A recent Pew Center study found that the Muslim American community is for the most part “largely content with its place in American society and optimistic about the country’s direction,” despite still facing discrimination after 9/11. But about a quarter report that they have been treated suspiciously, called offensive names and feel that airport security singles them out.
Nearly ten years after 9/11, hateful rhetoric about Muslims has become all too common and even gone “mainstream.” A recent email by Andrea Lafferty, the president of the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), offers yet another example. Entitled “Islamists Continue Conquest of New York City,” the email makes a not-too-subtle reference to the Crusades, as if “Islamists” are knocking at the gates of Western civilization.
According to Lafferty, Mayor Michael Bloomberg deciding to exclude clergy and first responders from the tenth annual memorial service of the 9/11 attacks is a sign that Muslims are continuing their “conquest of New York City.” Bloomberg’s decision to make the ceremony “fully non-denominational” and to remove the” uncomfortable religion angle from the event” has not been without controversy. Lafferty takes it a step farther and contends that Bloomberg is doing nothing less than “exterminating expressions of faith.” Trumpeting her past success protesting the Ground Zero Mosque, she calls for donations so she can garner “media attention” to “tell the real story, to assert our values and let the world know that September 11th represented the very best of America — and the very worst of our enemies.”
Lafferty’s email is yet another sign of the Islamaphobia and “mainstreaming of hateful speech” about Muslims that have sadly taken root in the US. To take a stand against this, Unity Productions Foundation has started a new online project, “My Fellow American.” The video “juxtaposes voices of anti-Muslim hate” with those of “everyday American Muslims,” of Americans.
We’re all Americans and while there’s much we don’t agree about, on September 11th, wherever we are, all of us — of different faiths, races, ethnicities, walks of life — will be remembering the attacks on 9/11: That’s the real story.
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Photo of Ground Zero construction site taken in May of 2008 by _rockinfree