FOR INDIANA MUSLIMS, PROGRESS MAY OUTWEIGH SETBACKS
MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) Ali Khan sits in Imam Mongy Elquesny's office after Friday prayers, discussing the long list of public events where they and others from their mosque need to appear in the coming weeks as Ramadan begins.
They must coordinate benefits at their mosque, the Northwest Indiana Islamic Center, during Islam's holiest month. On Sept. 30, they'll host civic leaders for a night of appreciation.
"The positives are the great relationships that have been built as a result," said Khan, who is also the executive director of the Chicago-based American Muslim Council. "After Sept. 11, real meaningful dialogue has taken place."
The attacks five years ago put Indiana Muslims under a cloud of suspicion and prejudice, making them targets of hate crimes and terrorist profiling. But those dark days also opened opportunities for them to build bridges with non-Muslims and carried them closer to the American mainstream.