Stateside: What 9/11 changed for Michigan’s Muslim and Arab communities
Everybody lost something on September 11, 2001, and some lost more than others.
Thousands of lives were stolen — and families changed — in the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. But here, hundreds of miles away in Michigan, there were other communities that would be deeply impacted by the fallout from the attacks: Arab and Muslim Americans whose fundamental truths about their lives and citizenship were suddenly questioned. For many, the questions never stopped.
Today on Stateside, we spend time with a few Arab and Muslim Michiganders to talk about how their lives were forever changed by the attacks and the political shifts that followed.
Listen to the full show above or find individual interviews below.
- Zahra Huber is a podcaster and former audio journalist.
Of course, you know, I was afraid. I didn’t travel at certain times, I tried not to travel by myself. I’d heard some of my friends got their hijabs ripped off their head, so I was just very aware of what my surroundings were at all times.
- Ali Harb is a journalist living Washington D.C.
It was interesting in that Dearborn became this very scary place in right wing circles, but it couldn't be further from reality, because the city itself is just a beautiful, multicultural place.
- Tariq Luthun is a poet, communuity organizer, and data engineer from Dearborn.
I very vividly remember my mother telling me, ‘Remember, everything you do, they're going to look at it one way or another.’ Like, people are going to see what you do. And you are representative of Muslims, you're representative of Palestinians, of Arabs, etc.
- Saeed Khan is a senior lecturer in the department of Near East & Asian Studies and Global Studies at Wayne State University-Detroit. He is also the director of Global Studies.
So there was the specter of suspicion on the Muslim American community, and one that I think unfortunately had already been internalized by so many Muslim Americans. So when 9/11 happened, there was this sinking feeling saying, please, God, let it not be Muslim. And unfortunately, of course, before long, when al-Qaida declared responsibility for it, those worst fears were then realized.