September 2001. For me, it marked turning ten, my family’s move from New York to California and my first time attending a public school after spending my childhood in a private Islamic school. It also happened to be the month where the actions of a few extremist individuals changed the lives of Muslim Americans forever.
“Come on…get up…get up….HURRRYYY!” my dad was yelling at all of us, probably because we had all slept in again. I still wasn’t back on track with my schedule, getting over the jetlag from our summer travels, and really wasn’t looking forward to lugging my tired body over to school that day.
The taxi driver looked at me in a panicked state and exclaimed, “Quran! Quran!” Frantically attempting to communicate with me in Arabic, he hoped that we would at least understand each other through a commonality of faith. I nodded in agreement and felt a sense of relief.
Somehow the stars seemed to be aligned just right, because my fortune could not have been better. I embarked on my dream to live in Muslim countries during the month of Ramadan this year.