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

Pearl, Squidward, Sandy, Spongebob and Gary (clockwise from top right) are lucky to have a foster home for Thanksgiving. Many foster pets, however, will return to Alachua County Animal Services because their foster is traveling for the holiday, even though the shelter is well over capacity.

Alachua County Animal Services Over Capacity For Thanksgiving

Alachua County Animal Services is urging people to foster animals over the Thanksgiving holiday. Already more than two dozen animals over capacity, ACAS will need to begin euthanasia if foster owners are not found.


Tobe Terrell poses with the clay sculpture Nadya Levi modeled after him in the Zen Hostel’s courtyard. Levi has been sculpting since 1949. (Photo by Lauren Adhav)

Zen Hostel Offers Tranquility To Travelers And Residents

Gainesville’s Zen Hostel offers spiritual and physical refuge for travelers and residents during its busiest months.


Gainesville Mayor Responds To Grand Jury Decision On Ferguson

Gainesville’s Mayor Ed Brady issued a statement yesterday addressing the situation in Ferguson, Missouri.


Cars travel through the two-lane trial section of NW 8th Avenue just east of NW 34th Street in Gainesville on November 21st. The blacked-out lines from the previous setup are still visible.

Community Members Urge City to Keep NW 8th Ave. Two Lanes

University Park Neighborhood residents and other community members are urging the Gainesville City Commission to keep 8th Avenue as a two-lane road for safety reasons.


The Alachua County Energy Management team is upgrading lights in county-owned building parking lots to light-emitting diode (LED). County officials estimate the new update to save the county a total of $10,000 annually on electricity bill.

Alachua Updates Parking Lots With LED Technology

The Alachua County Energy Management team will be upgrading lights in all county-owned building parking lots to light-emitting diode (LED). The county estimates the new update will save the county a total of $10,000 annually on electricity bills.


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
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments