Student shares her story as a Muslim woman in America
Reham Eihab Zin migrated from Egypt five years ago with her mom and siblings to the United States where she thought it would be a nice place to start a new life.
When she got to the United States she had a hard time adapting to customs, the most difficult thing for her was English.
“I came from a small town in Egypt- I thought the U.S. had a lot of freedom, different cultures, faces and languages and I wasn’t used to this,” Zin said.
Zin said her “hijab,” (head covering) means honor, believe, faith and purity and that is really important to her.
It’s so important to her that she can’t leave her house without it, “Hijab is part of my body, I can’t go outside without it,” Zin said.
In high school she would get dirty looks and rude comments. She mentioned that someone said to her “What are you doing here? You’re a terrorist you should go back to your country.”
Zin said now she doesn’t deal with that much negativity anymore compared to grade school.
People ask her about her hijab and the significance of it and gets compliments on it, she added that she feels good in her Hijab and it makes her look different.
One of the biggest differences from the Egypt and U.S. that Zin noticed is that everyone takes care of each other and she felt safer there than she does here because people in the U.S. are more individualistic.
“If you’re surrounded by people like you who are exactly like you that safer for you than if you’re by someone who hates you and misunderstands you as a terrorist or something,” Zin said.
She shared she practices “Salat,” where she prays five times a day and has a hard time in school finding a quite place to pray; and if she didn’t find place to pray she would listen to her daily prayers through her phone.
Back in Egypt she would feel free to pray anywhere she wanted because she would see everyone practice Salat.
Praying five times a day is considered the second most important pillar of Islam’s five pillars according to Zin.
She added that being a Muslim woman means to be different, kind to others, and a good person.
Zin said terrorists don’t represent Muslims” We’re not [terrorists] because they have different religion and beliefs, they kill people in different religions not just Christians and Muslims.
“I don’t want to represent those people not just because I’m a Muslim person doesn’t mean I’m a terrorist; because Islam is purity,” Zin said.
She added that people can’t judge her religion because of someone’s mistake because not everyone in that religion is the same as that person.
Zin is currently attending Cerritos College as a kinesiology major.
Zin’s classmate, Connor Wood, political science major said she is the most helpful person in his class.
She always helps him with his homework and “is a really nice person,” Wood said.
He mentioned that one day he told her he never had Egyptian food and the next day she brought him dessert that her mom made and thought it was a nice gesture.