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My father, who worked as a director at the family garment factory, had attended college in Houston, and they believed his connections there would make our transition to a new country seamless.

They chose our house in Houston based on its proximity to the Bohri mosque.

She’d become frustrated with the way I was ignored consistently by members of our extended family while my younger brother, the only grandson, was spoiled rotten.

An educator herself, my mother noticed how I struggled to be creative and independent in a school system that she believed valued rote memorization instead of critical thinking.

The first set of friends my parents made was all Bohris. It was the Bohris my family met at mosque who connected them with good doctors, lawyers and businessmen.

The people they met at mosque, who were all first- or second-generation immigrants themselves, explained things like health insurance and the U. However, as my family settled in further, we all realized that the Bohri community in Houston was far more devout that the community we’d known in Karachi.

Moving to the United States was a way for my family to escape the terrible downhill turn that Karachi had taken. My mother, who grew up in Tanzania, wanted to raise her children in a country where both boys and girls were given equal opportunities.Because we moved in December, I spent my first month and a half in the United States waiting for the spring semester to start.The daily ritual of going to mosque to break our fast during Ramadan was my entire introduction to the United States.During that Ramadan, I realized something I’d never understood before: Being Muslim could become a part of your identity, something that you could embrace as part of yourself like it was a talent akin to having masterful violin skills or the ability to do long division without a paper and pencil.In Karachi, everyone I knew was Muslim—my religiosity wasn’t something that I could hold over someone else.

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