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					                           DEALING WITH DIFFERENCE: IN THE MIX
  This is a transcript of an interview conducted with five teenagers, four Muslim and one Sikh, about
  their experiences in America after 9/11. They talk about misconceptions, prejudice, and promoting
         religious understanding. After you read, complete your GIST and reflection questions.

In the past year, many Muslim Americans and Arabs have been treated as if they too were responsible
for what happened on 9/11. More than 1700 bias incidents were reported. But it's important to
remember that they, like so many others, have come to this country in search of freedom and

Much of the hostility comes from misunderstanding the religion of Islam and those who practice it. So
we talked with some Muslim teens and a Sikh to see how they were affected, and to clear up some
common misconceptions about the teachings of Islam.


Salima: My name is Salima. I'm 17, I live in New York, and I am an American.

Ali: My name is Ali. I am a Muslim-Irani-New Yorker.

Hager: My name is Hager Youssef. I'm 15 and I was born in Ancient Egypt and right now I practice
the Islamic religion in New York.

Roksana: My name is Roksana and I was born in Bangladesh and I came to America at the age of 5.

Shawn: My name is Shawn. I was born in America. I was raised an American. I am an American. I am
16 and I am Sikh.

Shawn: Everyone was affected by 9/11 regardless of religion, race, background, anything. Because it's
an attack on humanity and humanity is one.

Ali: It's facts that Muslim-Americans, that they died, they got injured, they were in a state of shock.

Hager: There's such this big percentage. This huge amount of Muslims who are actually angered at
what happened and condemned what happened.

Salima: Every American saw the planes hit and felt like wow, who could do this to people. But you
could be a Muslim-American, Jewish-American, Christian-American, and still feel the same.

Hager: To a certain point I am still confused about you know, why, why would you do that?

Ali: I'm angry at a couple of facts. One is bin Laden and his gang of thugs. You're talking about two
planes -- that's really not what they hijacked overall -- they hijacked the whole Islamic religion, the
whole Islamic view in the worldwide arena.


Salima: Some common misconceptions of Muslims in America -- which ones do you want? Most of
them are that Muslims are evil. They have twisted minds. They have bombs in their hands and they
hate anyone that isn't a Muslim.
Roksana: That we are all violent, that we're all believing that what happened at the World Trade Center
is right, anything that has to do with violence, and would go to heaven for it. That's what it is.

Ali: If you say Muslim and a person thinks a guy with a robe and a beard and a Koran in his hand, like
you know, chanting death to America.

Shawn: I get asked a lot, are you a terrorist? I think a lot of people are under the impression that
everyone who wears a turban is somehow a terrorist. My uncle got chased by a guy on a highway for
two hours and that guy had a shotgun on him and that guy thought he was a Muslim and these things
occur all the time. There was a Sikh guy in Arizona that got killed. There were, you know, Sikh temples
that were burned and attacked. I think there should be knowledge that there is a difference between
Muslim and Sikhs. They are two different religions and different people. But even further, that Sikhs
are not terrorists and Sikhs are not bad people, neither are Muslims.


Roksana: Those hijackers, they don't represent me. They don't represent the people here. They don't
represent what I believe and what the world should be like. My parents made me take my hijab off, to
go to school, or anywhere else. A hijab is a head covering that Muslim women wear to cover their hair.
I mean, my parents were really concerned and I was objectional because I didn't want to change the
way I dress, the way I acted, because of what 25 people did out of the 1 billion Muslims in this world.

Shawn: Islam, you know, it is the second largest religion in the world and not a lot of people even now
about it at least enough to say it is a peaceful religion.

Salima: Islam does not tell people to kill others. It does not tell people to murder in the name of Islam.

Hager: Actually, the word Islam comes from the word Sedan, which means peace. I mean, when we
greet each other we say... which means may peace be our prime year.

Salima: Christianity and Islam are branches of Judaism. They branched off so they all come from the
same. They are very, very similar. We believe in one God, they believe that you should love people, and
lead a peaceful life. Muslim people follow both the Torah, the Bible, and their own book the Koran.

