[2015] Jianna Durand: Ask Me No Qestions

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[2015] Jianna Durand: Ask Me No Qestions

Ask Me No Questions, By Marina Budhos




Many Americans’ feelings toward Muslim citizens and immigrants have changed since September 11, 2001. There once was a time before 9/11, when Muslims in the United States were not viewed as terrible cpeople at all. Children today growing up in the United States have no memory of pre-9/11 America. They have never lived in a world where Muslims in America were not hypervisible. Pre-9/11, Muslims were not seen differently from other Americans, but sadly today Muslims are extremely visible in a crowd by many Americans. Children are growing up in an age where many people do not or cannot make a distinction between “Muslims” (cover of faith) and “Islamist” (adherent of political ideology). Unlike pre-9/11, children are growing up in a time where the terms Muslim and Islamist get mixed up a lot, even though the two terms have very different meanings. Muslim is a peaceful religion followed by millions of non violent people across the world. The 9/11 terrorists, although Muslim, were Islamists who were not peaceful but instead hated Americans who wanted to kill Americans simply for being American. The many years before 9/11, Muslims and people of many other religions lived in America legally and illegally. After 9/11, the government began to crackdown on illegals from only Muslim countries. Many immigrants were not sure what would happen to them. They fled to the Canadian border like Nadira and her family, though many were turned back only to be arrested by the United States government. Mostly all of these illegals that fled to Canada were Muslims. They were scared because the U.S. government did not trust them. Most of these Muslims lived in the United States for years raising a family. After 9/11, the government did not trust them anymore. This would not have happened unless the 9/11 Islamic terrorists attacked New York resulting in a backlash against all Muslims. Pre-9/11 and After 9/11 were very different times. Before 9/11 there was little violence against Muslims in the United States After 9/1, violence and discrimination towards all Muslims in the United States increased. The nineteen Muslims terrorists from 9/11 did not only hurt Americans, they made a bad name for Muslims today, hurting the people that follow that religion. In the world we live in today, discrimination and prejudice acts happen all the time towards Muslims. In the past fourteen years many hateful acts towards Muslims, hate messages or harassment, violence, false arrest, airport profiling, workplace discrimination and threats, have occurred. All of these crimes towards Muslims happen daily, and many people who commit these crimes never get caught. Today Muslims have a hard time finding jobs. As soon as this year, Abercrombie and Fitch discriminated against a nineteen year old Muslim employee wearing a hijab, because “it clashed with the dress code.” The Abercrombie and Fitch case shows how even today Muslims who are open about their religion are still treated poorly. This backlash against many Arabs, Muslims, and others who simply look like Muslims should not happen. The Supreme court took this case and fined Abercrombie $40,000. In this case, thankfully, justice was served and the company was punished and fined for its discrimination. But, it is not every day that the company will get fined. If one day a woman decides to wear a headdress to work for only religion purposes, she should not feel the pain for expressing her religion; and if she does, the people should pay, like Abercrombie and Fitch did. Even Muslim kids in high school were subjected to the cruel backlash from 9/11. A student’s friends did not want him to play soccer with them anymore, calling him names like “Taliban,” referring to the rulers of Afghanistan who had allied themselves with Osama Bin Laden. In the world today, we have Muslim teenagers being attacked by Americans for being Muslim, simply because they were members of the same religion as the 9/11 terrorists. Children who may have not even been able to talk at the time of 9/11 are treated cruelly today for simply following their religion. They are Muslim, not Islamist. Even people who were not Muslim or Arabs, who simply looked like them, were subjected to the harsh backlash from Americans for the terrorist attacks on 9/11. People should not be attacked for what or who they might look like today in America, but sadly that is what is happening. Muslims and people that look like Muslims today have real life stories which have changed their lives, not in a good way.It has been fourteen years since the attack on September 11, 2001, and Muslims today are still getting the backlash from Americans, in life changing ways. Muslims of every age have stories of discrimination, prejudice, and violence. There were Muslim girls, who were not in America at the time of 9/11, and months after came to the U.S. and had no idea it would be this bad. When they got off an airplane everyone was scared and pointing at them. The girls got extra screenings; their bags were checked several times, and they got pulled to the side. These girls had never seen racism directed towards them before, and they were subjected to it only because some of them were wearing hijabs. It is not right how teenagers can come to America not knowing the discrimination towards Muslims, and get attacked or pointed out of a crowd because they show a sign of their Muslim religion. People, who have never even seen racism directed towards them, come to America expecting a free country including freedom of religion, but get discriminated against and subjected to prejudice simply because they are Muslim. There are students who look Muslim but have been born and raised as a Christian in America their whole life and even get treated poorly. Kids who simply look Muslim, but are not, woke up on September 11, 2001 and became a Muslim in people’s minds. People today everywhere are being treated as if they were the Islamic terrorist from 9/11 not just normal citizens of the United States like they should be treated. Women get stopped at stores, parks, and supermarkets by men telling them that they would be more attractive if they took that of their heads, “It’s demeaning to women” they say. Muslim women should be able to wear hijabs without worrying about people staring or making prejudice remarks. Men saying this to women is hurtful because wearing the “thing”, hijab means that although the principles of modesty are clearly outlined in the Qu'ran, they perceive the wearing of the headscarf as a cultural interpretation of these scriptures. These women choose to wear a hijab and are not forced to, they do it because they want to show their respect to their god.Muslim women, children, men, and people who look Muslim, are treated with prejudice and are discriminated against regularly simply because nineteen individual islamic terrorists, with whom they do not agree, chose to attack America on September 11, 2001.

Nadira's family was greatly affected by the discrimination and prejudice acts from America after September 11, 2001. Americans treated Muslims poorly after the attacks of 9/11, Muslims like Nadira's family. In the book Ask Me No Questions, there were people all around Nadira who experienced life changing attacks from Americans, and I wanted to learn more. As I was reading, I wanted to understand what violence was actually happening at the time in the real world. The information I learned from my research helped me to understand how Muslims were treated in America after 9/11. While researching the impact of 9/11 had on Muslims, I found that many Americans treated Muslims or people that looked like Muslims with violence, discrimination, and prejudice. I discovered that women, children, and men were pointed at or made fun of for showing their Muslim religion with hijab’s. Furthermore, I learned some difficult challenges that Muslims have to face today in America after 9/11. Muslims today should not have to be subjected to the backlash from Americans for what the nineteen American Islamists who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001 did.

The novel Ask Me No Questions, by Marina Budhos, is set in New York City, in 2001 after the attacks of 9/11. The protagonist Nadira and her family are Muslims, who try to run away to Canada because of the U.S being uneasy about many Muslims. Nadira and her family came to New York from a poor country in Monsoon Asia called Bangladesh. They overstayed their visas and now are in the U.S. illegally. After the attacks of 9/11, all Muslims were mistreated, including Nadira’s father who was thrown in jail for overstaying their visas. Nadira, a fourteen-year-old girl, who had to fight for her father's freedom with only her devastated sister and tired mother by her side. Nadira fought for her father’s freedom and succeeded. When Nadira was fighting for her father's freedom, her sister was giving up on school because she thought that her family would never become legal, especially since they were Muslim. The issue of not being treated fairly because they were Muslim came up constantly in this book. There were stories of Muslims being beaten, rejected, and discriminated against. Americans treated Muslims differently after the attacks of 9/11 with violence, discrimination, and many prejudicial acts.

Jianna Durand


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