Sneak Peek: What is a Muslim? by Jamila

What Is A Muslim?
Jamila A.
Mr. Dickhudt’s 11th grade class

What’s your view of Muslims? The Afghanistan and Iraq wars persuaded Americans to refer to the followers of Islam as “terrorists.” Why? Because of the media. For instance, The New York Times, named the best book of the year “The Forever War” by Dexter Filkins. This book basically talks about America’s conflict with Islamic fundamentalism. Dexter Filkins, a foreign correspondent for The New York Times “witnessed” the rise of the Taliban. In his words, “the September 11 attack was the aftermath of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.”

The Arabic word “Islam” means peace through the submission of God. Islam is articulated by the Qur’an. Allah is not the God of Muslims only. He is the God of all people and all creation. Just because people refer to God using different terms does not mean that they are different gods. Spanish people refer to God as “Dios” and French people refer to God as “Dieu”, yet they are all the same God…

Although Muslims are viewed and or defined, terrorist, unjustified violence and the killing of innocent people is absolutely forbidden in Islam. Islam is a way of life that is meant to bring peace to a society, whether its people are Muslim or not. The extreme actions of those who claim to be Muslim may be among other things, a result of their ignorance or uncontrolled anger. Those who commit acts of terrorism in the name of Islam are simply not following Islam. These people are individuals with their own views and political agendas….

You may wonder if I’ve ever been misjudged. The answer to that is yes. Every day I wake up and realize that the ignorance is impossible to stop. The media, newspapers, etc. are advising that Muslims are terrorists. The real problem is, America in general is too busy pointing fingers, and that you don’t even realize what’s happening other than what you’re being told. Why aren’t we being treated as fair as the rest? Why are we looked at differently? Many Muslims are being killed for who they are, or who they look up to. So, we disagree on a few things, but at the end of the day god created us. We’re all human; we’re all gods’ creation. So why are we still not helping each other grow, and why are we killing each other’s souls?

Honestly, it’s terrifying to be a Muslim in this country. No one can truly understand the feelings of having more than half the world of countries blame you, for something that was misunderstood. The name calling, the Quran burning, it’s really just a nightmare. Our nightmare never ends. It has been years after the incident, why is the hate continuing to grow? Muslims have been tortured, bullied, even killed. Just recently a lady pushes a man into the train tracks because she thought he was a Muslim. How sickening is that? The ignorance can stop if we stop believing everything in the media. Don’t blame the followers of Islam, is what all of us Muslims are trying to say…

Your 9/11 is our 24/7. So a couple “Muslims” make an ignorant choice of action, and the religion gets blamed? No religion in the name of God involves violence! If you ask me, the only person that should be called a “terrorist,” is George W. Bush. And I’m sure we can all agree on that. Millions of Muslims around the world are dying as you’re reading this; they’re not being seen as humans, in others eyes, we Muslims are being seen as a waste. That’s not a piece of paper that’s being thrown away, that’s a life.

This post is part of a series.


Sneak Peek: War: the Changes within Our World by Chelsea

War: The Changes within Our World
Chelsea P.
Mr Dickhudt’s 11th grade class

What if one day you woke up and all around you there are gunshot noises and the cries of “help” coming from your neighbor’s house? What if you did not know when you were going to see your family again, or if your child was going to return home “broken” physically or mentally? Thoughts like this run through hundreds and thousands even millions of people every day. From the streets of Iraq and Afghanistan to the streets that we walk every day, people are widely and directly affected by the Iraqi wars. These people include our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and pretty much everyone. The war even affects our economy and work ethic!

