“After 9/11, I knew I would be a target, but it never crossed my mind to take off my headscarf,” said Yasmin Hosein, a School of Education freshman, at a discussion part of Boston University’s Islamic Awareness Week last night. “Someone yelled at me to go back to Palestine, even though I’m not Palestinian. I’m just as American as they are.”

About 50 students and faculty voiced their disappointment and experiences with racism in the United States — saying the media’s portrayal of Islam and the West’s misunderstanding of the religion contribute to a racist mindset — following a documentary hosted by the Islamic Society of Boston University at BU Central.

The Society screened Muslims in America: The Misunderstood Millions, originally featured on ABC shortly after the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, in which Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew up a nine-story federal office building, killing more than 165 people. After the event, many Americans mistakenly blamed Muslims for the attack, the documentary states.

“The media paints a very grim picture of Muslims,” said attendee Farva Bilgrami, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore, before the event, “and people tend to believe everything they see.”

In the film, John Esposito — the director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University — said the negative perception of Muslims is based on the Western world’s Judeo-Christian ideology that is unaware of Islam.


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