WESTBOROUGH – Experiencing difficulties in growing up as an American Muslim, Aliza Majid has used her pursuit of achieving the Girl Scout highest award to introduce her true faith to the community, becoming a young advocate for Islam.
“I started this project by trying to spread awareness about my religion given the current climate in our country,” Aliza told Community Advocate.
Her project, titled, “A Muslim Girl in America,” combines her passion and pride about her faith with ways to educate those that are not familiar with her religion.
She said that she aimed to demystify misconceptions about Islam and the stigma that sometimes she feels surrounds her culture.
In order to achieve her goals, Aliza had to move around her community.
“I created Ramadan and `Eid baskets. The baskets were distributed to some churches and the police station,” she said.
“Ramadan goes along with the lunar calendar and we fast from sun up until sunset. We share kindness and the baskets filled with fruits, candies and informational pamphlets explaining the holiday as well as `Eid, which falls at the end of Ramadan. The holiday is actually a time to try and purify you and think of ways to be kind.
“The hardships that you go through are intended to help you reflect on your life. Even though I am fasting during the school days, I focus more on my studies and I find the days pass quickly.”
The young Muslim scout also talked to the Westborough town committees, holding a presentation on Islam at one of the Diversity Committee meetings, discussing ways in which the community could come together and be more comfortable with all ethnicities and religions.
Another presentation was held at the local Westborough Rotary Club on ways to spread awareness about Islam and how to be more inclusive.
She also participated in the Masjid E. Basheer “Open Door Day” that was held in March.
“I had a booth set up at Westborough’s annual Fourth of July Block Party and had information available for two organizations,” Aliza explained.
“The first, Helping Hands for Relief and Development (HHRD), is a nonprofit that I’ve been working with and it helps people around the world. The other organization is called “Why Islam?” I had brochures that people could take.”
Because teenagers use social media quite readily, Aliza created a Youth Group blog (https://theteenageummah.wixsite.com/website) that shares views about Islam from teenage girls in the community.
Aliza hopes to pursue a career in journalism or architecture and to continue to be an advocate for Islam.