Originally published on Scoop Empire March 9, 2016
Despite an abundance of ignorance and bigotry directed towards Arabs and Muslims in America, there’s still a massive amount of love, especially with Arabs and Muslims in America making efforts to build bridges between communities in any way they can.
Palestinian-American Oday Aboushi happens to be one community leader building these bridges in one of the largest and most loved organizations in the U.S., the National Football League.
Aboushi’s sports career started off as teenager living in Brooklyn, New York where he play for Xavier High School. After playing at the University of Virginia, he was drafted in 2013 for his hometown team, the New York Jets. In 2015, Aboushi was signed as an offensive lineman for the Houston Texans. For any athlete, it’s a dream come true to play in the professional leagues, but it takes on even more value since Aboushi is a Palestinian Muslim in America.
Growing up where Islamophobia has been unfortunately sweeping the nation post-9/11, Aboushi being drafted in the NFL proves that a even a nation that can be riled up by hatred can still overcome ignorance, recognize true talent and ultimately come together for the love of the game. For many Palestinians, the smallest of accomplishments — from graduating high school or traveling — have taken on an immense amount of significance, since Palestinians have learned not to take the small moments for granted due to the abundance of violence and atrocities older and younger generations have witnessed.
Recently, Oday visited Egypt as part of American Football Without Barriers (AFWB), a non-profit organization that aims to teach discipline, teamwork and sports to disadvantaged youth in the U.S. and abroad. Abosuhi was in Cairo along with other NFL pros, including Marshawn Lynch and DeAngelo Williams who can be spotted in the video below. The players were not only able to visit the country and learn of its rich history, but they were also able to train hundreds of teens, both male and female, the art of the game.
Check out our interview with Oday Aboushi here: