For most Americans, the Sept. 11 attacks have meant increased vigilance, long lines at airports and color-coded alerts. Many have relatives fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan.

For Arab-Americans, however, there have been additional challenges. Some have shied from public view, while others have chosen to speak out about what it means to be an Arab-American in time of war.

Here are excerpts of a conversation with four members of Society of Arab Students at University of California, Irvine: Ramy Ballout, Vanessa Zuabi, Osama Abuljebain and Nabil Atalla.

Register: How has your life changed since 9/11?

Osama: It’s not easy for someone named Osama to live in American society. Right after the World Trade Center attacks happened, for three (to) four months my family and I stayed home. A neighbor (made) comments like ‘Bin laden won’t protect you; go back to your country, you’re not wanted here…’


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