We have a guest contribution from a young writer, Jiniya Azad. Jiniya is an American-Muslim from Bangladesh who currently resides in New York City. She is a junior in the High School of Arts and Technology. In her school, she is involved in the Student Leadership Team and Muslim Students Association. She also holds position of the Events Coordinator in the Executive Committee of Muslim Alliance of New York, a coalition of high school MSAs.
The sound of vuvuzelas, the chants, the cheers – this is a spark of what unity feels like. When you’re celebrating the same faith with Muslims from all over the world, you feel unstoppable and secure. When you’re alone by yourself, roaming the streets of New York City, how can you scream “Takbir!” “Allahuakbar!” without feeling hesitant? But while you’re marching down the streets of Manhattan with your fellow Muslims, the words flow out on their own. The true essence of unity isn’t something that happens overnight. It comes with hard work and devotion. Unity has its benefits too. First, and foremost, the unity I’m talking about is Islamic unity – the realization that we are no matter our race or ethnicity, part of one. It encourages us to learn from each other, defend each other and overcome the deep schisms that exist in our community. As we made our way down Madison Avenue, it was a time for us to raise our voices and say we are Muslims, we are Americans and we are here to stay.