BY: Fatimah Ahmed
Culture is a very important part of our lives. It is a way of life that is very different for everyone.
My culture is very important to me, it’s part of my identity. I am a Muslim Indian American. I grew up in an Islamic school and Desi South Asian community. I grew up around kids that were Indian, African, Pakistani, Egyptian, and Palestinian. I loved learning about cultures and their ethnicity.
I remember growing up and celebrating Eid at school where we dressed up and had class parties. Until elementary school, we had school programs that were a mix of plays and music, almost like a musical. I remember everyone being happy in their dresses. As an Indian, I’ve attended many weddings, where we dressed in beautiful dresses and jewelry, surrounded by music, and dancing, and tons of celebrations. Two practices I do in both my Indian and Muslim culture is Henna.
I love celebrating my culture with others, I think it’s a beautiful way to celebrate our differences and appreciate them. Whether it is sending Iftar to my neighbors in Ramadan or striking up a conversation with someone about my background. Now in college, I get to branch out to people I haven’t been around before and learn from them. KSM has helped me very much with this. I have learned about sisters’ cultures and traditions and I get to teach them about mine. We do a culture week every year and reach out to the rest of the student body.
I keep it a responsibility to educate people because there is a lot of ignorance in our society and that is a dangerous thing. My religion is misrepresented unfortunately, where there’s many stereotypes that against us. Islam is a peaceful religion, Islam itself means peace. It has many beautiful beliefs and virtues, it is a practice for every Muslim to be good with their neighbors and treat everyone with kindness and respect. It is made up with people of all backgrounds, everyone is equal in gods’ eyes. It is made up of minorities exclusively, there’s no major race. Ignorance is what divides us and creates fear. There has been a lot of tension with recent elections. But from it, there has been a unity among everyone to stand together.
I hope in this country we can breed more love in place of hate. I hope that violence amongst everyone comes to an end and we can love and respect one another. I hope that people can take a moment to educate themselves and appreciate one another’s cultures and traditions