Mayeda Alom – A Muslim Student at Glasgow

Mayeda+Alom+-+A+Muslim+Student+at+Glasgow

By: Ayesha Gulzar

February 25, 2021

 

Mayeda Alom is a 7th-grade Muslim student at Glasgow. Her parents are originally from Bangladesh, however, she was born in the U.S. Over the years, she has found a passion for creativity as she enjoys drawing (the picture below is something she created digitally!) and writing, but Islam continues to play a huge part in her life. 

In an interview, when asked about how she would describe Islam in its simplest form, she said, “It is very complex, but overall it is very peaceful. There have been a lot of incidents and fake Muslims that make it [Islam] seem violent and harsh, but it’s really not that way.” She has explained this to others and tried to answer questions to debunk misconceptions when it comes to Islam. “There sure are a lot of questions and a lot of them are kind of weird like ‘Do you wear a hijab in the shower?’ Overall, I do answer the questions because I think it is better to be educated than left ignorant.“ She has also said that because of common misconceptions about Islam she has been ridiculed, especially since she wears a hijab and is easy to identify. “I have been called out and been taunted with phrases such as Allahuakbar, and it isn’t harsh, but funny in a way because they think that it is offensive, but all it means is that God is the greatest. It can get really annoying though how people call me out for no reason…I have been called a terrorist once, but I wasn’t very deeply hurt by it, but I understand if someone more sensitive was, but it does get old a lot of the time.”

Other than misconceptions and discrimination, Mayeda also says that being a Muslim girl and getting through the school day can also have its challenges. “Of course fasting can be really tough, especially during P.E, but most of my teachers have been kind about it, but I know some other teachers aren’t very understanding. Wearing hijab on hot days and during P.E can also be very uncomfortable… also, the stalls that are in changing rooms are normally full and it gets really annoying because, for Muslim girls, we are used to being modest and not changing in front of everyone. I remember that I used to be late to my classes almost every time because I would have to wait so long for the changing rooms to open up. It’s not to say that we don’t have a lot, but these challenges can get really annoying and make us feel unseen.” After she expressed the challenges that everyday school came with, she said that she had a few ideas to help improve the school experience for Muslims at Glasgow. They are listed below:

  • Eid becoming an official holiday on the school calendar.
  • Policies in reference to fasting to limit temptation and exertion.
  • Basic Islamic knowledge among staff for inclusivity.
  • Restrictions on changing rooms for those who really need them.
  • More to acknowledge certain food restrictions whether they are allergies, religious, or personal choices.

Overall, Mayeda encourages people to educate themselves about Islam to prevent conflict and hostility due to misinformation. “Of course, there is no way to stop Islamophobia and things like that, but a lot of the time it is parent or guardian influence that makes people the way they are. So, for all those kids who act awkward or mean towards Muslims, I urge them to do some research instead of just going off of their previous misconceptions.” In short, no matter what differences we have, we should embrace and learn to create a safe environment where all students can learn, grow, and be individual.