Thanks to Lesley for sending this in.
Sana Shah likes to think of herself as a global citizen, but lately she has felt torn between the two worlds she loves most, Islam and America
By TIME MCGIRK
Posted Sunday, September 1, 2002; 3:38 p.m. EST
ust home from school on an ordinary afternoon, Sana Shah, 16, plops down her books, shakes out her hair and heads upstairs to watch some TV. She switches the set in her parents’ bedroom to Roswell and kicks her younger brother and sister off the couch. “Teenage aliens with identity crises,” grumbles her mother, who is trying to nap on the bed. “What nonsense.”
This comforting after-school scene could be happening anywhere in America, but outside the bedroom window, wild green parrots are feasting on berries in a jamun tree, and from a distance comes the scratchy voice of a muezzin revving up his loudspeaker for the afternoon prayer call. Sana and her family live in a wealthy suburb of Lahore, Pakistan, where her satellite television pulls in the standard Pakistani and American fare: mtv, Friends, syrupy Pakistani romances, a few minutes of Oprah until something better comes along. But a year ago, the images stopped being such a laugh.
On Sept. 11, Sana and her mother watched the little TV by the bed in numb horror. First the dissolving towers, then the furious retaliation: Muslim-owned shops in the U.S. being trashed and burned, Arab-looking cabbies dragged from their cars and beaten. “We were both in shock,” recalls Sana, who telephoned her brother, a student in Ann Arbor, Mich., that first night to make sure he was O.K.
Sana believes she has earned the right to think of herself as a citizen of the world—she has been to the U.S. and has an expansive, tolerant outlook on global affairs. But it has been sorely tested this year. She comes from a line of Punjabi soldiers (her mother is the daughter of a famous army general, her father an economist), and she inherited the dark, piercing eyes of a hunter, and a stoic determination she would need in the months after Sept. 11, when she felt caught between Islam and America, the two worlds she loves. Rising Islamic militancy in Pakistan made her question the roots of her faith, but America’s military response to the New York City and Washington attacks made her profoundly disillusioned. “America wanted vengeance by killing Afghans,” she says, her voice quavering at first—as if she is uncertain how forthright to be with an American visitor—then gaining strength and fluency. “That was wrong. Those Afghans were just as innocent as the poor people who died in the World Trade towers,” she says.