Opinion: American Muslims live in fear 11 years after 9/11
Muslims worshipping at the end of Ramadan.
September 11th, 2012
02:56 PM ET

Opinion: American Muslims live in fear 11 years after 9/11

Editor's note: Sumbul Ali-Karamali is the author of "The Muslim Next Door: the Qur’an, the Media, and that Veil Thing, and Growing up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam." She is on the steering committee of Women in Islamic Spirituality and Equality and is a member of the Muslim Women’s Global Shura Council, both of which aim to promote women’s rights and human rights from an Islamic perspective.

By Sumbul Ali-Karamali, Special to CNN

(CNN) – My father always told me never to talk about religion, politics, or other people’s children. He was part of a generation of American Muslims who wanted to stay quiet and assimilate into American life and not rock the boat. Growing up in Southern California, I tried to follow his advice.

But after 9/11, I found that I, along with other American Muslims, have had little choice but to talk about religion.

Although countless Muslims have condemned the acts of 9/11 in the United States and worldwide, American Muslims became objects of suspicion.

Read the full Opinion piece on CNN In America
- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 9/11 • Islam • Muslim • Opinion

soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    September 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  2. heepocreesee

    People of other faiths are persecuted in Muslim countries.
    How about Muslims publicly stating that jihad is evil ?
    How about Muslims explaining that they understand the meaning of "free speech" rather than blowing up people who p*ss them off ?

    September 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  3. MyPictureOfMohammad


    September 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  4. sonnyofthemeek

    Majority of Muslim’s Pray as Extremists Prey

    Why is it acceptable to their majority to also being the victims of attack by extremists killing in the name of their God? The bombs meant to harm the west have taken countless innocent lives of their own believers of Islam, the same God they worship together many times a day.
    In America they reside in both peace and safety, protected by the same people being targeted and killed by extremists across the globe. If America, and it’s people had not acted in the past to end the horror of Hitler and others, what language would any of the few survivors speak, where would they hide from eradication, who would insure their survival from genocide?
    America has given hope and proof that people can coexist safely within our shores, and as many must admit, across the globe. Freedom has seldom been given in any land to all the people of this planet other than in America, proved by the numbers we are composed of. All lands represented by the makeup of our society, our people, your fellow citizen’s now here in the land of the free. The dream becomes reality upon reaching our shores, as our deaths become nightmares on your own soil, and our own as evident on 9-11.
    We mourn our lose and never turn you away for the sins of a few. This new attack killing an ambassador and others their helping your brethren, fellow Islamist’s to live without a leader as horrific as you had for lifetimes, cut short.
    Under the pretext of some unseen internet film in lands without access to basic necessities, never the less internet access. I ask of the majority, why?
    Does the same God you worship and love forgive those that take the lives of his people, his followers, his children? Are your deaths acceptable in the killing of others by these extremists? Is the harboring of killers allowed? Is it his will that you die also? Is it his will that any must die for the sins of a few misguided, soulless denizens? Why is hatred of another’s skin color, language or beliefs acceptable? Why is the calling for the eradication of any human being, race or nation permitted, and praised?
    I am but one citizen of this most wonderful planet, and proud to call myself an American. No other land exists this day or in the past that accepts you and your beliefs. In your land those differences are death sentences, or worse for fellow human beings, and possibly you. Why do you hate the freedom to exist peacefully, side by side helping each other to live?
    Please explain before our world is destroyed, while you have the time, before the death count rises and you still exist. Please translate for all to read, carefully, unedited as our Views not Fact Checked news and yours does, thank you.

    September 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  5. Joe800

    Boo Hoo. At least in America musims arent pulled from their homes and killed like non-muslims in every muslim country. Or non-muslim churches, synagogues destroyed by muslims. .... She should probably escape the hurtful looks at Starbucks by returning to her blessed homeland and putting a blanket over her head or risk being burnt with acid for knowing how to read..... boo hoo...

    September 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  6. sjajr

    A religion where you eat the flesh and drink the blood of your god. Your symble is a torture device. A religion based on martyrdom. The people burned at the stake for heresy. Wars in the name of Christianity had been waged for years. The fire and brimstone and judgementalism of evangelicals. Christianity just aint all about precious baby Jesus.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      It's not about ignorance either but we would still welcome you.

      September 14, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  7. Reality

    Putting the kibosh/”google” on all religions:

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    September 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  8. Iqbal Khan


    September 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  9. Iqbal Khan

    Destroying The World In War
    The 11th Anniversary of 9/11

    By Paul Craig Roberts

    You only have to know two things. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32421.htm

    September 12, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  10. Iqbal Khan

    Washington's Double-take at the Non-Aligned Movement Revival

    By Thierry Meyssan

    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly gave advice to the United states: free yourself of Israeli influence, defend your own interests and cease discrediting yourself by your support for Israeli crimes. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32426.htm

    September 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • HypocritesSuck

      @thecollegeadmissionsguru well said! Umm before we start calling Islam a (and I quote) "Evil Death Cult" let's take a look at our own faith(I'm Christian). how about the Crusades? you know those supposed "Holy" wars that corrupt monarchs waged against the middle east during the middle ages? OR maybe the spanish(CATHOLIC) conquistadors enslaving and killing off Native Americans? need a few more examples??? Salem witch trials ring a bell? Christianity is supposedly a religion of tolerance but history shows that WE have been everything but.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • truth be told

      The problem with your improbably history is that what you credit to Christians was not done by Christians but by those who used the description "Christian" for their own evil purpose. Closely examined those perpetrators of such things were atheist hiding behind the name.

      September 13, 2012 at 4:49 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      truth be told,

      Yep. Never trust anyone who says they are a Christian!

