Rabia Ahsin was born in 1991 in Midwood. While studying political science at Brooklyn College as an undergraduate student, she joined the school’s Islamic Society of Brooklyn College as well as the Muslim Women’s Educational Initiative, both of which were targeted by the New York City Police Department for religiously motivated surveillance by an undercover officer while Ahsin was a member. She also became an outspoken activist against human rights abuses, including protesting with Brooklyn College’s newly formed Students for Justice in Palestine and focusing her studies on surveillance in New York City. She went on to work as a special education teacher at an all-girls secondary school. See this narrator’s full biography and oral history.
Oral History Clips:
Rabia Ahsin describes how the 9/11 attacks affected her relationships at school.
Rabia Ahsin talks about moving between different languages and different clothing choices. Her parents are Pakistani and speak Punjabi, Urdu (the official language of Pakistan), Arabic (the language of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book), and English.
Rabia Ahsin discusses when she started wearing a headscarf to school.
Portrait of Rabia Ahsin at home.
Photo by Joey O’Loughlin