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Muslim Americans in a Post-9/11 World September 10, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in immigration, international, religion, terrorism.

Aside from those who have loved ones who died on September 11th, perhaps no group of people were affected more by the tragedy than Muslim Americans. Some Muslim Americans have relatives that were killed by the collapsing World Trade Center, others have been subjected to discrimination and violence because of their religious beliefs, and all have had to cope with the same harsh reality all Americans face: A country less secure because of terrorism.

Despite the constant reminders of the threat of “Islamo-facism”, “Islamic extremists” and “Muslim terrorists”, Muslims from countries around the world are continuing to immigrate to the United States. According to The New York Times, the number of Muslims entering the country dipped sharply after the 9/11 attacks. But in 2005, nearly 96,000 Muslims became legal permanent residents – more than in any year in the past 20 years.

The numbers are quite promising for a country that is seen by many Muslims as the enemy of Islam. For those Muslims who come to the United States despite concerns over our foreign policy, political and religious freedom seems to outweigh our role in the Middle East. As the New York Times article points out, the Pakistan Independence Day parade in the Little Pakistan neighborhood of Brooklyn is now dominated by American flags, which was not always the case.

It seems as if some Muslim Americans who lived in the country prior to 9/11 have now developed an identity that emphasizes being an American as much as it does being a Muslim. Of course, many had this identity way before the attacks, but the agony that came with the fall of the World Trade Center seemed to encourage a patriotic identification with America, regardless of politicial affiliation, religion or ethnicity. There is extreme division and polarization in America five years after the attacks, but traces of this unified identity continues to linger for many.

America is extremely fortunate that Muslims are still immigrating to our nation in hopes of fulfilling that mythic “American dream”. As we continue to make Muslims a visible and valued part of the fabric of American life, it will become increasingly difficult for extremists to claim our country is the enemy of Islam. Obviously, this alone will not end the threat of terrorism. But it will take a multi-faceted approach that emphasizes inclusion as much as it emphasizes rooting out terrorists.

Muslim Americans continue to face discrimination because of fear and intolerance, but I am hopeful that we are moving in the right direction. As a Pakistani woman who immigrated to Brooklyn in March said: “This is a land of opportunity. There is equality for everyone.” The more Muslim Americans who believe this to be true, the safer and better-off our country will be.

What Others Are Saying:

Please Note: The views of the following bloggers do not necessarily represent my views.

Infidel Bloggers Alliance: Winds of War: It’s Time for American Muslims to Act

Jihad Watch: America is Not Islamaphobic, It Really Just Doesn’t Understand the Religion at All

Peace and Mutual Understanding for a Better World: We Shouldn’t Profile Muslim Americans

Curious: Increasing Muslim immigration to US