TELL YOUR STORY: HEBA MUNIR
WHO ARE YOU?
My name is Heba Munir. I am a nineteen year old aspiring to do a lot in the course of my life.. I tend to be immensely critical of myself. I am a firm believer that there is potential within humanity, potential often belittled by the society in which I reside. My diverse background has also spurred me to believe that people look down on cultures that they simply do not understand, and also sometimes there is validity to their statements; however, it’s more likely than not, that they are refraining from seeing the fallible aspects of their own society.
I am the daughter of two Pakistani immigrants. My father is the epitome of the American Dream: working up the ranks so his children could live a privileged life, Alhamdulillah. My mother tells me stories of when she was a child and how she has faced sexism, racism, and discrimination simultaneously; however, this is not due to a religion that preaches peace and equality, but a cultural norm and stigmas within both Western society, and her native country.
To be frank, I have lived a privileged life, and I have been blessed beyond words. I currently am an intern for a law firm based out of Atlanta, Georgia, and I am also a Full-Time Honors student on a Pre-Law Track majoring in English. I am a writer, a blogger, a poet, a listener, a reader, a spoken word artist, a striving intellect, and frankly, an introvert. I am aiming to be a published author, an attorney, a professor, and if that is not what is written for me than, all I hope to do is leave my mark.
WHAT DOES BEING MUSLIM MEAN TO YOU?
To be frank, that is simply too generic of a question to something so meaningful, something I can simply do no justice, by trying to explain to you how much being a Muslim means to me in words. This is not because I have been stopped at TSA Lines, or because some guy threw a cigarette at me, or because ignorant professors expect me not to have an informed and correct answer, but because being a Muslim means that I have been chosen to be guided by Allah. I have that privilege of knowing that at the end of the day, that this, for lack of a better word, crappy life is temporary, that Allah knows what I am going through in regards to my friends, family, school, and internal issues. He’s constantly listening.
I am flawed, yet I can pray to Allah and sincerely ask Him for forgiveness, and He can grant that for me right away. People need to grasp the immense amount of power repentance has. Despite what the general public believes about Islam in Western society, personally knowing that Islam is the epitome of peace and that I belong to such a beautiful community, or Ummah, gives me strength and reassurance that at the end of the day, I will be okay. I have strong resilience due to the religion I belong to, considering it has inclined me to believe that obstacles are just tests to persevere through. I have Tawakkul, or in other words I have complete and utter faith in Allah, that despite everything that goes on around me, I will be fine, and that gives me peace.
WHAT DOES ISLAMOPHOBIA LOOK LIKE AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOU?
Islamophobia looks like confused stares of peers as I make top of my class. Islamophobia looks like old friends abandoning me because they simply do not get the fabric on my head. Islamophobia is a stranger seeing me, and thinking terrorist. Islamophobia is a stranger seeing me, and thinking exotic. Islamophobia is a stranger seeing me, and thinking oppressed. Islamophobia is a stranger staring. Islamophobia is always standing as far away as I can from the train tracks. Islamophobia looks like never running to catch a flight in an airport. Islamophobia is being harassed on the train, and slowly becoming desensitized to it. Islamophobia is, “You would look so much prettier without that turban on your head.”
Islamophobia is bigotry. Islamophobia is ignorance. Islamophobia is being a fetish. Islamophobia is being a label. Islamophobia is making feminism and hijabis walking contradictions. Islamophobia is me beginning to hate myself. Islamophobia is me beginning to hate my perfect religion. Islamophobia is the public refraining to pay attention to Syria. Islamophobia is refraining to pay attention to Palestine. Islamophobia is refraining to pay attention to the plethora of innocent Muslims ISIS has killed. Islamophobia is living in constant fear of Donald Trump. Islamophobia has manifested in me, living in constant fear, of simply being myself.
WHAT DO YOU WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW ABOUT ISLAM?
Learn for yourself. Do your research (FROM CREDIBLE SOURCES). Read the Qur’an. Do not be ignorant, and please do not let what you see on television be your source of information. Mainstream media has a way of targeting minorities, whilst simultaneously brainwashing you, and right now it is not cool to be Muslim, but I do not want to emphasize that Muslims are the only ones being targeted: I am talking about the innocent black lives being taken, Western terrorist attacks being publicized whilst refraining from mentioning other calamities that do not fit the news stations hidden agenda. If you have a voice, speak up against the injustices, not just for Muslims, but for humanity.