Power in Diversity

Power in Diversity
  Born in Pakistan and growing up as a Muslim who practiced the Islamic religion, many did not understand the beliefs she followed. She moved to America at a young age, but was hesitant about what the unfamiliar country had in store. Her name is Muskaan Adeel (11) and despite her cultural differences, she works hard each day in hopes of creating something extraordinary in the future.
   Islam holds many peaceful beliefs in which Muslims follow to show dedication to their God, as a result of a promising afterlife. Praying 5 times a day, Adeel and her family start in the morning before sunrise till the beginning of the night and follow the prayers known as Fajr, Zuhur, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha. Each prayer is a submission to their God to thank him for his blessings and protecting them from any of life’s challenges they may encounter.
   Due to Muslim beliefs, the importance of conservancy is seen as a sign of respect one can have towards their religion. Most women choose to wear a hijab that covers their head as a regard towards themselves and men. Adeel chose to start wearing her hijab in high school to get closer to her beliefs as she began a new chapter in her life.
   “It is a symbolization of my modesty, my beliefs, my practices and who I am,” explained Adeel.
   Many cultures are unique in their own way and can shape who you are as a person. One of the many ways Adeel’s culture expresses themselves is through their flavorful food and vibrant fashion that is distinct to her culture. She loves how she can express herself through bright colors ranging from reds, oranges, and yellows to create unique beauty in the Islamic religion.
   “The spices and the colors all correlate to make every single part of our culture,” stated Adeel.
   Over time, characteristics of the Islamic religion continue to spread throughout America, yet the stereotypes depicted by the media redefines the aspects of the peaceful religion. Targeted as the enemy, Muslims across social platforms have been shaped by stereotypes, diminishing the true beliefs of Islam. Adeel believes that their practices help people find their inner peace, but they are judged because it is not considered normal.
   “I hate how we made it that everyone has to be perfect, yet the person behind the screen is not perfect themselves,” claimed Adeel.
   Although Adeel shares the beliefs of a Pakistani-American, most assume she is Indian, seeing that Pakistan is not as well known. Due to the stereotypes made about her culture, she is well aware of the harassments other Muslims have to encounter from living in such a contrasting environment. The fear of experiencing any of these hardships has become something she has to be aware of due to her beliefs.
   “It is hard to live in a diverse country, but with the diversity it does help me feel safe because there are other people who wear the same thing or practice the same beliefs and I know they will have my back,” explained Adeel.
   Living in America, people strive to become as wealthy and successful one can be, yet that is not the future Adeel has in mind. All she wants is to be happy and feel acceptance for who she is without judgements due to her differences. Adeel is determined to make a name for herself and hopefully start her own photography business in the future to share her talents with the world.
   “The American Dream in my sense is happiness, living in a country that makes me feel safe and secure,” described Adeel.
    Adeel has learned a lot from sharing different beliefs from other cultures to shape the person she is today. She hopes people can understand that the religion she believes in is not at all what the media defines it as.
   “It’s a beautiful and rare culture that not a lot of people get to experience, we grow ourselves up to become the best version of ourselves and practice a belief we all share,” stated Adeel.
   Muslims follow practices to better themselves and express their diversity through their many cultural customs. There is a special beauty in the Islamic religion and no matter their differences, beliefs shape the person one becomes.