Islamaphobia in America: 15 years after 9/11

CCTV News

Young Muslim boy at anti-Islamophobia protest. Young Muslim boy at anti-Islamophobia protest.

In the lead-up to the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Muslim-Americans say they are once again under intense scrutiny. The U.S. presidential campaign has further stoked Islamophobia, and an important Muslim holiday Eid Al-Adha falls too close to the anniversary for comfort.

CCTV America’s Liling Tan reported on how New York’s American-Muslim community is coping with the rising tied of anti-Islam sentiment.

Islamaphobia in America: 15 years after 9-11

Islamaphobia in America: 15 years after 9-11

In the lead-up to the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Muslim-Americans say they are once again under intense scrutiny. The U.S. presidential campaign has further stoked Islamophobia, and an important Muslim holiday Eid Al-Adha falls too close to the anniversary for comfort. CCTV America's Liling Tan reported on how New York's American-Muslim community is coping with the rising tied of anti-Islam sentiment.

Fifteen years ago, Americans woke up to a new era of terrorism as Al Qaeda carried out the worst terror attacks on U.S. soil.

But for so many Muslim-Americans, it was also an awakening to a new reality – the perception of their community’s guilt by association.

Imam Shamsi Ali, Jamaica Muslim Center, Full Sot: “Islamaphobia is on the rise there is no doubt about that. The political rhetoric by some irresponsible politicians that inflamed further fear and phobia among our American friends, that has resulted into some violent behavior.”

Early this month in Queens, an elderly Muslim woman was killed near her home, just weeks after an imam and his assistant were shot dead outside a mosque.

Many in the Muslim-American community say these were hate crimes in a time of increasing Islamophbia that could unravel years of efforts to bridge differences.

Linda Sarsour, Executive Director, Arab American Association of New York, Full Sot: “In one story we have built a lot of new alliances, building with our Jewish neighbors, our African-American, Latino and Asian American neighbors. But then in another story, a rise in hate crimes, individual assaults on Muslims, vandalism of our mosques, so we kind of feel like we built some relationships but it’s still so much worse for Muslims 15 years later in New York City than it was even days and week and months after 9/11.”

Organizations tracking Islamophobia say violence against Muslims increased after last year’s Paris attacks and the San Bernardino shooting, and escalated during a presidential campaign peppered with anti-Muslim rhetoric.

And in this climate of fear, the possibility that the Muslim holiday of Eid Al Adha would coincide with the September 11th anniversary drew calls for Muslims to postpone the celebration, but Muslim-Americans say the two events are not related.

Afar Nasher, Executive Director, Council on American Islamic Relations New York Chapter, Full Sot:”This particular Eid is all about sacrifices. It commemorates the sacrifice that the prophet Ibrahim made in abeyance to God./ But as far as 9/11 is concerned, it’s a commemoration of those that have lost, including our own family members, including our own friends, and so for Muslims it’s a day of mourning like everyone else.


Douglas Smith on the 9/11 anniversary

To talk more about the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Susan Roberts was joined by Douglas Smith. He former Assistant Secretary for the Private Sector at the Department of Homeland Security and has served as advisor for two U.S. presidents.