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2/17/16- Chicago area’s Muslim youth fight stereotypes, suspicion

By Manya Brachear Pashman

Asiyah Bhaiji knew the boys in her class were just clowning around, but their words stung just the same. As they headed inside from an ultimate Frisbee game at Springman Middle School in Glenview, one of them wrapped his team’s colors around his head like a turban.

“Are you trying to go Muslim style, terrorist style?” his buddy asked. Aasiyah’s stomach burned. “Stop it,” she snapped.

For American Muslim teens, learning how to balance their multifaceted identity can be a challenge.

“For every child, identity is really important: ‘Who am I? Where do I fit in?'” said Aliyah Bannister, 28, a Muslim guidance counselor at the Islamic Foundation School in Villa Park. “But Muslim kids have to deal with that crisis of identity along with ‘What’s my ethnic identity? How does that fit in? How does being an American fit in? How does being a Muslim fit in?’ You have to resolve all these issues as a youth when you’re already feeling that all you want is to blend in.”

Continue reading to know how Chicago’s Muslims youth fight stereotypes and suspicions.