The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Muslim counteracts stereotypes

SE student Nashat Qashou is currently the president of the Muslim Student Association. The club aims to give students a healthy, social and faithful atmosphere. Photo by Peter Matthews/The Collegian

By Raegan Scharfetter/managing editor

Even though SE student Nashat Qashou is proud to be born in Arlington, he has still experienced the sting of discrimination.

Sent to Jordan by his father in third grade along with his mother and brothers, Qashou learned Arabic and more about his culture during his time living there.

“My brothers and I met both sides of the family, went to school, made some friends and learned a lot very fast,” he said. “But coming back to school in America definitely was a different environment.”

From what they believe in to the clothes they wear, Muslims are treated differently in America. Qashou aims to spread his message of what being Muslim is really like and how it is misconstrued in American society.

The kindness of Qashou’s fifth-grade teacher, Ms. Crumbaker, helped him pick up English and get back on his feet, he said.

However, his return to America was not easy. Qashou faced ridicule for being Muslim starting when he first returned home when people labeled him a newcomer, fresh off the boat.

“A few of the biggest hardships have been comments from closed-minded people saying to go back to where you came from and go back to your country,” he said. “We are treated differently, and this is only in America.”

While in junior high near the anniversary of Sept. 11, his class was shown a clip of the towers being hit and classmates looked toward him.

“They were showing the clip, and my friends made fun of me,” he said. “I stayed strong and ignored it, but it taught me to choose my friends wisely and to be the bigger man in every situation.”

Nashat Qashou learned to choose his friends wisely and be the bigger person early in life.
Nashat Qashou learned to choose his friends wisely and be the bigger person early in life.
Photo by Peter Matthews/The Collegian

These experiences have affected Qashou in a negative way. The lack of knowledge and rudeness from others for just following a religion and expressing thoughts and culture was disappointing, he said

Although he has faced many trials and tribulations, Qashou said the only thing he currently gets from others is an occasionally foul facial expression when he wears his kufi (a hat that is worn with a robe called a thobe for prayer).

“Of course, there is discrimination, but generally, people are very respectful, and they try to separate terrorists from Muslim people,” he said. “Otherwise, I have a safe and beautiful life. And from what I’ve seen, SE Campus has been more than welcoming. We are a family.”

As for the root of the problems Muslims have faced in the past and present, Qashou blames the media, closed-minded individuals and ignorance.

“People are brainwashed to believe everything they see and read, whether it’s on CNN or any news channel,” he said. “This includes real-life situations and aspects that we all go through.”

Qashou would like people to know that Muslims are just like other humans. The only difference between Muslims and others are that most Muslims follow the religion strongly from how beautiful the message is, he said.

Qashou is currently the president of the Muslim Student Association, a SE club that aims to provide students with a healthy, social and faithful atmosphere to develop a good understanding of Islam according to the Quran or the prophet’s teachings.

“We have discussions that dispel any misconceptions about Islam and develop strong relationships amongst Muslims and non-Muslim students on this campus,” he said. “My experience with MSA has welcomed a fellow brother to Islam, Sekou, with God’s guidance and help from myself, imams [priests], scholars and his own studies over the religion. He has accepted this religion to be true, and his decision has become my motivation and inspiration to help and inspire others to the beautiful message of God.”

Qashou, a business marketing major, hopes to obtain his master’s degree in business and eventually become a full-time imam. He also aims to be a humanitarian for his community, a math instructor, and he is looking into joining the Air Force.

“These are careers and dreams that I will strive to accomplish and will make them all come into action,” he said. “Like the Prophet Mohammed said it himself, ‘Actions with the good intention will get the biggest rewards.’”

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