“What they did is definitely not Islamic. What they did is disturbing, certainly not from Islam.”
Gary: These teens say that what it means to be muslim in America changed on September 11, 2001.
“I didn’t even know who al-Qaeda was until after 9/11. All of a sudden Muslims were put on the scene and it was a microscope all over them.”
“All of a sudden we had to sit there and explain.”
“I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was just as shocked, seeing the planes fly through. But then weeks later, it would be me having to explain this isn’t us, this isn’t what we do. Nowhere in the Koran or Hadif does Islam permit killing innocent people. You can’t say that all Muslims are bad because of one person.”
Gary: But it is that tiny minority of Muslim extremists that continue to make headlines.
“Since the towers fell behind me on September 11th, there have been dozens of reported plots to attack the U.S. by Islamic terrorists living here in America, including the Fort Hood massacre in November of 2009, and the attempted Times Square bombing in May of 2010.”
“The committee is meeting today to discuss testimony on extent of radicalization in the Muslim-American community.”
Gary: Last year, Congressman Peter King held hearings in Washington. He says Muslim leaders in America are not doing enough to prevent extremism. It is also why the New York Police Department reportedly watched muslim groups, like college student associations.
“We did talk about the NYPD spying, and at first we were laughing about it. Maybe they’re watching us right now in the prayer room. Some of my friends were outraged. But generally, we all do feel a bit uncomfortable.”
Gary: Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, a CBS News/New York Times poll found a quarter of Americans say they have negative opinions of Muslims.
“I do think that Muslims are discriminated here in America…sometimes it happens to me. Sometimes I could be shopping in the store, or just getting some candy from the corner store and I could just look up at the cashier and she can look at me in a certain way, and it just kinda hurts sometimes.”
Gary: For Kyle, tension toward Islam isn’t far away.
Kyle: The only thing I’ve ever received is maybe some comments from some close family members. And it seems like the certain family members that do do that are going on YouTube and typing in “hate Islam.” Seems like they’re going on their own and just looking for stuff where they can find negative things.”
Gary: And because no one wants a repeat of 9/11, traveling isn’t as it used to be for everyone.
“Yeah, the whole having-to-be-checked at the airport a couple of times is definitely not comfortable, especially if you’re Muslim. I often joke if you think driving while black is tough, try Muslim while flying because it’s really, really tough.”
Gary: Backlash against Muslim-Americans is growing. Protests have stopped the building of some new mosques. And a Florida preacher made headlines by burning the Muslim holy book.
“I was very — to be honest — I was very disgusted. I was very upset. I was very frustrated. And I was just thinking, ‘how could a human being do such a thing?’”
“The misconceptions and misunderstandings they have bother me more than the act of burning it itself.”
Gary: These young people say they represent the majority of Muslims here in America, not the extremists.
“If I could tell all Americans one word is Islam, is from the root word salaam, which means peace.”
“Islam is a religion of peace. Essentially, it’s embedded in the name.”
“I think that if you leave one thing that I’ve said, realize that we’re really not so much different from you.”
“Us Muslims are like anyone else; we have our prayers, we have our religion. We’re still the same. Before you judge me, I would actually love for you to get to know me. And know my faith and religion.”
Gary: Gary Hamilton, Channel One News.