      September 13, 2012 at 4:54 am |
    • Jeff Williams

      Troll alert. Do not feed the troll.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  12. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Oh, yeah! Islam is a religion of PEACE! Thanks for the reminder, Libya!

    September 12, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Why is everyone blaming the Religion instead of the men who committed the act? There are evil acts committed by Chrisitans daily in the world, and we are not attacking them as Christians, but as men without morals.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Clarification for You

      thecollegeadmissionsguru, the difference is that evil acts committed by "christians" are not done in the name of their religion. The evil acts committed by Muslims are ALWAYS in the name of their religion.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  13. dan

    As any American visting or living in a Muslim country should fear for their lives because Islamic youths are taught that all people other than the members of their own little tribe are against them. Even the different sects within the muslim faith can not get along with each other. Muslims have killed way more muslims than non-muslims have over the centuries since Mohammad broke from the Christian faith because he was not allowed to do things he wanted to.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  14. Iqbal Khan


    September 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  15. Grafknar

    If you are a Muslim in America, you shouldn't have to have any fear. It's sad that some still feel this way, and I hope it gets better soon.

    As a devout Christian, I've been greatly impressed by how most American Muslims have rolled with the punches after 9/11 and put up with dealing with stuff they shouldn't have to deal with. Getting blamed and smeared every time some idiot in the Middle East commits a violent act? Respect is a two-way street, folks...

    I can't say I'd be able to take that with as much class as our American Muslim friends have in the last 11 years.

    Truly, the issues could have been a LOT worse, but America is a paradise for ALL of her children to enjoy without fear.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Ted Ward

      Well, frankly what are they going to do? Go back to whatever harsh, violent, corrupt, and hopeless place they came from? America is a great place because of the beliefs, values and customs of her people, so to immigrants, I'd say, look around, learn, and assimilate.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  16. Carl

    All this talk of Americans persecuting Muslims is rubbish. Look at the FBI hate crime statistics. Jews are victims of 2/3 of all religiously motivated hate crimes, six times more than Muslims. Yet Muslims number about half the Jewish population in the U.S. Do the math – this means Muslims are victimized at a per capita rate far less than Jews in the years since 9/11. What's not recorded in the FBI statistics is the religion or ethnicity of the perpetrators of hate crimes. Bet lots of Muslims fall into that category, along with the white supremicist KKK and neo-na.zis, but virtually nobody of the Jewish faith.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  17. fred

    Opinion: Americans live in fear of Muslims 11 years after 9/11

    September 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  18. Raouf Balbaa

    Moslems have unfairly suffered since 9/11 due to the actions of some criminals.
    Our religion and prophet have been the subject of many attacks by fools or those with an agenda.
    However, violence begets violence!
    We are members of the fastest growing religion in the world and not because many of us are good moslems but rather that any one delving in Islam with an open heart will quickly realize the value of that religion.
    We must respond to evil by explaining the life of our prophet and the goodness in Islam.
    We are one world. We need to respect and cherich all beliefs and live in harmony.

    September 12, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Isabella

      Who dare you write lies like that. You know what you write is not credible. Stop the BS.

      September 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Carl

      I cannot fathom how anyone would choose to join such a religion, knowing the incredible violence and hatred spewed in its name.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • I Don't Get It


      You may be a lovely, peaceful person yourself, but you have bought into a giant fantasy.

      How could a powerful, peace-loving "Allah" let this cr@p continue?

      September 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      @I don't get it – Your comment is rather offensive in that you AS-Sume that the Muslim religion is somehow not the "right" religion, but what if it is. What if Christianity is actually the wrong belief system and Islam is the correct one? Or, and I'm spitballing here, what if ALL religions are equally WRONG and their is no god, no heaven, no mythical beings in the sky.

      September 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Also @ I don't get it – you ask a question why Allah would allow certain events to continue, the same could be asked and should be asked about the Christian god. Why does the Christian god allow events such as 911 occur? Why does he/she/it allow any of the atrocities that happen every day, well happen?

      September 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • I Don't Get It

      "what if ALL religions are equally WRONG and their is no god, no heaven, no mythical beings in the sky."

      Bingo! You Get It!

      (this just happens to be a Muslim-oriented article)

      September 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  19. Toby

    Some Americans are afraid of a number of different religions affecting the fabric of American society. The only religion that I feel is the greatest ideologist threat to our great nation is Pastafarians. If you do your research, Pastafarians have more creationists as a whole than even compared to Evangelical Christians! I believe that religion should be kept out of our schools but they all disagree with that viewpoint.

    Also, this is the only religion where the author of their holy book got paid to write it! I have a hard time believing that people who wrote the Torah or the Bible received payment for their work. I understand that other famous religious personal have received massive payment but to take money so people could read the holy book takes the cake.

    Someone pointed out that they’re the only religion that hasn’t gone to war over their beliefs. If that is true, then doesn’t that mean that they’re due for a holy war???? Think about it and it will make sense. Come to think of it, don’t think about it and it will make more sense.

    September 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • sam


      September 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • HypocritesSuck

      but the question to ask is this do you have any proof to the contrary? that is any proof that they weren't paid for it? yes the bible says that the holy spirit passed the word onto the writers but it doesn't say that there wasn't someone paying them to listen (this arguement is ridiculous i know but the post it responds to is equally if not more ridiculous

      September 12, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Religion is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

      Are you saying that the Holy Spirit paid someone to write their words for them???

      September 14, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  20. Bill Deacon

    They may live in fear but the Egyptian an Libyan ambassadors are still alive today.

    September 12, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Isiah 40:22

      🙂 🙂

      September 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.