We reach a red light. My coworker Dallin turns to me and says “You know before I met you, when I heard the words Muslim or Islam, all that would come to mind was terrorists.” The images of 9/11 flash before my eyes. It’s been over 13 years since 9/11. I was 13 then, the living room was dark as I got dressed for school and the tv kept replaying images of the planes crashing into the twin towers and the smoke that followed. We’re all scarred with the images of the towers falling and of people desperately running from the oncoming storm of smoke.
I remember this guy in my homeroom, large like the Big Show, at least for Junior High. He uttered that he hated Muslims. He equated the terrorists to Muslims. He didn’t know I was Muslim. Suddenly the 13 year old version of me wasn’t as excited to tell people openly about his faith. My end of the year family seal project featured the crescent moon and star. I felt as brave as a Knight that day.
I turn back to Dallin in the car. I teach him a little bit about how Islam is an Abrahamic faith. I tell him about how Muslims share the same prophets from the bible such as Moses, Abraham, David and about how we even believe in Jesus but not as the son of God, but a prophet like Mose. Peace be upon them all.
Dallin is becoming one of my close friends from my office. Images in movies and on the tv are very powerful in forming our perceptions and opinions, but what I found is one dinner or lunch can change all of that. My office gives nicknames for everyone. Because I am fasting for Ramadan, for me thy chose Hunger Games. I don’t think my coworkers will ever equate Muslims with terrorists anymore, next time theyll think of me, “Hunger Games”. We make more of a difference than we think.