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I Was Stripped of First Amendment Right


Amal Rass

  |  June 17, 2015

first_amendment.jpg“F*** you terrorist! Go back to your country! Go back to ISIS!”

This is not what I expected to hear last September when taking my little sister to an Iggy Azalea concert.

My sister was furious as I pulled her away, but I was stunned. Instead of reminiscing our night out on the ride home, we sat in silence.

This isn’t the first occasion where I had been a victim of racial slurs. I’ve experienced racism online, from the occasional ignoramus who didn’t like what I had to say and retaliated by using vulgar adjectives to describe my lifestyle. But I had never had someone yell anything at me in person.

In that moment, I felt nothing but numbness. Then, the numbness subsided and turned into pain. Pain, because even though I was born and raised in the United States and have never lived anywhere else, I am not welcome here. Pain, from knowing that in my own country, I was a target of racism.

Those people at the concert felt inclined to yell abuse at me because of the way I looked, because I was wearing a hijab. Because I chose to express my right to freedom of religion, they called me a “terrorist”.

I am not alone in this racial animosity. Michael Brown and Eric Garner were also victims because of how they looked, because of their skin color.

How different are we from each other? Are skin colors, religious practices, and cultural backgrounds really worth that much hatred? In the end, aren’t we all human?

I am proud to be an Arab American Muslim woman. I am proud of who I am. I am proud of my religion, my cultural background, and the way I have chosen to express myself.

know that I am not a “terrorist”. I know that my religion is one of peace. I know that I belong in this country. I don’t need to prove that to anyone.

In the end, we are all human. We are all the same.

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