America 2.0

Rayan, 23, student at New Jersey City University: “I think a lot of non-Muslims get mixed up about the fact that women want to get married right after high school. But that’s a cultural thing, not a Muslim thing. A lot of Palestinians, their parents will tell them right after high school, ok, now you have to get married. But our parents are more lenient, open-minded. So we weren’t like that when we got done from high school. School is important in our house. That was the most important thing. Finish school… We went to an Islamic school here in Jersey City. We learned Arabic, we had Islamic studies, and then we had regular classes. We had a strict dress code – it was navy blue pants, like suit pants, and a navy blue jumper under which you had to wear a T-shirt. And then we had a school sweater over the whole thing. Almost everyday, our headmistress would look under the sweater to make sure you were wearing a long-sleeve white T-shirt, even though you couldn’t see it from the outside! And like kids in school, we would always try to go against the uniform! We’d try to wear different shoes or mismatched socks … anything to get us into trouble. We were basically trouble makers.”