In our current political climate, it’s tough to be a Muslim living in the United States. To gain a deeper understanding into what it’s like to practice Islam in America, Colorado State University student, Adeela Fadel, answered some questions which shines a light on keeping her culture alive while absorbing American society.
Q: Adeela, where are you from and why did you move to the United States?
A: I moved to Fort Collins from Amman, Jordan because I wanted to go to school at the university.
Q: I see that you’re wearing the hijab and I was wondering if it feels different to wear the hijab here as opposed to Jordan?
A: Well it’s a big difference. I’m used to almost all women wearing one in Amman, but here there aren’t as many Muslims. It does make me feel insecure because sometimes I’m the only one in my classes with one on and I feel like everyone is looking at me. Sometimes, people give me dirty looks on the street which scares me.
Q: Why does that scare you?
A: Well, Donald Trump isn’t a big fan of Islam because of ISIS and I honestly think that he’s labeling all Muslims as bad or untrustworthy. So, when I notice people looking at me funny, I get sacred because these people might want to hurt me based off of what the president is saying about us.
Q: If you could speak to those people, what would you say to them?
A: I would say that I’m not a terrorist, I’m not an enemy and all I want is equal respect and to finish my degree.
Q: Is it hard to keep your traditions and culture alive in the US?
A: Not really. I go to the mosque in town and it feels a lot like the mosques I go to in Amman. So, we do a lot of the same stuff and we celebrate the same way we would at home. At my house I also cook a lot of the same traditional foods I grew up on. I honestly think that cooking keeps my culture and identity with me in America because what Americans eat and what people from Jordan eat are different.
Q: What did you think of Donald Trump’s Muslim ban?
A: Well, it was a very sad order he gave. I was scared because if I were to go back to Jordan for some reason, I might not have been able to come back and finish my degree. Once again, this ban showed that Donald Trump wants people to believe that all Islamic peoples are bad, but actually, we come here to get education, better opportunities and experiences.
Q: What do you think of American culture?
A: Well, there is a lot more a woman can do here which is cool. But there are other things that I don’t really understand, like staying out late and drinking. That’s just something I’m not used to. I’m also not used to people not being religious. I thought that everyone would be in church on Sunday here, but a lot of people on the campus don’t believe in religion. But, every culture is different and I respect that. I’ve gained a better understanding of western culture living here and it makes me proud of where I came from too.