‘Those people are not me’

US Muslims reflect on how 9/11 changed their lives and what the future holds for them

By Alaa Elassar, CNN

Updated 10:53 AM ET, Fri September 10, 2021Watch CNN’s “Shine A Light,” a commercial-free 9/11 20th anniversary tribute, hosted by Jake Tapper and featuring musical performances by Maroon 5, H.E.R., Brad Paisley, and Common on Saturday, September 11 at 8 p.m. ET.(CNN) — Many Muslims in the United States point to September 11, 2001, as the day their relationship with the country changed.Islamophobia had always existed, but the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia seemingly made it worse — much worse.Muslims of all stripes — citizens, immigrants and refugees — faced backlash. Many were ostracized and harassed, some physically assaulted and even killed. Charged rhetoric, successive wars and attacks further inflamed the situation.Feeling condemned for crimes they didn’t commit, some Muslims changed their names and clothing to conceal their identities, while others clung even tighter to their faith. A few became outspoken advocates for the community.Every Muslim in America has a story to tell. Here are some of them.

Ruwa Romman

Ruwa Romman, 28, is a Palestinian American community organizer and policy analyst living in Duluth, Georgia.When the terrorists attacked, she was 8 years old and had just recently immigrated to the US with her parents. But the dream she had of building a new life in America quickly turned into a nightmare.Ruwa Romman and her husband Shahzaib Jiwani. Ruwa Romman and her husband Shahzaib Jiwani.”I remember the hallways and the day seemed darker even though I remember it was sunny outside,” Romman told CNN about her experience in school that day. “I don’t think I fully understood what was happening since I barely spoke English.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM CNN

Muslims are a growing presence in U.S., but still face negative views from the public

Muslim woman in a scarf holding American flag during fireworks at night.

An unprecedented amount of public attention focused on Muslim Americans in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The U.S. Muslim population has grown in the two decades since, but it is still the case that many Americans know little about Islam or Muslims, and views toward Muslims have become increasingly polarized along political lines.

A chart showing that in the U.S., the Muslim population has been growing steadily

There were about 2.35 million Muslim adults and children living in the United States in 2007 – accounting for 0.8% of the U.S. population – when Pew Research Center began measuring this group’s size, demographic characteristics and views. Since then, growth has been driven primarily by two factors: the continued flow of Muslim immigrants into the U.S., and Muslims’ tendency to have more children than Americans of other faiths.

In 2015, the Center projected that Muslims could number 3.85 million in the U.S. by 2020 – roughly 1.1% of the total population. However, Muslim population growth from immigration may have slowed recently due to changes in federal immigration policy.

The number of Muslim houses of worship in the U.S. also has increased over the last 20 years. A study conducted in 2000 by the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership identified 1,209 mosques in the U.S. that year. Their follow-up study in 2011 found that the number of mosques had grown to 2,106, and the 2020 version found 2,769 mosques – more than double the number from two decades earlier.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PEW RESEARCH CENTER

America’s Muslims come from many traditions and cultures

Kalpana Jain, The ConversationAug. 30, 2021 Comments

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Kalpana Jain, The Conversation

Journalists and scholars have pointed out how Muslims in the U.S. are often cast simplistically either as good or bad: The good ones are raising their voices against terrorism and the bad ones are violent, or likely to be.

This view blocks out an “otherwise fascinating spectrum” of American Muslims, writes scholar Abbas Barzegar. “Outside of Mecca itself,” he says, “there exists no other Muslim population that displays the theological, ideological, class and ethnic diversity as that which resides here” in the U.S.

So, what are the different ways of being a Muslim?

Many American Muslims belong to one of the two main sects in Islam – Sunni and Shiite. Each draws its faith and practice from the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad. The two agree on most of the fundamentals of Islam.

But the two groups split after the death of Prophet Muhammad in A.D. 632, when issues over leadership emerged, writes religion scholar Ken Chitwood. The majority of the Muslim community sided with Abu Bakr, one of the prophet’s closest companions. A minority, however, opted for the prophet’s cousin – Ali.

Muslims who rallied around Abu Bakr came to be called Sunni – meaning those who follow the Sunna, or sayings, deeds and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HOUR

Study finds the American mosque increasingly a melting pot of Islamic traditions

(RNS) — The American mosque is becoming more American. At least according to Ihsan Bagby, who has authored a report for the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding based on a a new survey of American mosques. The report, conducted every 10 years, found American Sunni mosques are increasingly a melting pot of traditions, blending various schools of Islamic jurisprudence or madhabs.

In many ways this pluralistic approach indicates a return to tradition. Even, for example, in regard to the roles of men and women. Findings in the report suggest the American mosque is reviving certain leadership positions for women in the mosque that, while common in the earliest days of Islam, have fallen out of practice.

