Student Sample Essay– Start Them Writing Young
The following sample personal essay, “Too Muslim for Violence” was written by Mohamed, my 7th grade student at The TEAK Fellowship. I am proud to share it with you here– he has exploded into his voice over only 8 weeks in my class, and he has a message for us about individuality and peace. If you think you don’t need to hear it, you’re probably wrong. It’s never too young to start them writing about what they see in the world, and who they might be.
“Too Muslim for Violence”
Al Salam Alaikum my brothers and sisters. Let’s start by defining that phrase. The phrase itself means peace be upon you. As Muslims, we greet each other with peace. It seems ironic that many people view us Muslims as terrorists, murderers, kidnappers, or basically any other negative role a human being can play. We greet each other with peace – where could the violence come from?
I turn left and right on a cool Monday morning in my school uniform. Ready to learn and ready to see my friends, but definitely not ready for what was to come. As I read the news, my heart skipped a beat. A terrorist attack. Another terrorist attack. I was praying to God that it wasn’t somebody with a Muslim name. Please no Ahmed, no Abdel, and absolutely no one else with the name Mohamed. I sunk down into a deep, deep, dark hole. I shut off my phone right away. By no means was this the first terrorist attack that I read about, but usually I was home. Not knowing what to say or what to do I wondered: Is anybody looking at me? Is anybody talking about me? I couldn’t believe what was on my phone – his name was even worse than I anticipated: Ahmed Muhammed. Two Muslim names but only one person. I just wanted to go back home because I worried my friends would be scared of me since a “Muslim” man blew up a church in Egypt. At that moment I felt like every person was saying, “All these Muslim people are so violent.”
The media was successful again in spreading hate and false truths. These violent acts seemed to happen so often, I even began to wonder, Am I violent too? Am I violent? Am I violent? Then I was reminded that I am Muslim and we greet people with peace. I am too Muslim for violence. Am I violent? No, I am Mohamed Morsi, a proud Muslim boy. These acts of violence actually don’t happen often, it just appears to be this way because of the media portrayal. There is a small number of extremists who commit violent acts, and therefore are not actually Muslim. It is time to look at the individual instead of looking at his/her religion. This leads to generalizations of groups and that encourages stereotypes. Kids like me can then sink into very dark, dark, deep holes on their way to school. That is very hard to get out of.
The man who I saw on my phone was part of the minority, not the majority. He was not practicing the fundamental principles of Islam, which is to spread peace and blessings. We must remind ourselves of the truth when we expose ourselves to the news. Remind ourselves that people are paid to formulate these stories and honesty is not their top priority. Though there may be bad people in this world, I am not one of them, and neither are the true Muslims. Stereotypes, media, and racist people will try to fill us up with lies, but we must know better, teach others better, and be better.
What’s your story?
To take a stand in yourself and ask critical questions of the world around you, the personal essay is a brilliant form. Contact us to start on yours.