FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The FBI reports that discrimination complaints against Muslims have skyrocketed since September 9, 2001.
Indiana's NewsCenter sat down with three local Islamic leaders for an intimate discussion on Anti-Muslim Discrimination.
Indiana's NewsCenter's John W. Davis: Let me start with this fact I found. It says the FBI found that discrimination complaints against Muslims went up 1600% after 9/11. (from 28 in 2000 to 481 in 2001)
"I did have somebody follow me. They way I know that is because when I left the mosque, I did a little cat and mouse thing to see what's going on... It was a scary feeling, having done nothing and then having somebody who's is watching," said Uzma Mirza, President & Founder of The Pen and Inkpot Foundation.
Mirza is a local architect.
Indiana's NewsCenter: Zubair, have you found that you've personally been discriminated against after 9/11?
"Me personally, no. I have not. I grew up in Chicago," replied Dr. Zubair Khan, the President of the Fort Wayne Chapter of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana.
Khan explained that he was born in the U.S. and feels more of a connection with the United States of America than his parents homeland in India.
Khan is a local eye doctor.
Indiana's NewsCenter: Imam Rasheed, do you feel like your experiences as a Muslim, specifically related to discrimination, have been different because of the color of your skin?
"There is nothing unusual or unnatural about me as an African-American," Imam J Tamir Rasheed answered.
(The word Imam means worship leader in Arabic.)
Imam Rasheed is the President of the Fort Wayne Islamic Center.
"So it is accepted," continued Rasheed.
Rasheed is a retired businessman.
"You just hear all of these stories but I've never experienced it," Khan chimed in.
Indiana's NewsCenter: But what if it did happen to you?
"In the beginning when I would go to the airport, people would be like, be prepared. You know if you're gonna be stopped be prepared to be questioned. So If I was going to be questioned, I really had nothing to hide," explained Khan.
"But the fact of the matter is that there were mosques that were burnt to the ground. There were Muslims who were attacked viciously. There was burning of the Koran, our holy book," added Rasheed.
"I think what happened in 9/11 is that it woke the Muslims up... We need to show the proper Islam. Not the .00001% of these fanatics who don't represent Islam. But say they are Islam," Khan concluded.
"There is a difference between Muslim and Islam. Timothy McVeigh is not Christianity but why isn't he considered a Christian terrorist. But why if a Muslim does it, it's called an Islamic terrorist. Why don't you just call him a terrorist," Mirza pointed out..
Indiana's NewsCenter: With the re-imaging of 9/11, being the 10th anniversary on Sunday... Are you fearful that those images may evoke those feelings of hate?
"We are consciously aware of this but again God has power over all things," stated Rasheed.
Indiana's NewsCenter: Zubair, Uzma, Imam... I just want to thank everybody for you time. The full interview will be available on our website, incnow.tv. So if people are interested in what we're talking about, they can get the full story on our website. Thank you.
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