The slide opened and I heard a gentle, kind voice: What is your confession, my child?
I was stuffed. The Priest would declare me a heretic; my parents would call me a traitor...
The Priest asked me again: What is your confession, my child?
I'm Muslim. I whispered.
Welcome to my world. I'm Amal Abdel-Hakim, a seventeen year-old Australian-Palestinian-Muslim still trying to come to grips with my various identity hyphens.
It's hard enough being cool as a teenager when being one issue behind the latest Cosmo is enough to disqualify you from the in-group. Try wearing a veil on your head and practising the bum's up position at lunchtime and you know you're in for a tough time at school.
Luckily my friends support me, although they've got a few troubles of their own. Simone, blonde, gorgeous and overweight – she's got serious image issues, and Leila's really intelligent but her parents are more interested in her getting a marriage certificate than her high school certificate!
And I thought I had problems...
Winner for ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children 2006.