Islamic school students still searching for acceptance

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on September 9, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Updated Saturday, Sep 10 at 8:54 AM

ARLINGTON - At Vanguard International Academy in Arlington, the lecture today is about a great American, Benjamin Franklin.

But the lesson these students are still learning, is that not all Americans are great.

"Well because my last name was Hussein, in public school, there was this boy who would always say Saddam Hussein to me," Fatima Hussein said.

On September 11, 2001, Fatima Hussein was just six years old.

A teenager now, she and her classmates are still regularly called terrorists.

"This is the unfortunate effect of 9-11, ten years later," said Jama Qaddura, a spokesperson for the school and mosque. "These kids and this community are actually the ultimate victims of 9-11."

North Texas Muslims said they've been fighting for understanding for their innocent children since the attacks.

This Islamic school is much like a public campus, with artwork in the halls and football at recess.

But growing up Muslim often isn't carefree.

One young man News 8 spoke to said he had to drop out of a city basketball team.

"I didn't want to get in a fight with them," he said. "[T]hey talked too much smack."

He and his classmates didn't want to share their names for fear of becoming targets of prejudice.

So for the tenth anniversary of the event that changed their lives, these American Muslims are praying for many things, including acceptance.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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