Even if we cannot see the changes directly in our community, America was, and still is, greatly affected by these wars. Many soldiers return home either physically or mentally damaged, or even both. Often times these soldiers return home and are a misfit in society considering the disabilities they have gained. One of these disabilities is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Veterans with PTSD are often jumpy and paranoid which means they cannot work common jobs, or even walk alone in the streets for fear of being attacked or having a mental breakdown. In an article called “Post-Traumatic Stress’s Surprisingly Positive Flip Side” we are shown the ups and downs of PTSD. “I was dealing with post-traumatic stress, anger all the emotions, the ups and downs, the physical, emotional, physical pain, I was really angry. I wanted to get healed and get back into the fight” Said Sgt. Jeffrey Beltran who is one of the many who suffer from PTSD. Although there are facilities to help these people it is hard to recuperate and recover after going through such an unpleasant experience such as war…

Not only is the war physically and mentally damaging but it takes an economic toll on society as well. Many veterans are left without homes and families to support them and have no jobs to keep them on track. Without the proper wean back into society, veterans are stuck homeless and jobless. They don’t have financial aid and a lot of families cannot support their beloved veterans leaving them once again homeless. Their emotional damages make the veterans unable to connect with society and the physical damages leave them unable to work the jobs that are available. This means they cannot make money and contribute to any economic growth, instead decreasing the economic value of America by increasing the unemployment rate.

Overall the wars influences on society are very powerful. Whether it is a physical, mental, emotional, or even economic toll, both our community and the overseas communities are affected. Its lasting impacts leave families …torn apart and financially unstable. Although the issues are not very prevalent they exist and are a growing burden. Maybe the only way to stop these issues from spreading is to stop the war all together.

This post is part of a series.

Sneak Peek: Short Fuse by Alexis

Short Fuse
Alexis C.
Mr. Dickhudt’s 10th grade class

Chapter 0:

ALL I SEE is Darika running to us with C-4 strapped to her chest. I can’t come to pull the trigger. It’s like my hands are numb watching her walked out of that small door way with the yellow-green curtain that was kind of burnt at the bottom. I lower my gun, shocked. How can she betray me like this? Coming to kill herself, me, and the rest of my squad. I see her hand on the detonator: the red button on top and long black handle that is connected to some cables. I’m fixated on her not caring about the terrorists shooting at my squad and me. Then there’s a sudden pain at the middle of my Kevlar vest right at the plate. I get lifted right off my feet and everything comes back to me. I notice that the terrorists are shooting closer than I thought, the bullets swishing by my head. Then I hit the ground and I start to lose conscious. How stupid was I to not see this.

“MAN DOWN I REPEAT MAN DOWN WE NEED A MEDIC NOW S.M.U.” says James panicking and yelling over the radio. S.M.U means “stuff’s messed up”.

My name is Tyler Smith, United States Army, Private, and this is my story.

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Sneak Peek: Hollow Snare by Jeffrey

Hollow Snare
Jeffrey C
Mr. Dickhudt’s 10th Grade Class

…One day I went to church by myself on a Sunday. It was freezing; I was only wearing a hooded sweater, sweats, and some run down boots that belonged to my father. I had gone in and despite the unbearable weather it was quite abundant with people. I had sat down in the left corner. The pastor (which was a friend of my mother’s) came and gave me a hug. “Why are there so many people here?” I had asked. “Do people need a reason to come to the house of god other than to express their gratitude and fortify themselves spiritually as well as mentally.” He responded. He had a humble appearance; he was a bald, light skinned, chubby man. I had actually come to like him a lot throughout the years then again I’d accept anyone who proved to be a better father figure than mine. “So they’re here for a typical church day?” I said. “Well, they’re devoted to serving god but if you want another reason I assume it’s because we invited a pretty good preacher and musician.” He replied. “Who?” I asked. “Evangelist and percussionist Jacob Alexander Cruz.” As the pastor left to take his seat at the altar, my curiosity slowly began to flourish. After maybe twenty minutes I decided to check what all the hype was about. I slowly made my way to the front of the temple. There at the right, just before the altar there was a drum set. It was a Pearl drum set, an intricate black and gold design. Four copper gold-plated cymbals, one black snare with gold rims, two gold toms with black rims and the floor tom and bass following the same design as the snare drum. They were in the middle of a song. His hands were like manifested lightning. He played a very elaborate beat; it had grace.

