by Sarah Ali
You know my name, but not my story;
You’ve heard what I’ve done, but not what I’ve become.
I’ve become stronger because I’ve been through weakness.
I’ve become more intelligent because I made mistakes.
I’ve become fearless because I’ve been afraid.
I’ve become a best friend to some.
I’ve let myself down, but someone came and picked me up.
I wanted to scream, burst into tears, and kill myself – but you know how that goes.
I’ve become the young girl that I always saw in my dreams.
I’ve been through it before in a way, you could say.
But I’m not used to the stuff that happened not long ago.
There’s been demoralizing discrimination and racism happening in our world.
I’m a young Muslim girl, if you didn’t notice.
When I say, “Allah who akbar,” it means ‘God is biggest’ – it’s not me trying to set off a bomb .
When I wear a hijab, I’m not a a terrorist.
When I’m praying, it’s not a game.
When I’m fasting, I’m not tryin’ to starve myself,
But tryin’ to show respect not only to the people but also to myself.
And yes – Allah created us imperfect,
He does not expect us to be perfect, but to always try our best.
What you probably don’t know is that Islam is a religion of peace.
I am tryin’ to stand up for what I am, or who I am,
What I could be.
But nowadays, I don’t think I will ever be.
Now that you know my name,
You’ve heard my story,
You’ve heard what I’ve done,
And what I’ve become –
Have you ever just sat down and thought to yourself,
“Damn, I’ve been through a lot of crap.”
Sara Ali is a senior at Deering High School. She plans to go to college for criminal investigation. She moved to Maine from Egypt when she was eight years old. “Sometimes it is still hard to hear people complain about little things like their wifi going out briefly when people are starving elsewhere,” she says. She joined Pihcintu four years ago. “I joined for the music, but now I can’t live without these girls – they are my family!”