Two weeks ago, five people died, including the attacker, and at least 50 people were injured when a car mounted the pavement near the Houses of Parliament in London. The attacker, Khalid Masood, was a British citizen who converted to Islam while spending time in Saudi Arabia. After running over pedestrians in his car, Masood stabbed and killed a police officer before being shot.
But two weeks after the deadly attack, London is doing what it does best and getting on with life. Reddit user crlxzzz was on their way to work recently when he spotted a few scrolled up pieces of paper on the seat next to him. As it turns out, it was a letter written by an anonymous 14-year-old Muslim, and it makes for quite the read. A transcript is available below.
The letter reads:
"Please Read My Letter"
"From - a Muslim"
"I am a Londoner aged 14 years old I also happen to be a black Muslim. After the tragedies at the Westminster attack I came to the decision that I wanted to do something. A horrible, horrible thing happened right in the heart of London a place I love so very much."
"After hearing of the attack I was very agitated and scared for the people of London and the victims. The next day I woke up early and I was watching the news it dawned on me that I would go into school and people would expect answers. As I walked out the door at 8:15 as I usually do and as I saw the familiar faces of my everyday endeavors I wondered what they were thinking I tried my best and walked on smiling, hoping for smile back. Some were returned and some weren't. I went into form and as we spoke about the current affairs I felt all eyes on me."
"I felt flushed and not suddenly - almost guilty? What do I have to be guilty for? I couldn't determine if I was being paranoid or eyes were darting to the corner of the room to where I was sitting. I walked into my first lesson and a girl had asked me where I was the night before, I laughed it off because I knew she was joking and that's what humans do when they don't know what to say."
"You don't have to do or say anything to your Muslim classmate or colleague. We may be Muslim but we don't want to hurt you. We aren't terrorists. Every Saturday I pass through Westminster and I had to think twice about it this time. I was scared that maybe I would be assaulted because of the many labels that come with wearing a hijab... I tend to digress a lot when I am writing so I will skip to the point."
"I am a hard worker there's nothing more that I want than to finish my education and become a lawyer but London is my home and I want that to happen here. Sometimes I wonder if that will happen and if I will be able to get a job 10 years down the line. I hope I can. It's scary being a Muslim as these horrible acts of terror are happening and I hope that I can still live here 50 years down the line and that my future children will get so see the beauty of London and the amazing who live here. What I feel is too much for me to express on paper and I hope I have communicated my message well to whoever is reading this."
"My last hope like the hopes of many others is peace. Thank you for reading this. I have spent time writing this letter and you may decide to scrunch it up, keep it or leave it behind for the next person to read. All I ask is someone learns something from this letter even if all they learn is that I have terrible handwriting."
Crlxzzz posted the letter to the London subreddit, where it's since recieved hundreds of messages of support.
"Genuinely heartbreaking to have read that a 14 year old Muslim girl feels this way," one Redditor wrote. "Hopefully, with our actions, both Muslim and non-Muslim, together we can show she doesn't have to feel this way."
"There is something seriously wrong if parts of our society expect Muslims to feel even an ounce responsible for acts of criminals. We don't apply this standard to anything else. It's a dangerous tribal thinking."
While another wrote:
"I've been moved by this and I hope it'll have an effect on the public to stop treating Muslims (or anyone else regardless of race, religion, gender, etc.) differently."