A Muslim student at an American university has accused her school of discrimination and said she fears for her safety in a new video.
In the clip, she said she has been asked to remove her hijab, which she said was given to her at birth.
She said she was initially offered the chance to wear a headscarf to avoid discrimination.
The video has since been viewed more than 8,000 times.
But it has been criticised by some on social media, including by an ex-Muslim who said she had “no idea” why the university had “allowed” the student to wear the headscarves.
The student, identified as Aqsa Mahmood, said she feared for her life because she was the only Muslim in her class.
“It’s a bit of a shock for me,” she said in the video.
“I am Muslim and I am proud of my religion, but the way I am being treated is completely different.
I feel very uncomfortable with it.”
Mahmood said she began her activism in November 2015, when she was in ninth grade.
She joined a group called the Muslim Student Union (MSU), which aims to “encourage Muslim students to advocate for and fight for Muslim rights and freedoms”.
The group aims to promote Muslim-owned businesses and Muslim-run education institutions.
In 2016, Mahmood joined the Muslim Students’ Association at the University of Arizona, which was founded by US-born student Ibrahim Abu Bakar.
“We wanted to make sure we didn’t become too politicised,” Mahmood told Al Jazeera.
“That was my goal, to help push back against the idea that Muslim students were going to be the ones who were going be the next wave of Muslim-American activists.”
After she left the university in 2017, Mahmud became the president of the MSU, and in August 2018 she received the National Association for Muslim Women’s (NAWM) Award, the largest Muslim awards program.
The NAWM awards are presented annually to Muslim women who have made significant contributions to the fight against discrimination.
It is the first national award given to an active Muslim student, said Muhammad Ali, who directs the National Center for Muslim American Women, a Washington-based group.
Mahmood’s story highlights the increasing number of Muslim Americans who are speaking out against Islamophobia and other forms of racism.
“What we are seeing now is that Muslims are being vocal about the issue, and people are taking notice,” Ali said.
“In a lot of cases, we see the fear and the fear is being directed towards Muslims.”
He added: “It doesn’t matter if you are a Muslim woman, you have to be prepared to speak up because we have to show our power.”
The US is not the only country where anti-Muslim prejudice is growing.
A recent report by the American Civil Liberties Union found that in the US, Muslims face “severe discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations, and other key areas of public life”.
More than 70% of Muslims surveyed by the ACLU said they were at risk of being subjected to violence, discrimination or harassment.
It also found that the “most common form of bias against Muslims is a lack of trust in their faith”.