As soon as church had ended and he was alone I introduced myself to him. “God bless you, I’m Devon Rodriguez.” He looked at me and gave me an amp and asked me to help him. I reluctantly said yes, as this was not at all where I wanted to go with the conversation. He had a stern face and a suit that started a light gray and turned dark gray due to all the sweat. (I’ll never know why, but in church he always played with a suit) After loading up all the amps, He introduced himself, “My name is Jacob. I’ve been playing drums for around 15 years and my current age is something that you’ll never know.” He’d invited me to his house. Suddenly this guy didn’t have a stern face anymore, his whole demeanor had changed, and as he definitely was not the person I saw playing the drum set in church. He now looked spontaneous and fun. I’d soon find out that I had said yes without thinking and that was the start of a very short-lived yet unforgettable relationship between student and mentor…

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Sneak Peek: Last Bite by Kiana

Last Bite
Kiana D.
Mrs. Quinton’s 10th grade class

“Ethan! What’s the matter?”

…it’s as though I just met the love of my life. She immediately accepted me for who and what I am, no questions asked…

“What’s the deal with you today?” said my younger sister Caroline.

I continued to gaze out the window at the snow forming piles of white dust on the tree branches. It was a gloomy night.  Why did this happen to me? I’ve made mistakes before but this by far has been the worst. If I could take it all back, I’d do it in half a heartbeat. If I could re-do what happened that night, I’d…

“Ethan! What’s the matter?!” repeated Caroline interrupting my thoughts again.

Honestly, I have no more words in me. Just thoughts.

…How could I have done something so stupid? Not only am I infuriated with myself, I feel hopeless.  Not only am I putting myself down, I’m putting those around me down as well.

I can’t help it though. I’m miserable. Pathetic….

I answered her in the most blunt way possible. “I’ve done something bad Caroline”.

She opened her mouth to answer.

I interrupted quickly and said “Monstrous. Violent”.

I darted out the room. I needed air. I needed .. her..

This post is part of a series.

Sneak Peek: Don’t Ride by Erasmo

Don’t Ride
Erasmo C.
Mrs. Quinton’s 10th grade class

…Rushing down the long crowded snake hill was Ray and John first. I told them I would go last. Suddenly I see John Jump off the ground and over the stairs and does a 180 on the air and lands it and out of nowhere I see Ray do a short spin and lands it as well. They were waiting for me at the end of the hill, then I realize that is my turn now. Sweat starts to fall out from the sides of my head. My entire body was shaky. I go down the snake hill really fast. It was like a moment of silence, all I can hear was the wind streaming threw my ears. I was trying my best to concentrate but as I’m getting closer to the stairs I get a bad feeling in my stomach as if I know something is about to go wrong.

Out of nowhere when I go for the jump, the back wheel hits the rail of the stairs and made me slip. I crashed into the window of a parked car and fractured my elbow. I can remember just hearing the sound of the bone snap, and the sound of the car window breaking. Everybody in the streets seemed amused when I flipped off the bike. I turn to find Ray and John but they were already on the other side of the streets, laughing and pointing, and booking it down the sidewalk on their bikes…

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Sneek Peak: Missing Puzzle Piece by Anabel

Missing Puzzle Piece 

Anabel V.
Mr. Dickhudt’s 10th grade class


Never in my life did I think I would wake up early in the morning to such a thing.


Another loud thumping on the door, louder screams from the neighbors, more cries and more sirens outside in the streets. Who would have thought that all of this would be happening right at my own door? I knew something bad would eventually happen after all that I have been through but I never imagined being awakened at six in the morning by dozens of cops.

I should have known better. Sheesh, I feel stupid for ever listening to my cousin Michael. I roll over and notice that my little sister Karina is next to me. I totally forgot that she slept over the night prior. I get up from the bed and go to the door. The entire house is dark and all I can see are the cop lights reflecting through the windows and shinning on the walls. I lean up against the door to look through the peephole even though I already know who it is. It’s the cops.

“Shit meng” I say out loud to myself…

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