WUFT News

Candlelight Vigil Brings Awareness to Discrimination After 9/11

By on September 12th, 2014

Thirteen years after the Sept. 11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City, several American communities are still feeling the backlash.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaida launched a series of attacks on the United States that killed 2,996 people and affected countless others. Following the attacks, members of the South Asian-American, Muslim-American, Sikh-American and Arab-American communities faced discriminatory backlash based on perceptions of similarity to the group of individuals responsible for the attacks.

Several student organizations, including the Asian American Student Union, Arab Students Association, Islam on Campus and Sikh Students Association, came together for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the attacks, the lives that were lost and the consequences for those who survived.

Community members take part in a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Sept. 11.

Whitney Lavaux / WUFT

Community members take part in a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Sept. 11.

These student groups wanted to show their side of the story.

Sohaib Ahmad, president of Islam on Campus, remembers the jokes he endured from other students in third grade. Following Sept. 11, they called Ahmad “Osama’s son.” He said he began making fun of himself before anyone else could have the chance.

“I was ashamed of being Muslim,” Ahmad said.

Sameer Saboungi, president of the Arab Students Association, also has memories of feeling self-conscious and afraid.

“They told us not to speak Arabic, not to attract attention or draw attention to us,” Saboungi said of his parents and grandparents.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, anti-Islamic hate crimes increased by over 400 percent, from 28 instances in 2000 to 149 instances in 2012. Muslim and Arab are often confused and wrongly interchanged descriptions. Islam is a religion; Muslims follow the Islamic religion. Arabs are those from an Arabic-speaking country, most of which are in northern Africa and western Asia. Some Muslims are Arab; some Arabs are Muslim. Some are just one or the other.

Ahmad said he still gets looks of distrust that make him feel like an outsider.

“I go through hurt. I go through anger. I go through love and acceptance,” he said. “I am human too, just like they are.”


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Gainesville Job Fair Attracts Hundreds Of Hopefuls

Hundreds of job seekers made their their way around the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Multipurpose Center Tuesday morning for the annual Gainesville job fair. Gainesville’s unemployment rate increased from 4.3 percent in April to 5 percent in July, so the job fair was just what many people needed.


Preserving History Through Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ Recipe

The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park exists as a way to remember Florida history… But the workers there are doing something extra to “preserve” memories. WUFT’s Marie Edinger reports.


CMT’s “Gainesville” docu-series will premiere Aug. 20 at 10 p.m. This “coming of age” show will focus on a group of 20-something year old’s as they try to make it on their own. Photo courtesy of CMT

Gainesville Reality Show Set To Air Aug. 20

Country Music Television’s new docu-series “Gainesville” is set to air back-to-back episodes on Aug. 20 at 10 p.m. Some residents are worried that the show will not accurately portray Gainesville.


Midwife Talks About Life Experiences

Former midwife, Glenn Cameron, gives a glimpse into her years as a midwife in the 70s and the challenges the practice presented.


FDOT Cuts Funding For Active Streets

The FDOT cut funding for Gainesville’s Active Streets event, which offers free pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly activities twice per year. The organization and its supporters are trying to overturn the decision and look for new ways to fund the event.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments