Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, the American Muslim community is still working to show support for its country and end negative stereotypes that arose from the tragedy.
Business senior and president of the Muslim Students Association Safa Elshanshory said the events of 9/11 sparked heated rhetoric from both sides of the controversy, but ultimately led to healthy discussion.
“I don’t think there is ever going to be closure from any aspect,” Elshanshory said. “A lot of words have been let out of the box and a lot of fear was uncovered because of the events, but this can all be seen as a positive direction towards understanding.”
Elshanshory said it was necessary to correct the ideas many Americans held about the true, peaceful ways of Muslims in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, but she does not believe as many people hold misconceptions as immediately after 9/11.
“Some people think we have to really go out of our way to show that we are a good and peaceful people,” Elshanshory said. She said the day to day lives Muslims live already reflects the peacefulness of their religion and Muslims do not need to make greater efforts than that.
Elshanshory said she felt the heated rhetoric calm down toward the middle of the decade, but she encountered negativity similar to 2001 when public debate began about the construction of a Muslim community center near ground zero.
“Again politicians from the highest level began openly attacking the religion because Muslims wanted to build the Park 51 mosque,” Elshanshory said. “I felt a little déjà vu.”
Kristen Brustad, chair of the department of Middle Eastern Studies, said the attacks of 9/11 brought out the best and the worst in Americans. She said the attacks inspired heartfelt outreach toward Muslims but also some uneducated outrage toward the Muslim community.
Brustad said the Middle Eastern Studies department has seen an increase of students pursuing Muslim-related courses since 9/11.
“This is one of the few good things that came out of 9/11,” Brustad said. “People have become more globally aware. Students have been more interested in the language study and the historic culture of the region.” entireARTICLE SOURCE