9 devastating, revealing stories of being Muslim in post-9/11 America

September 11, 2001, is widely understood as a marker of deepening Islamophobia in America. While that’s perhaps oversimplified, the attacks did set off a series of political and social reactions that have worked together to fuel fear and ignorance about what it means to follow Islam.

I spoke to nine Muslim Americans about how misunderstandings, stereotypes, and hateful rhetoric about their religion has affected their lives in the years since. Their experiences vary with age, race, geography, and the visibility of their faith. Some live in daily awareness of dirty looks, rude comments, and constant fear of violent retaliation. Others have pursued careers in activism or processed their questions through work in academia. A few make it their mission to change minds about Islam through daily interpersonal interactions, and most keep a careful eye on political rhetoric as a powerful shaper of the country’s climate. All of them agree that since 9/11, nothing has been the same.

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