I was born in the US to Iraqi parents. For as long as I can remember, kids in school avoided me and girls were afraid to be alone in a room with me.
Although I practise my religious rituals in the privacy of my own home and never bring up topics related to religion in everyday conversations, people instantly write me off as a bad person – a terrorist – just for being Muslim.
Every time I am in an airport, people give me suspicious looks and I am never given the benefit of the doubt when the TSA starts searching me aggressively.
If I sit on a park bench next to an old lady, she usually moves to another bench, just because I have darker skin and a beard.
INT. AIRPORT CHECK-IN DESK
HASSAN approaches the check-in desk and places his luggage on the scale. The middle-aged lady at the desk asks for his passport and calls a coworker to take a look at it himself. When the coworker arrives, she whispers something in his ear and they both look at HASSAN suspiciously.
HASSAN (in perfect English)
‘Is everything alright?’
The lady looks at her coworker and expects him to respond. He looks back at her.
LADY AT CHECK-IN DESK (handing HASSAN his passport)
‘God bless you, son!’