How to be an Ally

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Being muslim at a Christian school was never my first choice. At least at a secular school no one would approach me about religion. But I couldn’t pass up a scholarship and such a robust economics program for the sake of my comfort.

“Don’t you ever get hot wearing that?” A blonde girl said plopping down next to me in class popping her gum as she twirled her hair.

“Well I..um”

Class let’s get started! The teacher said. As she rattled off syllabus lessons a black girl slid in the desk next to me and smiled. When it was time to partner up I quickly looked to her --- there was no way I would partner with the student from earlier.

Kiara quickly became my friend. She never made me feel othered. She took the time to research Islam and didn’t ask my daft questions about what I wore, ate or when I prayed. She stood up for me when students asked dumb questions or stared too long.

When the muslim ban first happened I noticed a subtle shift in the way students treated me. I more step toward the other corner.

There was one time we were walking down the street to grab smoothies and an older white male yelled at me from across the street, “Go back where you came from!”

MIchigan? I wondered.

Rage mixed with sadness boiled up inside of me and Kiara calmly put her arm around me and guided me into the store. She then located a security guard and alerted him to the situation. She listened to me as hot tears dripped down into my ice cream. But I was never the victim to her. I was strong, validated. I had a voice and I was heard.

While my time as a Muslim American is hard, I still find glimmers of hope. Allyship can take many forms and tones, and I count my blessings every day to have found a shining example of one.

Blher Podcast