On Being an American Muslim, One Week after Osama's Death and Ten Years After 9/11

Republican candidates have successfully played the "fear card" using Muslims as their Ace. They gain significant political mileage with some of their constituents by mainstreaming the manufactured myth of "creeping sharia" taking over the U.S. For 2016, the right wing is creating "anti-bigfoot" and "anti-unicorn" legislation—fear not, the war on terror never ends.

Muslim Americans also share blame due to hermitically sealing themselves in an isolated, cultural cocoon and not proactively engaging civic society in wider numbers. One cannot expect change by sitting in the stands as an ineffectual spectator, content with being an irate cultural consumer instead of a productive cultural producer and participant.

The only way to experience reconciliation and healing is to engage in honest self reflection and face the tragedy of that day—with its subsequent collateral damage—head on.

Without an honest dialogue, we're simply shadow boxing.

So, here we are, nearly ten years later, with that ubiquitous symbolic icon of "terror" now vanquished.

However, we have yet to bury and forget the bigotry, stereotypes, hate, and unfounded fears that were born and nurtured as a reaction to a few men's perverse deeds.

Americans are enjoying this moment of collective relief; this moment of well earned catharsis.

But, tomorrow we will wake up and realize that we still have a long way to go in battling extremism and ignorance.

Ten years later, at least many of us now understand that the only way forward is by embarking on this journey together. We have also earned and learned the valuable lesson that if we are to truly change ourselves, then the only way to escape our shadow is to finally confront it.

5/9/2011 4:00:00 AM