First in an ongoing series on the impact of 9/11 on life in the United States, Spencer Michels talks with members of the American Muslim community in San Francisco.

SPENCER MICHELS: Nearly five years after 9/11, members of the growing American Muslim community continue to wrestle with their place in modern American society.

For most of them, three million to nine million, depending on who’s counting, life is not the same as it was before. . .

SPENCER MICHELS: At the Muslim Community Association Mosque in Silicon Valley, California, one of the largest in the country, four members talked about their own experiences as Muslims, professionally and personally, post 9/11.

Marwa Elzankaly is an attorney.

MARWA ELZANKALY: There is this sort of “You’re either with us or against us” mentality that has developed. And there’s no gray lines in between. And, so, if you’re not totally with us, then, it’s almost as though, well, what you’re saying is, you’re really supporting the terrorists.

AMJAD OBEIDAT, Computer Engineer: When I talk to my mom, for instance, who lives in Jordan, I often wonder if that call is being recorded by someone. There is definitely a feeling that we are a little bit more under scrutiny since September 11.

SPENCER MICHELS: Among Muslims, there is not complete unanimity.

WOMAN: I actually don’t have the sense of virtual imprisonment, because I still believe in the freedom of speech. And I really don’t feel that, if I’m to express my opinion, that I will have any negative repercussions.

SAFAA IBRAHIM, Council on American-Islamic Relations: There might be another type — terrorist attack. And I fear, really fear, the ramifications of that, and what could possibly happen as a response from Americans as a whole.

I hear rumors about internment camps being awarded as contacts to some companies. And I think to myself — and they call it in a case of an immigration emergency. And I think to myself, you know, is that going — I’m an American. But my parents emigrated to this country, and I’m a first-generation immigrant. Am I going to be rounded up, in case of an attack I have nothing to do with?


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.