11-Year-Old US Muslim Girl Honored for Powerful Essay

A New York 11-year-old Muslim girl has been honored this week in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game after she wrote an essay describing the pain of growing up as a hijabi Muslim in the US, CBS News reported Wednesday.

“Wearing a hijab, a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women is a part of some of the things we do,” wrote Asma Kaukab, a fifth grader at Shaw Avenue Elementary School in Valley Stream, New York.

“Sometimes I feel like I want to take it off, so kids won’t say anything to me anymore.”

Born in America to Pakistani parents, Asma shared her experience as part of the Breaking Barriers program at her school.

The two month curriculum was developed by Major League Baseball, Scholastic and Sharon Robinson, the daughter of Jackie Robinson. It culminates with a nationwide essay contest.

“We get lessons from history but we want to be able to contemporize it. We learn so much about children across the country and what they’re experiencing,” she said.

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In April, Asma’s essay was picked out of over 10,000 entries as the best in the country.

The young girl was honored on Monday night by thousands in Cleveland who attended the Home Run Derby.

“Now people are trying to include me more and they don’t exactly say names to me and they kind of invite me to play games with them. So it’s gotten a lot better,” Asma said.

Although there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to between 6-8 million Muslims.

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of visibly Muslim respondents told the Pew Research Center in 2017 that they’ve experienced at least one instance of religious discrimination in the past year.

The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a research firm that focuses on Muslim American issues, found in 2017 that Muslims were about four times as likely as the general public to report that their school-aged children were being bullied.

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