Dedicated to my best friend in the entire world, Sakina.
I grew up in a small town surrounding a medical center where people from all different races and religions came together from all over the world. Although the area is predominately white and Christian, there is a strong Muslim culture there. I met my best friend, Sakina, in middle school and we became very close in high school. She's the funniest person I have ever met, and she also just so happens to be Muslim.
Ever since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, there has been extreme animosity toward Muslim Americans and over the past few years. The divide between Muslim Americans and non-Muslim Americans has only been increasing. With President Trump's recent elect, there has been an even greater divide in these past few months and many Americans from different groups are fearing for their rights. The Muslim travel ban is one of many examples of Muslim Americans fearing for their rights.
There is so much hatred towards this religion, and the people who follow it. Harassing and attacking innocent Muslim Americans seems to have become the new norm.
To Sakina and to all my Muslim friends, here are just a few words I would like to say to you.
1. Islam does define you, and that's a good thing.
Americans have correlated Islam with terrorism when they shouldn't be whatsoever. I am serious about Christianity just as you are serious about Islam, and I have so much respect for how dedicated you are to your religion. You have taught me so much about Islam and how similar it is to my religion. Your religion is about peace and is about loving God, just like Christianity. I don't want you to ever not be proud of your religion just because people think falsely. Islam defines you, and that's a good thing.
2. However, you are so much more than just your religion.
You are the first person I talk to when I have a good or bad day. You are the only person who knows all of my secrets, and you're the only person who can make me laugh so hard I cry. You're the first person to tell me I'm doing amazing, but also the first person to tell me I'm doing something wrong. You are so much more than a 'Muslim.' You're a best friend. You're my sister. You're goofy. You're an idiot at times. You're hilarious. You're caring. You bring so much love and happiness in my life, and I couldn't have asked for a better person to be by my side.
3. I will always be on your side.
If things do take a turn for the worst, please know that I will do anything I can to protect you. I will fight for you and your rights because your rights are just as important as mine. You do not deserve any disrespect or unfair treatment based off of the actions of so few. You are not just a 'Muslim'. You are an American, and I think the United States has lost sight of that.
I will always be proud of you, and I will always be proud to be your friend.
Your friend and your ally.