I would like to share a short essay read out by my beloved niece Farah Firman, 16, during the occassion of 5th year of Sept.11 at Johnson County Main Library, Kansas, USA. . Farah read her experience in front of 200 residents of Johnson county and a lot of those attended according to my brother in law shed tears and after she finished reading, everybody stood up and clapped, then my brother in law added people came and she was interviewed by local newpapers, local radio station and a few other people. Even my sister Rohaizan was interviewed since they were the only people wearing hijab that day.
Following is her essay:
Freedom is being able to live what your heart desires with happiness and peace. As far as I know this act of freedom isnt really happening, not here or nor anywhere else. Why? Because a lot of reasons. Just lend me your ears and listen to me, and Ill tell you the moment I realize my freedom was slipping away in front of my own eyes.
Sept 11th, 2001 was any other normal days, well thats what all of us thought was, but it was the day when no other can forget. AS far as my memory can reach, before the second or third hour begins in my school which was Islamic School of Greater Kansas City, one of my class mates was panicking and mentioning about bombs or some kind of explosions. I who was 11 years old at that time could barely comprehend what my classmate was talking about. I didnt know what was going on and we were all questioning to each other about it.
Jumping to another memory of mine, I remember seeing parents coming picking up their kids home, and all of a sudden the school was nearly empty of students. The reaming of us was brought to the Social Studies class room, and was commanded to sit down. There our teacher had turned on the TV earlier, and the first thing I saw was a plane crashing into a tall building. I thought that since almost every ones gone the teachers decided to let us watch some latest movie thats on TV, but then I realized it wasn't a movie. We were actually watching the news. As I was observing the people around me, I realized that there were tears in their eyes, and was shaking their heads in a disappointment way, saying oh God over and over again.
I didnt realize until now that from that day, right after we left the main door of the school, everything changed, and I mean everything. School was closed a couple of days due to the threats that we were receiving. Before classes begins teachers was told to check if there were bombs in the classes. It was hard for parents to get jobs, a few mothers had to take off their scarves in order to keep their job, and some was fired after knowing that they had a Muslim member in their family.
There was one incident when I was in a car looking out side viewing all the cars that had passed by, until this one particular car that passed us and I realized this guy who tried to push his face on the window and screaming at me all these foul words and flicking me off. That, I would never understand the main reason he did that. Is it because he was minutely challenged or was it because of the things that I wore that represent my religion? I never understood why some people would see me differently, because as far as I know, you and I we are all the same thing.
Were humans and there's nothing more about it. Surely what we wear is more then what others wear, and Im use to people staring at me. But until now there are just these times when I dont feel comfortable at it. Specifically, when I witness with my own eyes, seeing people who would glare at my mother or at me with disgust and hatred in their face, if you would feel the madness I had when they do that, it's unimaginable. But when I think about it again, I should let what ever they want to think of us because I know that they're not better than I am.
As far as I can think off, I cant really recall any major good things that had happened after September 11th, only that my faith has gone stronger and I will do what ever it is, to let people understand that all we want is peace, freedom and love among each other which what I would also called it Jihad, which means struggle.