RELATED: New initiative seeks to get Muslims to the golf course

“American mosque leaders lean toward an understanding of Islam that adheres to the foundational, textual sources of Islam (Qur’an and Sunnah) but are open to interpretations that look to the purposes of Islamic law (i.e., looking to the spirit and wisdom of the law) and modern circumstances,” the report said.ADVERTISING

The ISPU study builds on direct interviews and a standardized questionnaire. The authors of the report spoke directly with hundreds of mosque leaders in conducting the research for the report. 

In many countries in the Islamic world, a single madhab dominates and while American immigrants from those countries maintain those practices, their mosques often mix traditions in order to appeal to a wide potential pool of congregants. 

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST

Muslim Americans on finding love as third-culture-kids-turned-adults

“Some Muslims are looking for that magical middle. How can you … find that halal love and have everything our society tells us — that it’s full of passion and you’ll find your soulmate?” one chaplain said.

By Sakshi Venkatraman

When Mariam Mokhtar, 21, started taking karate classes for fun with her little brothers, she expected to get exercise and learn self-defense, not to meet her future husband. Mokhtar and Rai Shaw were both in high school at the time, and they became friends through the class.

“We were doing karate for years,” she said. “We’d see each other like every week, and, you know, it starts off as nothing, and then you become friends because you see them all the time. And then yeah, things just developed from there.”

A year after they met, he knew he wanted to marry her. She wasn’t so sure. 

“One day he was like, ‘I love you,’” Mokhtar said. “And I was like, ‘Uhhhh.’”

As a young woman hoping to find a partner one day, Mokhtar said she had always been searching for a middle ground between the traditions of their parents’ Muslim culture and the world of her non-Muslim peers. Western media and even Bollywood portray romance one way, but Muslim American couples and chaplains say the way they often meet, fall in love and eventually decide to get married are usually misunderstood or not told at all. 

“A lot of young Muslims are trying to navigate their story of love between traditional cultures that their parents may come from and their newly found American culture,” Imam Sohaib Sultan, a longtime chaplain at Princeton University who died in April, told NBC Asian America in February.

That made it hard for Mokhtar to be sure of what she wanted. Though she loved him too, they were so young and still had college ahead of them. And because of her faith, she didn’t really want to date in the way her non-Muslim peers did. 

“There’s a challenge navigating what social expectations are, what family expectations are and what a person’s own expectations are.”

“I was like, I would not marry this guy right now,” she said, laughing. “But then over the years, I saw him grow.”

So they waited, stayed friends, and eventually the time was right. The two got married last summer in an intimate ceremony with just the couple and their immediate family. Four years of waiting came to a head during a pandemic. But Mokhtar could not be happier. 

Navigating love wasn’t always easy for Mokhtar, who is Egyptian American. Growing up, she felt everyone around her had different ideas about what partnership and marriage were supposed to look like.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NBC NEWS

Muslims in America: A forgotten history

For more than 300 years, Muslims have influenced the story of the US – from the ‘founding fathers’ to blues music today.

By Sylviane A Diouf10 Feb 2021

In the summer of 1863, newspapers in North Carolina announced the death of “a venerable African”, referred to, in a paternalistic manner, as “Uncle Moreau”.

Omar ibn Said, a Muslim, was born in 1770 in Senegal and by the time of his death, he had been enslaved for 56 years. In 2021, Omar, an opera about his life, will premiere at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.KEEP READING‘Fascist storm troopers’: Racist police violence in 1940s AmericaKnow your history: Understanding racism in the USAnalysis: Toppling racist statues makes space for radical change

Muslims are usually thought of as 20th-century immigrants to the US, yet for well over three centuries, African Muslims like Omar were a familiar presence. They had grown up in Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria where Islam was known since the 8th century and spread in the early 1000s.

Estimates vary, but they were at least 900,000 out of the 12.5 million Africans taken to the Americas. Among the 400,000 Africans who spent their lives enslaved in the United States, tens of thousands were Muslims.

Though they were a minority among the enslaved population, Muslims were acknowledged like no other community. Slaveholders, travellers, journalists, scholars, diplomats, writers, priests and missionaries wrote about them. Founder of Georgia James Oglethorpe, Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State Henry Clay, author of the US national anthem Francis Scott Key, and portraitist of the Founding Fathers Charles W Peale were acquainted with some of them.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA

Muslim Americans ‘Thrilled’ Ahead of Travel Ban Being Lifted

It’s being hailed by advocacy groups as a day of hope, one after which families may once more be able to reunite with loved ones, marking the end of a “dark legacy”. Muslim Americans are anticipating the end of a travel ban President Trump imposed on predominantly Muslim countries, a ban President-elect Biden has vowed to repeal on his first day in office.

According to a memo sent by Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain to senior staff, Biden is planning to sign a raft of executive orders on his first day as President to mark a clean break with his predecessor, including an order to rejoin the Paris Agreement on the climate and the reversal of the travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries.

