When people hear the word Muslim, they often think of men who wear turbans and men who kill themselves and other people in the name of “Allah.” What they do realize is the ignorance behind their mentality; their “lack of knowledge.” I have been called a Muslim many times in my life. Not for how I talked or my beliefs, it was mainly because I wore a turban. The truth behind this accusation is the fact that I am not a Muslim or a submitter to “Allah”, but that I am a Sikh. The way the media portrays Muslims today is so ludicrous that Sikhs are being harassed and assaulted daily in the United States because of their turban and how they look. Many ignorant people today, are under the impression that any man with a turban is affiliated in some way with terrorism. After 9/11, there were numerous hate crimes against Sikhs that took place in the United States. There were also many school kids in cities around the nation facing discrimination in their classrooms because of their faith. I, unfortunately, was one of these unlucky victims of hatred. It was 6:50 A.M and I remember crying when my mother pulled in to the street of my new middle school. I was just about to start 6th grade and I was scared. I didn’t know exactly how I would fit in, or if I would fit in at all. I was eleven years old and I did not understand the world as others did. I remember walking through the hall ways of my middle school and being called a terrorist or sometimes Osama Bin Laden. I would always say that these things did not affect me, but the truth was that I was deeply hurt. At the time, I never understood why these things were happening.“Why is this happening to me and not the real Muslims?” I would ask myself. The main thing that bullies don’t understand is that being called something you’re not brings down your self-esteem tremendously. I remember being reluctant to do my homework because I lost my motivation for school. I remember crying myself to sleep every night, wishing to transfer to my zone middle school where all my elementary school friends went who understood me. This discrimination didn’t fully stop until I entered 8th grade, where I had built my reputation and made close friends. During my last year at Roy W. Martin Middle School, something indescribable happened to me. Some people may call it a “spiritual awakening,” but I consider it opening my eyes to the world. One day, I realized that all these years I have blindly told people that I am not a Muslim, without actually knowing what a Muslim is. I frankly, did not even know the difference between the words Muslim and Islam! From that moment, I then made one of the best decisions of my life. I decided to study Islam and find out what I was really being called all of these years. My study concluded in the August of 2009, when I decided to drop Islam all together. I felt that there was nothing more for me to explore in Islam. From this one year intensive study, I am able to understand religion in a whole new way. I knew that discrimination, would no longer affect me in such a huge manner, now that I know what I am truly compared to. Over the summer, I began to think of my future, high school specifically. I thought to myself,“With this new knowledge and information, how exactly will my first day of high school play out to be?” I hoped that it would be the complete opposite of my first day of 6th grade, where I was in complete fear. It turned out to be the best first day of school I ever had. Not because of the fact I wasn’t made fun of, but because I knew after the first day of school, that I was capable of handling any discrimination in the best way possible. About: The above text was an essay that I wrote for my English class.