I remember the first time I tried to wrap my hair. The fabric I used was rough and thick, so it was difficult to tie down. The woman who I credit with welcoming me into Islam gave me my first proper hijab; she also shared lessons with me and invited me to my first Eid. When I think of how I strive to live, I think of her. Becoming a Muslim has been beautiful. My motivation is getting closer to the creator and being the best version of myself.
But a lot of people don’t think of that when they see me.
The people I grew up around don’t understand how I could “betray Jesus after he sacrificed his life for my soul.” Conservatives are often prejudiced and disgusted by my assertion of human rights. Those who claim to be my ally are sometimes as problematic as those who claim to be my enemy.
My journey of self discovery through Islam has been resolution-based, so I am hopeful that many non-Muslims are open to being more inclusive. A lot of pain and unnecessary discontent could be avoided if non-Muslims understood how important this is to me. All of our children would be substantially less likely to have their lives permeated by hate if non-Muslims empathized with our frustrations.
Here’s what I need non-Muslims to know:
Originally published on www.bustle.com