Five years ago Monday, terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington changed the country forever.

Those attacks also changed attitudes and actions toward Muslim-Americans, says Parvez Ahmed, national chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Ahmed, an assistant professor of finance at the University of North Florida, speaks across the country and will address students at Orange Park High School on Monday. He sat down with the Times-Union last week to discuss how things have changed in five years, misconceptions about Islam and President Bush referring to the war against “Islamic fascists” after British authorities thwarted a terror plot last month.

In the five years since Sept. 11, do you think Muslim Americans are treated differently than they were right after the terrorist attacks?

Yes. It has become progressively worse.

How so?

Number one, there is an increased attack on Islam through airwaves and through rhetoric. Talk-show hosts, commentators, even the president, have used very negative ways of describing Islam – and Muslims. For example, using “Islamic fascism” and things like that. It has linked our faith to something that is very negative, almost universally rejected, like fascism. … [According to a CAIR report on the state of Muslim civil rights to be released this week] the numbers show that, again, since 9/11, the reports of discrimination, the reports of profiling, the reports of law enforcement overreach continue to increase at an alarming rate.


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