This past weekend was filled with memorials honoring those who lost their lives on 9/11 ten years ago. And while the world has changed greatly since then, many in the large Bay Area Muslim community are still feeling the effects of that tragic day.
Isa Eric Shaw, who serves on the Executive Committee of the Muslim Community Association, San Francisco Bay Area, said what many people fail to understand is that Muslim Americans were also attacked on that day.
“We (the Muslim community) had people on the airplanes that went down, we had people in the World Trade Center, we had people on the fire crews,” Shaw said. “This was not just an attack on Americans. It was an attack on everyone.”
And Shaw said that attack has continued as “ignorance has prevailed.”
“The media has fanned the flames by constantly portraying Islamic beliefs in a negative light,” he said. “The perception was that everyone held the same beliefs and we were all bunched into the same category. There was a missed opportunity to truly embrace the culture and beliefs of Muslim Americans.”
Shaw said ten years after the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Muslim American community in the Bay Area has refocused their efforts. “We are getting back to our roots. We are holding events in the community in an effort to open people’s minds to what is truly a religion of peace,” he said. “People are getting a chance to connect one-on-one. And they can see that what they see on TV and hear about is different from what they experience in person.”
Shaw said that perceptions have changed in this country and people are becoming more understanding and tolerant of his culture and religion. He hopes one day, people will not be judged by religion and beliefs but will be judged as the person they truly are.
Photo Credit: Matteo, via Wikimedia Commons