Growing up in Cary, Taiyyaba Qureshi spent her summer vacations in research labs "filling petri dishes" for her immunologist father and microbiologist mother.
Her parents, natives of Pakistan, expected her to become a scientist, just like them.
But by the time she took an advanced placement physics class, Qureshi had other notions. Active in her mosque and always willing to represent Islam at churches and schools, she dreamed of a larger public role.
Her venue? Law school.
"Our parents were focused on economic stability," said Qureshi, a second-year law student at UNC-Chapel Hill.
"Our needs are not economic stability but social and political empowerment."
Qureshi is one of a growing number of educated, middle-class Muslims who are venturing into law, journalism, filmmaking and acting. They have seen firsthand the difficulties of being a Muslim post-9/11, and they want to ensure that America's values of equality, freedom and opportunity are extended to all.
Whether it was the roundups of U.S. Muslims after the 2001 terrorist strikes, the perceived racial profiling at airports or the employment discrimination experienced by some women wearing the veil, these young Muslims think America needs more vocal representation from their ranks. (MORE)