The M Word seeks to elevate, amplify, and celebrate the contributions of Muslim Americans to our country’s varied and inspiring cultural landscape. To help us, we are inviting audience members, online followers, panelists, and others—both Muslims and non-Muslims alike—to share their personal experiences with what it means to be Muslim in America.

Today, we feature a video by university student Sarah Mikati on defying stereotypes.


So, to me, I would say that being Muslim in America means being a walking, brilliant defiance of stereotypes 24/7. Which can be exhausting, but I actually have a lot of fun with it. I like that when people meet me I’m not the angry, violent, oppressed Muslim woman that they thought that I would be.  And it’s really important to emphasize the word “brilliant,” because the Muslims I’ve met in America not only are such a strong embodiment of what it means to be American, but they’re proud of it. They’re proud to be American. We’re all proud to be American. And we all contribute so much to not only what it means to be American, but also to America itself. And I think that’s what makes us such a fantastic and shining community.

We want to hear your stories! For the chance to be featured by The M Word, submit your own video story with us on Facebook or submit your story in writing here. By submitting your story, you grant PEN America the right to use all still and motion pictures and sound recordings you provide in furtherance of its nonprofit charitable mission, including the right to advertising, promotion, and future marketing of PEN America and its activities via radio, television, video, DVD, the Internet, podcasts, PEN America publications, or any other use, by any means now known or hereafter devised, in perpetuity, throughout the universe.

The M Word is generously supported by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges program.