Before and after 9/11Americans point of view on Muslims [Archives:2005/899/Reportage]
BY HAKIM ALMASMARI
Hakim [email protected] hotmail.com
YEMEN TIMES STAFF
Recently, I was touring the United States, and wanted to know the feelings of Americans towards Muslims residing in the United States after the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington. Many people around America were asked of how they felt about Muslims living in the United States. Some answered positively and some not. Here are some replies.
“In my point of view, Muslims are a big part of this country and are a building stone for the future of America. You are not talking about a couple of people; Muslims in America outnumber ten million citizens. You will notice many people feeling more awkward when being around Muslims and even seeing them.. Many Americans feel hatred towards Muslims because they are given a bad name in general by the media.”
“I do not know, sometimes it's too much. Nowadays everywhere you go in America you will pass by Muslims. I don't think Muslims are the problem. They are very nice and honest people. Many of my colleagues are Muslims from Syria and Pakistan, and we understand each other completely. Things have changed to the worse after 9/11, but through time, relations will return to what they were before”.
“I feel very nervous when I see Muslims. I lived in a neighborhood, which had some Muslim houses. After the September attacks, I had to move to another city. I think that it is not right to oppose them, but there is still a weakness in me that makes me scared when I see them. I know that by time this mentality will change. I am sure of that”.
“Before the September attacks, we had no problem with Muslims. They were treated appropriately like any ethnic minority in the United States. After the attacks, the media played a big rule in making us feel that Muslims are the enemy, especially after President Bush used the word “crusaders” when mentioning the war against Afghanistan. We all know that the crusaders amplify the wars taken place by Muslims and Christians”.
“To be honest with you, I really think that Muslims are very kind people who were unfortunately blamed for the actions that until today is a conspiracy. You cannot blame a religion or its followers for any wrong doings of the people. Christians are now indulging in gay marriages and elections are spreading across America to allow such actions. So does this mean that Christianity is a bad religion or its not being followed appropriately? We have to deal with this situation logically”.
“I live in a neighborhood crowded by Muslims and I feel safe around them. I think it's because I have been living in their communities for a number of years now. That made me understand who Muslims really are and what they stand for. I treat Muslims like any other person living in America, and when comparing them to other ethnic minorities, they are probably the most united and straightforward people. This in return shows honesty and love for one another”.
As you see, opinions differ from one another. Some feel nervous when even mentioning such an issue, fearing that words could haunt them in the future. In general, you cannot find one opinion as people differ in feelings. The media in the west went through a destructive campaign against Muslims picturing them as people who are heartless and support the killing of innocent people. Muslims in America are doing as much as they can to change that philosophy. Islam is a religion of love, peace, and tranquility. Will things go back to normal as time passes? Only time will tell.