Labeled a Muslim ban by critics, an executive order was signed by President Trump in January 2017 barring entry into the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the country for 90 days. It also banned the admission of Syrian refugees and suspended the U.S. refugee admissions program for 120 days.

President Trump said the travel ban was necessary in order to keep America safe from terrorism and that it was not a ban against Muslims. During his campaign for president, Trump had called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Justifying the imposition of his ban by executive order, Trump said: “Making America safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.”

During his campaign, Biden promised to “end the Muslim ban on day one” of his time in office. Biden told attendees of the Million Muslim Votes Summit, an online conference hosted by Emgage Action, a Muslim-American political group: “Muslim communities were the first to feel Donald Trump‘s assault on Black and brown communities in this country with his vile Muslim ban. That fight was the opening barrage in what has been nearly four years of constant pressure and insults, and attacks against Muslim American communities.”

Ahead of the expected repealing of the ban on Wednesday, Iman Awad, deputy director of Emgage Action told Newsweek that she was “thrilled.” She said: “From the first time we heard President-elect Biden say that he was going to end the Muslim ban on day one, the community was definitely thrilled because that to us is a validation of how poor of a policy the Muslim ban was from the beginning.

“The fact that the Biden administration is upkeeping that promise, we’re very hopeful because again when somebody’s running a campaign and when President-elect Biden was stating he was going to rescind the ban there were still some questions around it but we are incredibly grateful that he’s upholding that campaign promise.”

Travel ban protest
Muslim Americans say they are “thrilled” a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries will be lifted by BidenGETTY

FULL ARTICLE FROM NEWSWEEK

Muslim voters want more than ‘just a seat’ at the table from President-elect Joe Biden

By SARAH PARVINISTAFF WRITER NOV. 8, 20205 AM

In the lead-up to the midterm election two years ago, Sara Deen noticed that many fellow Muslims in her South Bay community weren’t voters. Some didn’t understand the process. More lacked faith that their voice would matter, or had trouble navigating a ballot.

She decided to prepare a voter guide and hand it out to friends and members of her mosque during Friday prayers. This year, she’s seen an increase in engagement from Muslim voters — friends and acquaintances alike. They‘ve asked for her help explaining state propositions, pored over her recommendations and debated their merits over WhatsApp and Zoom.

“I love it, and it means people are coming into their voice in my community,” said Deen, a Rancho Palos Verdes resident. “But what’s been disappointing is how often it feels like other politicians want to co-opt our voice, but are not super interested in what we have to say.”

In an election year defined by the coronavirus pandemic, calls for social justice and economic uncertainty, a record number of Muslims have mailed in their ballots and headed to the polls, continuing a surge in voter registration and political engagement seen after President Trump took office in 2016, according to Emgage, a national get-out-the-vote group that focuses on Muslims. Emgage Action, an arm of Emgage, endorsed and supported President-elect Joe Biden.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE LA TIMES

Poll reveals record Muslim vote in US election

LONDON: More than one million American Muslims participated in the 2020 US election, with nearly 70 percent voting for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, an exit poll has showed.

The poll by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said US Muslim voters turned out in “record-breaking numbers” in Tuesday’s election.

It said of 844 registered Muslim voter households, 84 percent reported that they voted in the election. “CAIR would like to thank the more than one million American Muslim voters who turned out in record-breaking numbers this election cycle,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

The poll said 69 percent of their registered Muslim voters voted for Biden and 17 percent for President Donald Trump.

It noted that Trump received 4 percent more support of the Muslim vote, compared to the 2016 election, in which then he received a 13 percent.

CAIR said the poll was conducted using an independent automated call survey provider and asked two questions to the registered voters: Did you vote in the Presidential election? and Which presidential candidate did you vote for?

Muslim voters were expected to play an important role in the election, particularly with the large Arab Muslim population in Michigan, a key battleground state.

Arab News reported this week this week how Arab Americans in particular have consistently had some of the highest turnouts at polls among ethnic communities.

An Arab American Institute (AAI) survey before the election revealed that 59 percent of Arab Americans supported Biden while 35 percent backed Trump.

FULL ARTICLE FROM ARAB NEWS

US elections 2020: About 69 percent American-Muslims vote for Biden, says exit poll survey

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, released the results of its 2020 Muslim Voters Presidential Election Exit Poll on

NEW YORK: Nearly 69 percent of Muslim voters cast their ballot for Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden while 17 percent supported President Donald Trump, according to a survey conducted by Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization in the US.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, released the results of its 2020 Muslim Voters Presidential Election Exit Poll on Tuesday.

CAIR’s poll of 844 registered Muslim voter households found a high Muslim turnout with 84 percent reporting that they voted in the US election, with 69 percent voting for Biden and 17 percent for Trump.

CAIR said more than one million American Muslim voters turned out in “record-breaking” numbers this election cycle.

CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said the “Muslim community’s significant ability to impact the results of numerous races across this country – including the presidential election – was recognized nationally.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM NEW INDIAN EXPRESS