My first name, "Diana," is a word that, with interchangeable accent levels, may be pronounced in three languages: English (Di-an-uh), Arabic (Deeyana), and even Spanish (Day-anah).
Because of my English-sounding name and fair complexion, most people don't suspect me or my culture as anything unexpected upon their acquaintance with me.
So, allow me to inform you of who I am.
I am someone who has found that searching for insight often leads to total darkness.
I am an active student at the most diverse high school in Frederick County.
My lunch table, which consists of four girls with whom I share close friendships, is comprised of: myself (Palestinian), Neha (Indian), Christina (Burmese), Quashima (African-American), and Katrina (Filipino). Despite this, I am denunciated as a member of "a religion which does not to adapt" or accept the ways of those different from myself. It's amazing to see how certain peoples' attitudes change; awkwardly, questioningly, once they are informed.
... Whose is the true failure in accepting?
I am a contributing member to the Islamic Society of Frederick.
This past weekend, our youth group sponsored land in Urbana for the annual BIG Sweep, as well as a house for Habitat for Humanity. Personally, I made my way to Mount Airy to fix a house for Rebuilding Together.
The ISF has had a partnership with The Frederick Soup Kitchen for years.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, our most admired organization, is an avid contributor for the Katrina Hurricane fund, in addition to several global disasters.
Look at Islamic Relief magazine. On this month's cover is a tease for their extensive feature on HIV & AIDS relief.
A significant percentage of our congregation is comprised of adults and students in the field of medicine. The majority of those doctors, nurses, and volunteers are employed by Frederick Memorial Hospital.
Yet, I am part of the group that, according to claims, is "not seen" in the community or hospitals.
It stuns me that a person is able to look at a community volunteer and ignorantly decide from what and where this individual gains his or her origin -- even more so, that the onlooker develops such thoughts at all. (MORE)