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Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Tell us a little be about yourself and what was it like growing up with Albinism? For those who may not know or understand it, what exactly is Albinism?
Qiyamah Muhammad (QM): My name is Qiyamah Muhammad and I am a 17 year old living in Washington D.C. I have a brother who is 4 ½ years older than me. Right now I am in my junior year of high school at Muhammad University of Islam.
Living with albinism has its challenges. One of the most obvious challenges is my sensitivity to the sun. Since my skin is light due to lack of pigment, I get sunburned easily.
Albinism is an inherited condition which you get from both parents. People with albinism have little to no melanin, which is a chemical that colors our skin, eyes and hair. Albinism affects people of all races and is much more common than you may think. In fact, one out of every 20,000 people worldwide has some form of albinism. In some populations like Nigeria, it occurs in one out of every 200 births.
EM: What have been some of the struggles or challenges you’ve experienced growing up and how have you been able to overcome them?
QM: Some of the struggles and challenges I have experienced were during the few years I attended public school. During class I had to sit in front of the first row to see the board clearly. When class would start, I could hear some of the students laughing, so it was very uncomfortable. I was also teased and bullied because of my (lack of) skin color. Two of the things they used to call me were “Whitey” and “White girl.”
When I was younger, I used to get the stares and questions. Four of the most common questions I used to get all the time were, “Are you black?” followed by “Are you sure?” Or “Are you white?” And then, “Can you stop your eyes from moving like that?” It used to bother me, but because I have a strong support system with my family and religious community who always instilled pride in not only my blackness but being proud of who I am in my uniqueness in being albino, I have confidence in myself. Because of that, some people have asked me to talk to their children about being albino because they have low self-esteem. That inspired me to start my organization called Confident Albino Brothers and Sisters.
EM: What was it like to have the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan speak to you and other brothers and sisters who are Albino? What kind of confirmation and confidence did it give you and others?
QM: Having Minister Louis Farrakhan speak to me and other albinos was such an experience that it’s hard to describe in words. One of the confirmations I am sure every albino has, is that the Minister and Allah loves us.
Meeting Minister Farrakhan was such a blessing, and I am thankful that I was able to experience it. It seems so surreal. When he saw me, he said, “I’m drawn to you little sister.” He went on to talk about the abuse albinos face and that I have a bright future ahead of me. He also said I was a study that proves what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught was true, that all color comes from Black.
He said that there are other albinos in the Nation Of Islam and we have to unite them. His last comment was, “I want you to know that your Minister loves you.” I’m thankful I’m on the right track with Confident Albino Brothers and Sisters.
EM: You are a phenomenal writer with a strong point of view. How did you get your start in journalism? What topics do you enjoy covering?
QM: Ever since I was young I was into writing stories. The youngest I can remember is when I was in the 3rd grade. My love for writing grew as I grew older. I enjoy going over what’s happening in my organization and other albino related things.
EM: How has social media been key in conveying your message as the Confident Albino? What has it been like being a member of the Farrakhan Twitter Army and spreading the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the words of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan?
QM: Social media has been key in conveying my message by letting me make connections with other albinos worldwide. When I was producing my short film, I used Twitter and Instagram. Being a part of the Farrakhan Twitter Army and spreading the Teachings makes me feel happy. When I see the FTA tweeting I also feel proud that I contribute to its success.
EM: What kind of responses do you receive regarding your organization and your work on social media?
QM: The response I gotten from others, especially the albino community, has been more than I ever imagined. When I started my organization I figured that it would start small, but it grew faster as the days went by. During the making of my video I never expected to be connected to albinos from Asia, Europe and Africa.
EM: What advice or words of encouragement would you like to share with others who are striving to find their voice, their place and their purpose?
QM: My advice for people who are striving to find their voice is to go on and do it. Make sure you have a plan and people to help you so you can be that voice for your community. No matter how young you are, believe in yourself and trust in Allah. No matter where you are in life or how old you are, you can be a leader.
EM: How can we learn more about you and support your efforts? What social media platforms are you on and do you have a website we can visit?
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EM: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
QM: Confident Albino Brothers and Sisters are looking for other albinos in the Nation of Islam to be a part of our organization. If you know any albinos, please have them contact us! Please continue to support Confident Albino Brothers and Sisters to help spread the message of the struggles albinos face worldwide. You can help by making a donation and/or sharing our social media pages. Thank you.
EM: All Praise is due to Allah! Thank you Sis for your spirit, your work! May He continue to Bless you abundantly!