It doesn’t matter if you were born in America or have lived in the country for most of your entire life. It doesn’t matter if you are an upstanding, law-abiding citizen and it doesn’t matter if you’re not even Muslim — thanks to fear mongers and Islamophobia spreading like wildfire — if you’re perceived to be associated with Islam at all, you’re subject to severe abuse.
Nathalie Andrea Aramburo posted on Facebook that she had been asked by her professor to come to class dressed as her favorite celebrity, so she chose to dress as women’s rights crusader Malala Yousafzai.
Aramburo wore a hijab and covered up every inch of her skin to look like the 18-year-old Muslim woman who was shot in the face by Taliban gunmen at the age of 15 for attending school.
Aramburo said her parents expressed concern for her safety when they saw how she was planning to leave the house, but she ignored it and continued on her way until she was bombarded with hate and discrimination in just the 20 minutes it took her to drive to class.
“As I was driving, I have more than a few people roll their windows down to stick their middle fingers at me, near the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru a young white male threw his coffee at my car, and 2 F-250 trucks chanced (sic.) me down on Jog Rd and tried to crash into my tiny Toyota Camry,” she wrote.
She said she arrived to class in tears after being in fear for her life the whole way there.
Although Aramburo insists she is not brave for enduring such a terrifying experience, she truly is.
Many of us would have turned right around and went home after the first few middle fingers or we would have removed the hijab until we arrived at our destination, but she didn’t.
She willingly and bravely went through the abuse and as a result, she discovered a greater sense of respect and appreciation for those who deal with those issues daily.
At the very end of her inspirational post, Aramburo hashtagged #terrorismhasnoreligion perfectly summing up the important message so many people are choosing to ignore.