Meet Hebh Jamal, The 17-Year-Old NYC Student Fighting Islamophobia

After 9/11 and recent terrorist attacks, American Muslims are having a hard time living a normal life with Islamophobia on the rise.

To make things worse, Donald Trump signed the executive order to ban migrants from 7 predominately muslim countries.

The order caused fury across the world. Activists are standing up and protesting.

Hebh Jamal, a seventeen-year-old from the Bronx is one of the passionate leaders fighting Islamophobia.

Jamal is a senior at Beacon High School and a member of the Muslim American Society. She became an activist in 2015 in her sophomore year, she explained in an interview with the New York Times.

In her Interview with the Times, she was asked if she had experienced any hate crimes after 9/11. She hadn’t because she was too young to remember. She was only 1 years old at the time of 9/11.

Although she was too young to witness the tragic event, that did not prevent her from facing hardships in the following years.

As she says, Jamal faced several challenges after “the terrorist attacks in Paristhe killings of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, N.C.; the San Bernardino, Calif., killings; and Donald J. Trump’s proposal to block the entry of all Muslims into the United States.”

Jamal has managed several protests and is now being asked to speak at high schools to inform students on Trump’s Muslim ban and how to fight Islamophobia.

Ever since the first protest at JFK, Jamal has been working non stop. She organized a protest at Foley Square on February 1st where more than 1,000 people attended.

She is currently working on a New York City-wide student walkout that is expected to happen Tuesday, February 7 at 12:30 PM.

You’re probably thinking, ” Wait, student walkout?!”

She decided that this walkout had to be done during school hours because it wouldn’t be the same if it was done after. It wouldn’t have the same impact.

“I always hear from people, ‘Why can’t you just do it after school?’ It doesn’t have the same significance. I always frame it in the terms of labor. When you’re a worker and you want to strike, you’re doing it as a disruptive force of your labor. ‘I’m not going to continue as if this is normal right now because it’s not.’ I feel like it’s the same for students. We’re part of this kind of workforce. So if we’re going to protest something it makes sense to disrupt it and be part of a movement. We can’t just continue on normally with our lives and do it after school.”

Jamal also emphasizes that she is fortunate that she can be the voice for many muslim women, but she doesn’t want anyone to get distracted by her story.

“I wanted to mention that, although it’s really great that I’m able to have a platform that a lot of Muslim women are not able to have, I really want to use it to emphasize that it needs to be a movement.”

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Theresa Maloco

Theresa is a beloved Empress OG who never thought she’d be a writer. After realizing her potential, she quit her retail job to be part of several start-up projects. Join her on this journey to success.