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Characters

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 230

The main characters in the novel How Does It Feel to Be a Problem are the seven young Arab-Americans who present their experiences of living in Brooklyn, NY post 9/11. These characters are Rasha, Sami, Yasmin, Akram, Lina, Omar, and Rami. Rasha is a young Syrian-American woman who describes her and her family's experiences of being unjustly imprisoned after a FBI raid on her home. Sami is a Christian Arab-American man who describes the complexities of his experience of working for the military during the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. He struggles with feeling ostracized by both Arabs and non-Arabs living in the US. Yasmin is a strong-willed and brave high school student who describes her fight against the school's racist and islamaphobic administration. Akram is a hard working college student who describes his battle with finding a place of belonging and community within a college atmosphere that is hostile towards him. Lina is a young Iraqi-American woman who feels that she cannot find a home, and cannot find a sense of Iraqi community any longer in America after 9/11. Lina also struggles with finding a sense of belonging. Omar is an Arab-American man who faces workplace discrimination due to his internship at Al-Jazeera. Rami is an Arab-American man whose father was also unjustly imprisoned following 9/11. He seeks balance between practicing Islam while also choosing to participate in the secular world.

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