Let this serve as an open letter from a Muslim human rights activist to the Chicago Police officer that racially profiled me at Starbucks, to the lady that stuck out her middle finger at me on the road, and to the man that yelled “Hey fucking Muslim go back to your country” in front of Walgreens. And, let me not forget to mention the TSA agent that recently did an extensive 20 minutes body pat-down in the airport because I refused to take off my hijab in front of everyone.
Dear officer and fellow Islamophobes,
I know that you are a very small percentage in our society. And I learned long ago not to blame you for the negative picture you have gained through media about Muslims. But please allow me to tell you who I am and what it means to be an American Muslim in 2016.
I am a Muslim and I accept and love everyone, please next time you see me don’t fear my existence, don’t yell at me, because after all we all are humans and we deserve to live equally in this free democratic nation.
I am a Muslim and my best friend is a Greek Orthodox Christian, who I called today and cried on the phone with her after you harassed me and gave me condescending looks in front of everyone.
I am a Muslim and I advocate for human rights worldwide. I love my headscarf dearly, and I respect women who decide to protest topless. Simply, because Islam taught me not to judge others.
I am a Muslim and I love to barbecue kosher hotdogs with my Jewish friends every 4th of July.
I am a Muslim, and I blast Christmas music on my way to work, because I love the holiday season just as much as you do.
I am a Muslim and I go to IHOP with my Catholic friends to order a waffle while they eat bacon and sausage on the same table! Just because I can’t have pork that doesn’t mean I judge them for eating it.
I am a Muslim and the majority of my friends are Hindu, Jewish, Christians, and atheists and they all drink! I join them at parties and enjoy my soda meanwhile they drink their wine and martinis.
I am a Muslim and I take pride in teaching refugee students how to say the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
I am a Muslim and I grew up loving Chicago style hotdogs, American Girl dolls and volunteering at local shelter to wrap gifts during the holiday season.
I am a Muslim and I loved learning about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. during elementary school.
I am a Muslim who hates ISIS because they hijacked my religion, and demonized my existence in they eyes of the world!
I am a Muslim who loves America dearly, because its home!
For liberty and justice of All,
Your Muslim American Sister.
Alaa Basatneh is a human-rights activist and a writer at Fusion focusing on the Arab world. She is the protagonist of the 2013 documentary "#ChicagoGirl."