From Oday Aboushi to Sadia Saifuddin: The Tension of Being Young, Palestinian and Muslim in America

This piece is written by an up-and-coming journalist on balancing ethic and personal identity in a place that does not always readily accept it. Please read.

Yasmeen Serhan

For those of you who’ve been living under a rock or away from the Twitterverse recently, it’s been a progressive couple of weeks for young Palestinians and Muslims everywhere. However, we shouldn’t start celebrating just yet.

Last week Oday Aboushi, a 22-year-old Palestinian-American and practicing Muslim, was drafted by the New York Jets in the fifth round of the 2013 National Football League Draft, making him one of the first Palestinian players to join the NFL. On Wednesday, the University of California Board of Regents confirmed 21-year-old Pakistani-American Sadia Saifuddin as student regent-designate, making her the first Muslim to hold the position.

Though on face both achievements seem like victories for young Palestinian and Muslim Americans everywhere, both honors were not received without controversy. In fact, it was not the achievements of these two individuals that got them attention in the news but rather the public’s reactions to their achievements that…

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