Doha Medani | Guest Columnist

Since November 8th, I’ve struggled to grasp the fact that the only country I’ve ever known as home has rejected me. This country has altogether decided that discarding the humanity of my people and I, is an easy pill to swallow, a necessary sacrifice for the sake of the nation. We’ve been told that soon we will have to register as “Muslim”, much like our Jewish friends did a number of years ago. I’ve struggled to understand how a country that seems to pride itself on the values of truth, democracy and freedom refuses to recognize the disgusting racism and white supremacy that has existed since the “birth” of this nation.

Then, on November 21, a friend sent me a photograph of a torn Technician newspaper that featured Deah, Yusor and Razan on the cover. This newspaper had been hanging outside an office in the DH Hill library, behind the circulation desk, since the tragic murders of Deah, Yusor and Razan. It’s a copy that sits in my room and the homes of many NC State students because it is a wound that is still throbbing with pain. I’m almost positive that no one on this campus or in administration is going to do anything about it. It was made very clear early this semester that CEO Woodson would not punish hate speech nor hate actions, nor would he or anyone in administration sponsor mandatory initiatives to educate the ignorant among us. I do want to take a moment to make something extremely clear to those who use acts of spite and cowardice to force the Muslim community or any disenfranchised community into fear: you do not faze us.

Racism, hate, islamophobia and cowardice have very deep roots in this country, it is nothing new. But as Muslims, we saw this university honor and revere our fallen friends. They were “Our Three Winners” because they were everything that this establishment prides itself on: kind, compassionate, generous, humble scholars who used their skills and passions to create beautiful things and help all people. They did not pick up these characteristics at NC State. Yes, NC State gave them the tools needed to discover their talents and sharpen their skills but Islam gave them their modesty, humility, generosity and strength. For that, they’ve already won.

I imagine that “Our Winners” created a lot of cognitive dissonance in people. Hopefully, this dissonance propels people on campus to learn more about Muslims. However, these actions of cowardice do not change who we are. You can choose to hate Muslims, to tolerate them, to befriend them or try to understand them. We’re still going to live by the same set of principles. We refuse to let anyone make us feel inferior. Ever. We are unapologetically Muslim. We are unabashed allies to all disenfranchised communities.

On November 22nd, I can honestly say, I’ve never been more proud to be Muslim. Believe that.