I Am A Muslim
By Maidah Khan
Overview and Purpose: Musa Ahmed Khan is an entertainer, actor, and a baller. You may have seen him displayed in many of his sister, Maidah’s, work in Film & Photo. Musa attends Belmont Hills Elementary School as a fourth grader. He has performed for the talent show the past four years. Every year, he does something revolving around his Pakistani culture, and this year he had a little something different in mind.
Musa isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He is very active in Belmont Hills when it comes to spreading knowledge about Islam and Muslims. He knows that he is a minority in Lower Merion School District, so he uses that as motivation to spread awareness of who Muslims are, and to tear down the stereotypes towards Islam and Muslims.
Musa has a deep passion to play basketball, so when the varsity basketball team from Lower Merion High School created t-shirts about the current political hostility towards Muslims, it had a wildfire effect. The movement was talked about on ESPN, BleacherReport, and on local news channels. The now famous t-shirts were engraved with the following: “I am a Muslim, I am a refugee, I am an immigrant, I am an American, I am an Ace.” The purpose behind the shirts was to bring awareness towards Muslims.
During the time these t-shirts were created, President Trump declared a travel ban to seven Muslim countries. This led to multiple protests, and an outrage of violence. Muslims felt like they didn’t belong. These t-shirts were a small idea that contained deep meaning: to not stereotype Muslims. Regardless of our background, we are all equal and are one nation united.
Musa found great inspiration from these t-shirts. He knew that this year, he had to leave his Pakistani culture behind him, and do something beyond what anyone expected. Though, he knew he might receive some backlash, he continued to follow his heart! He wanted to do it for all the Muslims in Lower Merion School District that didn’t have their voice heard. Musa and his mom got in touch with the head coach of the LM basketball team, and explained the concept to him, and he was more than happy to bring his team to watch Musa’s performance at the talent show and support the movement.
Musa decided to incorporate the song, “Where is the Love?” by the Black-eyed Peas which was a famous song made during times in the mid-2000’s about the issues in the country. He combined some dance from his previous performances and created a powerful ensemble. He decided to do his usual dance skit, but little did the crowd know what Musa had up his sleeves.
Musa was wearing the famous LM t-shirts during the performance. The music cuts and there is pitch silence, then Musa wraps the American flag around him and walks to the microphone. This is the purpose of the performance. Musa took the inspiration from the t-shirts, and created his own short speech that he said with confidence to the packed crowd at BH Elementary School. Musa says: “My name is Musa Ahmed Khan. I am a Muslim, I am a refugee, I am an immigrant, I am an American , I am a bulldog (Belmont Hill’s mascot), I am a baller, and I am a part of the Lower Merion School District. This year a ban was put on us. We are one nation united under God. So, my question for you is, Where is the Love?”
There was an uproar of applause for Musa. The Lower Merion Basketball Team all wore their shirts alongside Musa, and the energy felt so united as a whole. Musa and his family had an unforgettable night, and Musa went to sleep that night knowing he did something meaningful for Muslims in LMSD, and around the world. His small frame was the reason why people praised him that night. He had the courage that not many ten year-olds have in them to go up there and say something that some might be against, and that others will praise. There aren’t many kids like Musa Ahmed Khan, and all he wants to do is spread peace, love, and awareness to other cultures, races, religions in the Lower Merion School District. Currently, Musa continues to spread his movement beyond this district, and unite this world as one, equal sphere.