Mohamed El Filali, president of the Islamic Center of Passaic, N.J., said that like the rest of the world, his community was still dealing with the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.
But while everyone, including Muslims, was contending with loss of life (nearly three dozen Muslims died on 9/11), the Muslim American community was also subject to shifting public perceptions of Islam in the wake of the attacks. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center showed that the majority of Muslims in the U.S. say it is more difficult to be Muslim here since 9/11, and a large percentage of them reported negative experiences, including name-calling and being singled out by law enforcement and airport security.
“The Muslim religion was hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, the Muslim community as well. And Muslims lost their lives,” said El Filali, saying that Sept. 11 represented a triple attack on the religion.
The religious leader said that the 10th anniversary of 9/11 was not that different from the other anniversaries of Sept. 11 because the Muslim community was constantly reliving the pain of that day and dealing with the subsequent attacks on the religion.
WATCH AN INTERVIEW WITH MOHAMED EL FILALI:
Mohamed El Filali is the president of the Islamic Center of Passaic, N.J. He spoke with NJToday about his community 10 years after 9/11.