Mahjabeen Malik came to America for an escape and for support. While not everyone in the U.S. has welcomed her with open arms, the community she has created is exactly what she was looking for and makes her proud to call the U.S. home. In her story she shares why she left her roots and how she has planted new ones.
I came to America to save myself from the tyranny of political parties, male chauvinism and the feeling of helplessness due to the absence of support for women who are victims of sexual harassment. But I’ve learned that can’t entirely be escaped.
I found Americans to be very supportive, very kind and very helpful. But discrimination exists no matter where you are. For years I have seen people get opportunities that I can’t. Receive funds that I am denied. I have faced discrimination at workplaces where the ethnic group in majority dictates and bullies others. In my experience, the white girls knew how to navigate through the course and reach their destination. The Spanish-speaking and Arab-speaking women had a lot of community support, but as a single Pakistani woman, living alone and trying to understand the new aspects of my lonely single life, I was hated, neglected by my own hijabi community.
I was supported by Indians and white American girls who stood up with me during 9/11 arguments, but no Islamic community stood up or came forward to help me or women like me. I am thankful to the Americans that helped me get through the difficult time. America is my country and I will serve it to my best.
I think the new generation of Muslim Americans is loyal to the country we call home, but the older generation holds some resentment. Discrimination may always exist in some way, but I’m thankful that this country has given me the support I didn’t have without it.