every Muslim worldwide was torn down as the towers fell.

People don't listen once they think they're right, even when they're so wrong that it's comical.
But I'll bet you anything that they rarely think of the other victims of 9/11 - the little Muslim children who had no hand in the work, but were forced to grow up bearing that label of that hate.

Think about it.


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