I was interviewed by Nina Porzucki for Public Radio International’s “The World” radio program, featured in this April 23, 2013 story on being a young American Muslim in the post-9/11 United States.
Short promotional preview featuring myself:
Excerpt from around 4:47:
But Shereen Shafi, an undergraduate studying International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore sees a silver lining.
“I had to respond to peoples’ attacks and that led me to look more into the faith itself and also the history surrounding it,” Shafi says.
Shafi’s parents, both doctors, came to the US from Pakistan 20 years ago. She was born here and has only been to Pakistan once, when she was six. Growing up, her family observed the Muslim faith. She went to Sunday school, celebrated Eid, but being Muslim wasn’t a huge part of her identity, she says, until her faith got more and more scrutinized.
“I think that’s the case with more and more believers having it made a big deal strengthened my connection to the faith and faith community,” she says.
Shafi feels angry at the brothers who attacked people, at the racial profiling of Muslims, at the fear she’s felt these past few days when heading outside alone but it’s more complicated than pure anger.”
“People get angry at Osama Bin Laden for making Muslims look bad and I think that’s generally how I felt when I was younger,” Shafi says. “At this point, because these kids were just your average teenagers … the older brother had some issues. I feel more sad that someone would be driven to do this. I do feel angry at the way they make Muslims look. I guess I’m upset that people are extrapolating from them to the broader community.”
There’s sadness but each student was also quick to point to a hopeful future.
There’s also extra audio, not featured in the text of the article, where the other students and I talk at more length. You can hear me at the very beginning, and again at about 6:43: