The Muslim Portal at Patheos is hosting the “Three Questions” project for the month of September in conjunction with the tenth anniversary of the terrorist acts of 9/11. We are asking American Muslims from across the nation three simple but important questions. Click here to learn more about the project.
Sheila Musaji, founder and director of The Amerian Muslim, offers her answers to the three questions:
1. What is the most pressing issue or concern for you as a Muslim in America today, 10 years after the tragedy of 9/11?
I am most concerned about the erosion of Constitutional protections, civil rights, and the rule of law — and the endless wars that have come as part of our response to 9/11. We are undermining our own freedoms, destroying our image in the world community, and destroying our economy in the name of “security,” all of which makes us less secure.
2. In what ways – inwardly /or outwardly – did 9/11 change you or affect you?
Like all Americans, I was enraged at the criminal Al Qaeda terrorists who attacked us, and mourned all the innocents who were murdered. I was taken by surprise when so many of my fellow Americans reacted, not by attempting to understand and counter any of the possible motivating factors for such a despicable act (e.g. U.S. foreign policy, repressive foreign governments, wars, political ideologies, hijacking of religion to justify criminal acts, etc.) but instead simply blamed Islam. The Islamophobia industry that grew out of this simplistic explanation has been very effective in spreading its message of hate so that more and more of our fellow Americans look at us with suspicion. I am more fearful now but also determined to attempt to counter bigotry in all its forms because it makes us all less safe.
3. What do you think non-Muslim Americans most need to know about Muslims?
Simply that we are Americans and love our country for its freedoms. American Muslims, like all minorities have a special love for the Constitution and a strong desire to protect the freedoms and ideals it proclaims. I believe that our American Muslim Declaration says what we wish our fellow Americans knew about us.