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Born and raised in America to immigrant parents, Islam often seemed out of place in my world. It only seemed to exist in my home, where we would pray, read Qur'an, learn about Islamic history and fast.

Outside life was different. Food had to be examined and questioned before being eaten, and my hijab, or headscarf, was more of a point of scorn and laughter, rather than pride and respect.

But as the years flew by, my parents never lessened their grip on Islamic values, and insisted that we live by them. It wasn't hard to do -- we could see where the values saved us from trouble, and helped us feel more safe.

In fact, in high school I became more of an educator, than a student. Whenever the topic of Islam came up in class, the teacher would volunteer me to speak of the religion I practiced and share its meaning with my fellow classmates. I started to give mini-lectures on hijab, and eating halal food.

Now that I am a mother, to a child also born in America, I hope I can pass on the same appreciation of Islam to my daughter. I want her to feel the same passion when standing before God to pray, and I want her to have the same confidence when she strolls out in public wearing her headscarf.