ATLANTA – Occasionally Sophia Moiz has heard other Americans say derogatory
things about Islam, her religion, or about Muslim people.
The Woodstock, Ga., woman wonders why some people would do that.
“Nobody will dare to make a (negative) comment versus a Jewish person or a
black person,” Moiz said. “When people say negative things about Islam, if
you don’t feel comfortable, it’s important for people to say ‘That’s not
The Muslim community in Georgia has been working to educate the public
about their faith in the years since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The Council on American Islamic Relations of Georgia held a forum on
Saturday so American Muslims could ask questions about law enforcement
practices or workplace situations.
“The last two years have not been the best of times in the Muslim community
in the United States because of things beyond our control,” said Dr. Rashid
Naim, a board member of the council.
Naim said Muslims in Georgia have faced discrimination by employers and
those in positions of authority.
And people have committed hate crimes against Muslims. Of the 890 hate
crimes against Muslims in the United States following the 2001 terrorist
attacks, there have been under a half-dozen hate crimes directed against
Muslims in Georgia, said Gregory Jones, special agent in charge of the FBI
branch in Atlanta.
“In many cases we’ve found we didn’t know where to go when these things
happen,” Naim said.
Jones explained to the audience of about 50 people that the FBI must
balance protecting the U.S. Constitution and civil rights versus the
agency’s role of protecting the country from threats.
“The FBI today is much more responsive and attuned to the constitutional
limits of our authority,” Jones said.
Abdul Muhammed, 32, of Atlanta, said he has not experienced any
discrimination but said sometimes Muslims and non-Muslims can have
preconceived notions of each other. But the groups share similar views, he
“We believe in the same thing – we believe in peace and we work for peace,”