Op-ed: I’m not Muslim, but why should it matter if I were?

Op-ed: I’m not Muslim, but why should it matter if I were?
The Salt Lake Tribune
From the article:
I was recently accused of stealing a bottle of water at a grocery store in Salt Lake City. After the police frisked and exonerated me, a bystander jokingly inferred that my beard may have triggered something. My beard and my brown skin have forced me to confront the assumption that I may be Middle Eastern.

I’m from Nepal, a South Asian, but that’s not how most people in Utah see me. In the American imagination, Asians have ancestral origins in East Asia, and Pakistanis and Afghans, also South Asians, are lumped together in the broad category of Middle Eastern. Unless I define my national identity in precise words, I have to live with the assumption that I’m Middle Eastern and all the negative stereotypes associated with it. When the store clerk called 911, he described me as “Probably Middle Eastern. Muslim.” …

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