When the two towers fell and America, for one moment collectively stood still in silent, rapt horror, Muslims across the West were forced to look long and hard at themselves in a mirror forged by the fires of those passenger jets.
Alaa Koleilat, a 3rd year Neuroscience major at UCLA, was living in North Dakota when the attacks happened. She shares her experience as one of the few Muslims that live in this state.
I was twelve the year the disaster occurred. Until then, I had lived in a happy-go-lucky little bubble, safely cushioned from the events of the world until September 11, 2001 brought the events of the world to my doorstep.
Al-Talib speaks with Sabrina Syed, a 2nd year student at UCLA majoring in Biology, on her experience traveling back from Pakistan to the U.S. the day of the September 11 attacks. Syed was 8 years old at that time and was traveling with her sister and mother.
September 2001. For me, it marked turning ten, my family’s move from New York to California and my first time attending a public school after spending my childhood in a private Islamic school. It also happened to be the month where the actions of a few extremist individuals changed the lives of Muslim Americans forever.
“Come on…get up…get up….HURRRYYY!” my dad was yelling at all of us, probably because we had all slept in again. I still wasn’t back on track with my schedule, getting over the jetlag from our summer travels, and really wasn’t looking forward to lugging my tired body over to school that day.
The taxi driver looked at me in a panicked state and exclaimed, “Quran! Quran!” Frantically attempting to communicate with me in Arabic, he hoped that we would at least understand each other through a commonality of faith. I nodded in agreement and felt a sense of relief.
Somehow the stars seemed to be aligned just right, because my fortune could not have been better. I embarked on my dream to live in Muslim countries during the month of Ramadan this year.
Try to recall the last time you achieved something big, commendable, note-worthy. Straight A’s? A promotion? Election into a high position? Admission into a competitive university? Most of us have experienced the sweetness of success. Some of us view it as a blessing. Fewer of us recognize the Source of it and remember to thank…