Dealing with ignorance: A Reflection on Being Muslim at LHS


When walking in the crowded halls of LHS, what are you thinking of? Your math quiz? English essay? Maybe your after-school practice you can’t wait to go to? 

When I’m walking in the halls, I feel an overwhelming anxiety going through me. A hundred thoughts a minute, all about my appearance. I feel like everyone is staring at my hijab, at me, just for existing.

It feels like there is a spotlight on me, following my every step, and it can be hard to learn to embrace that spotlight.

Being a minority at LHS, but not feeling like one, gets uncomfortable. There is an awkward number of muslims at LHS, not the majority, but quite a few. It’s just an uncomfortable middle.

It’s as if people want diversity, but when there’s too much, it gets awkward. It is hard being Muslim in a primarily white school, whether it is getting mixed up for a different person or getting asked ignorant questions. It can be extremely annoying, especially when the person is asking a question that Google could so easily answer.

Dealing with that can be tough. However, over time, I’ve had to develop ways of getting through those awkward moments, as have fellow Muslim females who have similar experiences to me.

“It’s all about patience,” stated freshman Lena Noweder. “You really have to adopt a mindset that you don’t have to care about what other people think. And I feel like they’re not trying to offend me. They just want to know more about it.”

People are curious, and when you are a minority, you just have to learn to cut people some slack when they’re talking to you.

Junior Mai Asad also shares a similar mindset.

“I try not to take it too heavily because I understand that people don’t know a lot about Islam and they don’t know a lot about my culture, so I try to answer them the best I can,” Asad said.

Even though these questions can get overwhelming, I’ve learned that it’s important to understand that some people are just curious, and they mean no harm by it. After accepting that fact, it becomes easier talking to people, and learning to take things lightly.

Additionally, even though it is really awkward when someone confuses me for another hijabi, I have learned to either ignore it, or find humor in it. People don’t mean to, and even though it is frustrating, I have to just let it go. I say to myself that it’s their fault, I have no reason to feel awkward about it. If anything, they probably do.

However, after years of conformity and hiding, I am proud to say that Islam is a part of my identity.

It’s comforting seeing other Muslims in the hall, knowing that other people have to deal with the same things I do. For Noweder and Asad, they also find security in that.

“Seeing another hijab in the hallway, it gives [me] that sense of connection,” Noweder said.

Asad has a similar perspective. “[Seeing other hijabis] creates closer bonds with people when there’s a small group of that minority,” Asad said. 

Knowing that other people are in the same boat as I am is really comforting. It helps me create connections with them. Despite the many hardships I face everyday, at the end of the day, I, and other Muslims here in LHS, love being Muslim.

I’m glad to go to a school that is overall welcoming, inclusive and very accepting. I, and other Muslims, are lucky to go to a school where we can just be who we are, with no criticism. 

In the end, despite the many awkward, weird or uncomfortable situations I will inevitably find myself in, I know they won’t matter and they don’t define me.

Noweder is “proud to be Muslim because we’re unique.” So am I.