twenty-one

4.3K 469 222
                                                  

Nicholas knew the second he walked onto campus, something had stirred the students or someone more specifically. Crowds of students were yelling, screaming at each other till their faces turned red. The other side stayed silent, choosing to keep their mouths shut as they tried to get past it all.

"Go back to your country!"

"You don't belong here!"

"Fuck Muslims! Fuck Shariah laws! Fuck their terrorism!"

"Blinded Muslims that support oppression!

"Remove the scarf!"

Nicholas froze, his blood drying in his veins as he turned, watching the crowd gather, yelling slurs to a group of Muslim students. He clenched his fist, already knowing the man behind it all.

The day before, a bombing had scared the nation, even though not as many lives had been lost compared to the other crisis that an old white male had caused in Vegas. The Muslim phobia had taken into effect, and the followers of that religion were already being discriminated against all over the actions of one man, of one terrorist out of the millions that truly followed their religion.

Without realizing, he ran. Nicholas was used to running away from all his problems, he was used to feeling weak, he was used to being a blind follower to society, but he wasn't used to injustice. Since his visit to the Younes household, Nicholas felt closer to their family than his own. He felt awakened by the generosity and kindness their family showed him.

Muslims were labeled by society. They were pressured, told that their beliefs were against freedom even though it was by choice. They were told to strip their dignities to please society, their bodies were told to be bare to hungry eyes that drooled on naked skin. There was no modesty, no kindness, and no hope in society's eyes.

But that didn't make it right.

"Professor Jerikson! There's a huge problem outside-" he started as he barged into the room.

"Sit down, Nicholas."

He paused, seeing all eyes in the class on him. "What?" he asked.

Professor Jerikson gestured towards the empty seat beside Dina, who was keeping her head down, her fingers gripping the pencil so hard that he was surprised it didn't break. Reluctantly, he followed his teacher's orders. There was no point picking a fight when the only girl he cared about looked on the verge of tears.

"Security should handle the situation outside," announced Professor Jerikson. "However, there will be no disruptions in class today. Before we start class-"

A hand shot up.

"Yes?"

Dina stood, keeping her head low, her black hijab hiding the mesmerizing brown eyes from Nicholas. He gazed at her attire, a combination of dark, dull colors, reflecting the cloud that seemed to hover over her body. Even her tormentors went silent, not a single sound escaping their hate-twisted lips.

"I'd like to say something."

Nicholas didn't recognize her voice. It didn't sound like his Dina. She sounded empty, void of the vibrant emotions that used to drip from her every word. She lifted her head, eyes scanning the entire class. They were red, puffy under her eyes, yet she was still the most fairest of them all.

Professor Jerikson smiled, moving to sit behind his desk. Why is he smiling?

Dina inhaled a deep breath, her voice soft, yet sharp as it cut through the silence, making the class shudder from the venom. "I'm a Muslim, but you don't see me like that," she whispered.

Bookworms | ✔Where stories live. Discover now