Shaheer Rahman

When a Muslim Child is Called “Terrorist”

When I was in elementary school, I had a good group of friends whom I got along with pretty well. This lasted until one day, out of the blue, I got called “terrorist” for the first time as a joke by someone I thought was a friend. I started off just telling him that I didn’t think that was funny, until the name started catching on and more and more kids started calling me “terrorist”- it almost felt like a nickname.

Then one day, a kid told me that I betrayed my country, when nothing at all happened. I knew this was a new development from the “terrorist” joke and finally decided enough was enough. I spoke to my teachers and filed a bully report on him. We haven’t spoken since, and that doesn’t bother me at all.

I was really happy that my teachers were really concerned when I reported the incident, and after the bullying went down, I realized that my grades were significantly improving- to the point that I’m now a straight A student in high school. I’m involved in my community and am dedicated to making this world a better place.

My advice to other kids going through this kind of bullying is not to spend time invested in people who discriminate against you. If “a friend” makes you feel confined, s/he really weren’t your friend to begin with. If someone says something that really hurts you, don’t just let it slide– tell someone, find someone to talk about it with.

I’m lucky now to have friends who don’t discriminate against me or my religion, and who allow me to express myself the way I want to.

– Shaheer Rahman

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