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Muslim Americans’ ‘Seismic Change’ – The New York Times

And, she said, there is a correlation of “hysteria” between the dozens of states that introduced legislation against sharia law and the recent rise of similar measures against critical race theory, which argues that historical patterns of racism are ingrained in U.S. law and other modern institutions.

Sept. 11 brought about a “seismic change” for American Muslims’ personal psychological existence, said Farah Pandith, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who served as the country’s first special representative to Muslim communities in 2009. All at once, what it meant to be Muslim was defined by other people, she said, and persistent hostility took a tremendous mental health toll.

Today, Muslim schoolchildren are being asked to explain Osama bin Laden, she said. “You are seeing the scaling of hate, the rising of a fear-based narrative around Islam,” she said.

For Asmaa Abdeldaiem, 19, who grew up in Crown Point, Ind., the fear she felt after Mr. Trump’s election was similar to what she imagined that her parents, who immigrated from Egypt, must have felt after the Sept. 11 attacks. She described being born into a world without a sense of belonging. Every year, she hoped the Sept. 11 anniversary would fall on a weekend so she didn’t have to be at school and feel embarrassed or guilty as the only Muslim person in her class.

“For a lot of people, the first thing they are ever going to know about me is the fact that I am Muslim,” she said. “It’s a lot of weight to carry.”

Still, she has resources that those even a decade older than her did not. “We built up that support system that we wish we had when were children, to make it more survivable for the new issues that have come to the surface,” said Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, 29, who as a teenager started the media company MuslimGirl to correct misconceptions about Muslim women and give voice to their experiences.

By the time Mr. Trump started to push his barring of citizens of certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, her audience had already expanded to be about half-Muslim and half not. A new guard has taken over, she said, as justice movements across minority groups have risen together.



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