Being a Muslim girl in America

A close up of a girls face wearing a Hijab

My name is Najma Darwish, I’m 14 years old and I have many titles, writer, daughter, friend, Somali, American and most importantly, Muslim.

I was born and raised in America and have seen Islamophobia first hand. Being a teenage girl in this era of America has not been easy. I’ve been called many names and wouldn’t find the time to write each and every single one of them.

I go to school were I am the only girl who wears the hijab, I sometimes see this as a burden and not as being unique. I see my friends being able to do stuff that a Muslim girl can’t. I see others in my gym class staring down at me for being dressed from head to toe. I stare at myself and see my hijab as a burden sometimes. "You would look prettier without it" a voice in my head would say, "you look different."

But that struggle isn’t inclusive to me, many Muslim girls experience feeling different in a bad way. Having people be afraid of you, or treat you different. It’s happened so much that it’s become second nature for people to think different of me.

It’s only been recently when I picked up a magazine and saw Halima Aden gracefully pose on the cover. Someone who is like me, someone who is underrepresented. I felt happy to know that being different can be good.

I’m a proud Muslim, not just because of seeing that cover but seeing that that isn’t the only thing to me. I have so many attributes and so many skills that I could share with you.

My hijab is my crown, I wear it as so. I walk proud and tall and show others that still my beauty shows. I have the Quran in my heart and smile with It’s knowledge. I know that I will have challenges because of my identity, people will treat me differently, but I won’t let others define me.

Not anymore.

United States of America