Fida Hurlock is a first generation Palestinian-American Muslim who lives in Oregon. She is finishing her degree in Human and Family Services and Public Health. When Fida isn’t chasing around her three children or rescuing injured animals with her husband Jim, she enjoys exercising, acting and modeling. This story and photograph was produced by Carlos Khalil Guzman, a photographer and activist currently based in NYC.
I’ve learned to be true to yourself. Growing up in America with a rich Middle Eastern culture I grew up confused. It was hard to know who or how to be. It took years to figure myself out. Eventually I learned hiding myself to please others wasn’t right.
I remember being very little, so little I slept in a crib. in one of the first apartments my parents rented in Michigan while trying to find a safe neighborhood. I was in a plain room, nothing on the walls, a purple night-light and two very large stuffed animals.
It was the middle of the night and I woke up. I saw my feet, looked around, saw I was alone, saw the stuffed animals. Then I looked at my night-light and started seeing red and blue spots, which frightened me. So I started crying and my mom came in very tired to comfort me.
I have always said the Surah Al-Fatiha in times of fear, when I would think a ghost was in the room or if I was walking home late. I knew Allah (God) was watching and helping me. This first surah (chapter) of the Qur’an guides me.
The verses remind me of my childhood. My sisters and I would often gather together and recite Al-Fatiha together or one by one. We were so proud of ourselves when we memorized it and we could see our parents were proud of us too.
The comforting words of Al-Fatiha are powerful and have helped me feel and be protected.