the Message Continues ... 11/22

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Article 9 - Article 10 - Article 11 - Article 12


by Okasha Naqvi (13 years), New Jersey

My Parents came here long ago,
for a reassuring future so they would know,
their children would be strong, healthy, and grow!

I came first,
and many challenges I faced,
They were walls that blocked my open space.
But here in this country,
with so much support,
nothing would remain my last resort.
Teachers, counselors, and best of yet,
family and friends,
who remained by my side until the end.
But no matter what they did,
they couldn’t change the fact,
that I wasn’t like everyone else,
but it didn’t bother me !
I turned all my frowns upside down,
and kept a smile—
that showed peace,
and could be seen from miles and miles.

At the age of 9 I had a choice,
I could remain in the corner,
or show my voice.
I decided to wear hijab that very day,
but wasn’t prepared of what others might say.
I faced pranks and taunts,
the voices of cruelty—yes it still haunts.
But things eventually got better,
and most understood
that I wasn’t any different
when I started wearing the so called hood.

But then the comfortable environment took a very sad turn,
and the memory of that horrific event still burns.
The stupidity of a few, a beastly act
that killed so many on that tragic day,
leaving the Lady Liberty in dismay.
My heart cried,
and tears fell as well.
I learnt if those terrible deaths,
My heart--- short of breaths.
Ah, those innocent lives!
What did they do?
So many killed:
Fathers, mothers, children, husbands and wives.

That was when the trouble began,
misconceptions were all that filled the land.
Rumors here,
and rumors there.
I was affected greatly
from far and near.
People thought..
but I was the one who taught.
I told them that "I am an American,
I feel as you do,
just because I look different—
doesn’t mean I don’t what’s true!
My heart ached from night to night,
scared that more might die,
the world was filled with spooks and frights."

"NO!" they would say,
and off they went,
some would listen,
but their thoughts were still bent.]
I still held my chin high,
I had to try,
If I backed out now---
it would be as if I had lied.

I continued to participate in candlelight services which were well  known,
I had to let them know,
they weren’t alone!
Then one day,
someone came up and they said:
" I am starting to learn about who you are,
instead of listening to the world, which sounds so dead!
 You’re religion is about peace, 
I understand now,
how could I have been so ignorant – I don’t know how"

"That’s okay," I replied. " But I am glad you looked for the truth—which is
now let’s get priorities straight!
We should now go and teach more and more—
and put back the truth of Islam which they tore!"

I then realized:
this country is just so great,
Here so many people lifted lady liberty,
to stand up straight,
to wipe the tears and anger away,
to put colors back into the world which was so gray,
to hold hand in hand as brothers and sisters,
to not care what others look like,
and most importantly,
not to let  the stupidity,
of others—ruin the unity
of this country—our home:



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