We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
When I logged onto my Twitter Wednesday morning, my timeline was filled with tweets about MOOZ-Lum, a movie written by Qasim Basir. A friend of mine was promoting the independent film for a movie screening being held at Howard University that night.
Based on a true story, MOOZ-Lum tells the story of an African-American Muslim family as they struggle to maintain their faith against a harsh American society before and after 9/11. Specifically, the movie follows the life of Tariq as he struggles through life in college as a Muslim-American.
Staring Evan Ross, Nia Long and Danny Glover, MOOZ-Lum is a triumphant story motivating viewers to look past their negative connotations concerning Muslims.
There are many Americans today who still have negative opinions about people who do not look exactly like them. Just recently, when visiting a close friend from high school at her university, we ran into two students. Upon passing them, one of those students used a racial slur against me.
Throughout my life, I had never experienced someone voicing such hatred. Upon hearing this word, my entire body tensed up in anger, however I continued walking. My friend kept telling me to ignore him regardless of the amount of times he repeated the slur.
In that mere 5 minutes, I experienced what Muslims living in America have been experiencing for the past ten years.
There are many people in the world who believe it is acceptable to use derogatory terms against a certain group of people. Whether or not these individuals know, these terms have potential to emotionally destroy a person.
It is important for people to understand that one person does not represent an entire race, religion or culture. America’s Unofficial Ambassadors (AUA) attempts to dispel those negative stereotypes through people-to-people connections. The power of service is far beyond what anyone can imagine. By giving volunteers an opportunity to work with people in Muslim majority countries, AUA is giving them a chance to connect on a personal level to learn things about a culture that they may not have known.
Upon learning about the initiatives of AUA, I knew that it was a program that I wanted to work closely with. As I enter my senior year at Howard University, the importance of international cultures has weighed heavily on my career goals. There is much hatred in the world that must be corrected before we can grow as a society. Being part of an initiative that shares the same views and values is very fulfilling. I have faith that the efforts of AUA will be beneficial for everyone.