When I think of September 11, 2001, I know the horror that was visited on my city. But I know something that so many other do not. America made me a Muslim. It continues to make me a Muslim. I am not sure I would be the Muslim I am today without New York. So when people say you cannot be American and Muslim, I laugh and think “You’ve never met a Muslim and you’ve never been to America.” (Hussein Rashid_________)
As someone who loves my faith deeply, 9/11 shook me to the core. I feel an enormous level of personal responsibility to represent Muslim Americans and Islam, and to present them both in an objective and relevant light. This responsibility and focus on the Muslim American facet of my identity has taken priority over other facets of my identity for so long that sometimes I forget that they even exist. I see this in many friends too. (Zeba Iqbal________)
Sometimes the expectations on us weigh too heavily, but all the same, in the weeks and months that followed, American Muslims couldn’t and didn’t step up as we should have. And because we didn’t tell our stories, the far right has been able to make us their punching bag, bringing us into the company of those great threats to Western civilization, including gay marriage, Latinos and a President simultaneously godless and Muslim.
I still think back to that day, and wish I’d stood up and said: Those people are not us, and their beliefs are not Islam. But these are the kinds of moments we learn from. It may not be fair to American Muslims that we must prove we are not those who have tortured Islam into a hideous thing. In fact, it is not fair. But this is the reality of our time: We must direct our lives into fighting the capture of our religion by those who, claiming Islam, have nothing to offer the future but barbarity. (Haroon Moghul _____________)
I never felt like Muslim values – tolerance, compassion, generosity, honesty – were at odds with American ones. My elders often told us that the United States was the ONLY true Muslim country, the only place that really lived up the those values. I believed that. I still do.
.....There is no disconnect for me, I am a Muslim in the way only an American be. (Ameena Meer______________)