The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

Never Forget

AP Images
Hate crimes against Muslims in the United States skyrocketed immediately after September 11, 2001, and are still on an upward trend

As the Pledge of Allegiance is said over the intercom, we make sure to take our moment of silence. It’s been 22 years since 9/11.  But with another moment of silence also comes another wave of Islamophobia. 

In its root, Islamophobia is defined as the dislike of, or prejudice against, Islam or Muslims. However, Islamophobia affects more than just a handful of Muslims. 

9/11 created the strongest shift in bigotry and xenophobia that the United States has ever seen.  

Hate crimes against Muslims skyrocketed immediately after the 9/11 attacks, rising 1,617% from 2000 to 2001, according to the FBI. The severe spike marked the highest numbers of hate crimes against the Muslim community in United States history.

As a kid, I always felt that I had to be significantly more vocal about my sympathies for victims of 9/11 just because I, too, am brown. I didn’t want any of my peers making comments saying I was a terrorist and I felt a great amount of shame in the fact that I often feared people would think I was Muslim. 

What I had yet to learn is that there is nothing shameful about being Muslim.

It is shameful, however, that we live in a society where a prepubescent girl had to worry that her friends wouldn’t like her and her peers would bully her if they thought she was a Muslim. 

Obviously, as a human I hurt for the lives that were destroyed and the families that suffered. But as a brown person, I am equally sick to my stomach at the 9/11 “jokes” towards Muslims which plague social media. 

My mom immigrated to the United States in June of 2001. Three months later, 9/11 occurred. In a wave of anger, many Americans acted solely on emotions and not logic. 

Within the first few months of my mom being here, one of her close friends was harassed. His tires were slashed by a group of people who had mistaken him for being a Muslim. 

This is the America they left all their friends and family to live in.

Not only did the aggressors generalize and stereotype, but they literally generalized and stereotyped the wrong group of people. 

This happened to people all over the country. My parents raised me telling me to be cautious, because brown people, despite religion and despite ethnicity, were wronged. Tires were slashed, buildings were broken into, windows were smashed and hijabs were torn off. 

People needed to point fingers and Muslims were the perfect solution. Every stereotype of Muslims was used to harass, mistreat and detain anyone fitting that mold.

And trust me, I get it.

If someone I loved had been in those towers, I would’ve ran across the world to find who was responsible. But I would’ve looked at more than just the color of their skin. 

At the root of all this prejudice is a lack of knowledge. Islam is just as complex as Christianity or Judaism, and people have been failing to understand that for years.

Every year, 9/11 brings American nationalism back to the surface. Every year, the “othering” of Muslim Americans gets worse. The United States has yet to recover from making Muslims feel like anything other than the enemy and Muslims have yet to recover from the suffering they had to endure by constantly proving their loyalty to the United States. 

It digs into the life of every Muslim American, forever stained by terrorists they shared nothing in common with except for one classification: Muslim.

About the Contributor
Veda Kommineni, Staff Writer
Veda Kommineni is a first-year journalism student but has spent three years on the yearbook staff. Outside of class, Veda plays varsity tennis for Edwardsville, does robotics, and is the editor in chief for the yearbook. Although she does not plan on majoring in journalism, she hopes the skill will benefit her in whatever future holds.