My story begins in April 2007. In the last months of my Junior year of my undergraduate career studying media at the University of Arizona, I set out to tell make a documentary about my experience as a Muslim American and an Iranian.
The film's focus was on my personal experience as an Iranian American in a world where the US and Iran are in what feels like an impending war with one another. As someone who calls both places home, I felt a responsibility to bridge the gap in any way I could.
I chose to communicate my message in the way I knew best and that was through break dancing. After discovering a young bboy in Tehran through an internet video, I began corresponding with him by email. Within 6 months I was in Iran practicing with him and his friends and discovering their insight on bboying, life in Iran, and Iran's tense relationship with the US.
Upon returning to the US, I was met outside of the airplane in Atlanta, where I was detained by Homeland Security under suspicion of terrorist activities. After being interviewed for over 5 hours, my documentary footage was confiscated and I was sent home empty handed.
I had never felt like such a foreigner in my life in my own place of birth. I had been singled out for being a Muslim and being an Iranian. With the help of an attorney I was able to retrieve my footage from federal authorities but I am still left with a tarnished record which comes to haunt me every time I re enter the US.
For me, being a Muslim defines my path and gives purpose to my life to reach my God given potential as a human, to serve my fellow creation and to combat ignorance with knowledge and understanding. I hope to continue on this path, even though there are many obstacles ahead of me in Iran and the US.
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