Ali: Arabs are actually a minority in Islam. The majority are not Arab and they are not living in the
Middle East. You have Malaysia, Indonesia, you have so many countries Bangladesh, Pakistan that are
not in the Middle East but are Islamic countries. We are all living in the same world, a very small world
and um, you know, we are all human and the only way we will have a positive future is if we put all our
difference aside or you know, understand these differences.

Roksana: I had this fight with a guy and his misconceptions about my religion and he said that well,
since you say that all Muslims will go to heaven eventually, well, what about those 19 hijackers and
Osama bin Laden and all those terrorists? Are they gonna go to heaven as well? Is this obviously what
your religion teaches you? I just wanted to clarify some misconceptions that they had about Islam and
women and terrorism and how they relate together, especially after 9/11. I decided I wanted to do a
workshop on it....
...Shawn: Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, and even the Taliban, they took Islam and the essence of it, the
peaceful Islam and they twisted it around.

Salima: Al-Qaeda and bin Laden use Islam as a way to justify their means because that's the way they
get people to follow them. He's using it because they are miserable and he knows they are miserable
and he can make them believe certain things and twist their minds to his way of thinking, his twisted
way of thinking.

Ali: They are taught by people like bin Laden, the reason for their misery is the United States. And bin
Laden or anyone like him uses Islam and says if you do this you will go to heaven.

Roksana: That's definitely not true because you will go straight to hell because in Islam, suicide itself,
you're cursing your life and in a way saying your life is unfair and your kind of in a way saying, Allah
put you in this situation and any way that I am gonna get out of it is by killing myself.


Shawn: Everybody thinks the word Jihad mean Holy War, when in fact it means something else.

Ali: Unfortunately it has been taken in a wrong way, both by some people like bin Laden and both by
some of the media.

Roksana: Doesn't mean taking a bomb and killing yourself and others and taking a machine gun and
supporting bin Laden.

Hager: And it doesn't mean you know, a Holy War and fighting for a God because fighting is not part
of Jihad. It just simply isn't.

Ali: Jihad basically means a struggle, but what is emphasized in Islam is a struggle within you too, not
a struggle against you know, against people. It's a struggle within you to bring the truthful person in
you and you can bring yourself to enlightenment or salvation.

Hager: The next step is to come out to the people and educate them in Islam and that's what Jihad
really means.

Salima: I'm an American. I like being an American. I wouldn't have a problem if I didn't come back to
my country. My father was a Marine. I support what he was doing.

Shawn: I'm just as American as any other person out there in my school. There's no difference and I
have just as much love for America as anyone else. My parents came to this country 20 years ago. They
came here because they have the protection of the Constitution. They have the protection of the
government and they know that over there, they don't have those rights.

Ali: The good thing about this country in particular is that it doesn't give the opportunity to people to
follow their religions and express their thoughts and I hope that in the future, in response and in regards
to what happened on September 11, that does not go away because that is really what America stands
for, not only for Americans but for people outside. It's the right for people to be who they are.
                            Dealing With Difference: In The Mix
   1. Read the interview transcript, focusing on the main ideas and important details
   2. Then, complete the 5 W's and H Organizer







   3. Next, write an exactly 20 word summary that conveys the GIST of the article.

      ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________

      ____________   ____________    ____________   ____________   ____________

      ____________   ____________    ____________   ____________   ____________

      ____________   ____________    ____________   ____________   ____________

   4. Finally, answer these reflection questions on the back of this worksheet:
      1. Before reading this article, did you have any misconceptions about Islam and/or
      2. What did you learn about Muslims and/or Islam that you didn't know before?
      3. Could you identify with any of these students? If so, explain how.
      4. Will reading this article change your thinking or your behavior? If so, how?
      5. Do you think that prejudice against Muslims and/or Islam is a problem in
         Kalamazoo? Explain why or why not.
      6. What do you think we can do to prevent negative misconceptions against any

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