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How Being Muslim In America Has Changed Since 9/11 | The Huffington Post

How Being Muslim In America Has Changed Since 9/11 | The Huffington Post EDITION US عربي (Arabi) Australia Brasil Canada Deutschland España France Ελλάδα (Greece) India Italia 日本 (Japan) 한국 (Korea) Maghreb México Québec (En Francais) South Africa United Kingdom United States INFORM • INSPIRE • ENTERTAIN • EMPOWER NEWS WorldPost Highline Science Education Weird News Business TestKitchen Tech College Media POLITICS Pollster Election Results Eat the Press HuffPost Hill Candidate Confessional So That Happened ENTERTAINMENT Sports Comedy Celebrity Books Entertainment TV Arts + Culture WELLNESS Healthy Living Travel Style Taste Home Weddings Divorce Sleep GPS for the Soul WHAT'S WORKING Impact Green Good News Global Health VOICES Black Voices Latino Voices Women Fifty Religion Queer Voices Parents Teen College VIDEO ALL SECTIONS Arts + Culture Black Voices Books Business Candidate Confessional Celebrity College Comedy Crime Divorce Dolce Vita Eat the Press Education Election Results Entertainment Fifty Good News Green Healthy Living Highline Home Horoscopes HuffPost Data HuffPost Hill Impact Latino Voices Media Outspeak Parents Politics Pollster Queer Voices Religion Science Small Business So That Happened Sports Style Taste Tech Teen TestKitchen Travel TV Weddings Weird News Women WorldPost FEATURED GPS for the Soul Hawaii OWN Dr. Phil Quiet Revolution Talk to Me Don't Stress the Mess Endeavor Fearless Dreamers Generation Now Inspiration Generation Paving the Way The Power Of Humanity Sleep + Wellness What's Working: Purpose + Profit What's Working: Small Businesses RELIGION How Being Muslim In America Has Changed Since 9/11 For many Muslims, especially those born after Sept. 11, Islamophobia seems to be a fact of life. 09/09/2016 02:23 pm ET 400 Antonia Blumberg Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post ANDREW BIRAJ via Getty Images A woman holds banners and a flag as she takes part in the Americans Against Terrorism, Hate and Violence rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on July 23, 2016. The terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 reverberated around the world long after that fateful morning.  Americans of all stripes grappled with the image of planes crashing into the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon, and unfurling a blanket of dust and debris on New York City. They grieved the lives lost, came together to rebuild and sought answers as to why anyone would commit such an act of hatred. Within days of the attacks, many had found a convenient scapegoat. Muslims, Arabs and anyone who remotely resembled the terrorists seen on TV, whether in feature, dress or accent, became targets of retaliation. That stereotyping exists to this day . I hoped they wouldn’t even remember that I was Muslim.” Shawna Ayoub Ainslie “I stopped reading the Qur’an between classes,”  wrote Muslim blogger Shawna Ayoub Ainslie in 2015. “I used to wear comfortable, loose clothes that covered my arms and legs. [After Sept. 11], I kept the headscarf I carried for prayer hidden in my purse instead of draped around my neck... I began pushing up my sleeves when in groups so people would not worry that I was conservative. I hoped they wouldn’t even remember that I was Muslim.” Muslims, like people of other faiths, are not a monolith. And the experience of being Muslim in America ranges widely, depending on age, gender, location and a host of other factors. It also isn’t one solely defined by an act of terror 15 years ago. But Sept. 11 had a tremendous impact on Muslim American communities. Research shows that Muslim Americans were doubly traumatized , first by the attacks themselves and then again by the violent backlash toward their communities that ensued. This misplaced retaliation began almost immediately . In 2002, FBI reported  that incidents targeting people, institutions and businesses identified in some way with Islam increased by at least 1,600 percent. The report noted that prior to 2001, Muslims had been among the least-targeted religious groups. I’m an American, and being labeled a safety threat is unacceptable in a country founded on tolerance and freedom." Niala Mohammad Aside from hate crimes, Muslims faced new daily struggles . Things like flying in airplanes , getting through security checkpoints, finding employment and housing without facing discrimination, and going to weekly worship services without fear of attacks or undue surveillance became a reality for many ― and still are. “I’m an American, and being labeled a safety threat is unacceptable in a country founded on tolerance and freedom,” wrote Muslim American journalist Niala Mohammad, who was removed from an American Airlines flight in August reportedly for making the flight attendant feel “unsafe” by requesting water. Mohammad blamed such discriminatory practices in part on anti-Muslim rhetoric in politics and media. It was the likes of  Jerry Falwell  and Franklin Graham  15 years ago, and it’s Donald Trump, Ann Coulter and others today. American at