My name is Ayana I. Muhammad. I am 17 years old and have lived in Hancock for 11 years. On June 6, I found out through an article in the New York Post that I was a terrorist. How can this be? Is my life over? This is such a nightmare! I thought that I was on my way to college to become a nurse. I didn’t know that being Muslim meant that I was now a terrorist. I’ve never committed a crime in my entire life. The word “Islam” comes from the root word salaam meaning peace. Why can’t we all just live our lives? No one else is being targeted because of a religion they practice or the clothes they wear. Nowadays you can be Goth, you can be a Wiccan, a Buddhist, Bahai. It seems that you just can’t be a Muslim without being a terrorist.

If only we could see each other for who we are and not what people or the media portray us to be. I’m just a regular teen who volunteers with a local Girl Scout troop because I want to make a difference. I work with Muslims and people of different faith groups for good causes, and I never differentiate between them. Last summer, my Muslim community did relief work assisting flood victims at the local Maple Lane Church. Is assisting your displaced neighbors an act of terrorism? Does volunteering to work with local Girl Scouts or the Red Cross a commendable act or an act of a terrorist? The answer is clear — even for a 17-year-old. How about for you?

Ayana Muhammad


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