Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A first-person series on being 'Muslim and American' in OC

A few weeks ago, the Orange County Register sought submissions from the county's diverse population of Muslim immigrants their families to run as essays during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. From this has come "Muslim and American," a first-person series.

In one essay last week, a 35-year-old legislative manager wrote about fasting during Ramadan and how it's difficult - but rewarding - for him to pass up that Snickers bar or ice-blended coffee. In yesterday's piece, a 14-year-old girl wrote about the holy month, fasting and what she hopes her peers will learn from her:

...being hungry for a few hours during the day makes it possible for me to empathize with so many of our fellow human beings who face hunger and thirst every day. We learn to be charitable. These values not only make us better Muslims, but they also help us be better citizens.

I recognize that not all Americans understand my faith. I believe that if I practice my faith and let my non-Muslims friends see that this makes me a good person, this may be the best way to increase their understanding and appreciation of me and of Islam.