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I Am a Muslim and 9/11 Hurt Me Too

These stories are part of our new hashtag conversation, #IAmMuslimGirl — Share your experiences about post-9/11 life, incidents of Islamophobia, or additional reflections on social media to let us know your thoughts.  You can also submit your story to editorial@muslimgirl.com.

To Whom It May Concern,

I am a Muslim and 9/11 hurt me too. Fifteen years ago, I was a 4-year-old little girl who just moved from Irvine, Calif. to a Carbondale, Ill. On Sept. 11, 2001, my parents turned on the TV and watched this country be attacked — the same country they strived so hard to immigrate to from Eritrea, to ensure my siblings and I would have a better life than they had.

As Americans, we mourned the tragic loss of the victims that died from the plane crash and in The Twin Towers. As Muslims, we mourned the death of our religion’s reputation once known to be peaceful.

Growing up, my friends and I constantly found ourselves condemning the acts of terrorist groups like it’s our second job (and we didn’t even get paid to do it). tweet

In a country that has established our inalienable rights to be living our lives to the fullest extent — having liberty, and pursuing our happiness in a manner that does not negatively impact others — the post- 9/11 era has hindered our ability to exercise those rights.

As one of many Muslim women who wears a hijab, I can testify from personal experience that it is not easy to be a public symbol representing my religion. Growing up, my friends and I constantly found ourselves condemning the acts of terrorist groups like it’s our second job (and we didn’t even get paid to do it).

America has bigger fish to fry than to point the finger and play the blame game. tweet

Subhi Taha, a well-known designer and vlogger, gave a shout out to all hijabi Muslims “for having the courage in these times, to wear something that blatantly shows they’re Muslim. That’s something we Muslim men have no idea [about] — what it’s like for it to be so apparent that we’re Muslim, & consequently suffer the hate. For real, y’all are our soldiers — front of the line, constantly representing our ummah.”

Fifteen years ago, we didn’t just lose the World Trade Center, Muslims lost their sense of safety. We lost the ability to roam freely, to not stand out from the rest of the crowd at airport security — as we get interrogated of “our true intentions” to enter the country we call home, get our hands wiped in search for “radioactive residue,” and receive administered pat downs.

In a country that has established our inalienable rights to be living our lives to the fullest extent — having liberty, and pursuing our happiness in a manner that does not negatively impact others — the post- 9/11 era has hindered our ability to exercise those rights. tweet

Ultimately, we need to clarify the confusion on who the real enemies are. It’s not us. Do not associate true Muslim believers with terrorist groups. Daesh, Al-Qaeda, and Boko Haraam are to Islam as the KKK is to Christianity — apples and oranges.

It is unjust for you to  broadly paint us all with one paint brush, because I can assure you that 1.6 billion Muslims do not all think alike. Our religion condemns violence by commanding us to “not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct” (5:32).

Understand that you are not at war with Islam and let this civil war end. America has bigger fish to fry than to point the finger and play the blame game.

Don’t try to send us “back to our country,” register us in databases, or establish government surveillances in our neighborhoods — because that’s just counterproductive. Instead, we can work together. Let us collaborate with you in attempts bring an end to these horrendous and inhumane acts of terror. We share a mutual goal of obtaining peace — so let us achieve it together.

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