I was born and raised a Muslim in America, and nine years old when New York lost its Twin Towers. The next week, I started finding out that the men responsible for hijacking the four airplanes that marked that terrible day did it in the name of my religion. What happened that day changed the course of the entire country; for me, that change came in the form of prejudice, fear, and hate. For a while, many people close to me dealt with threats, harassment, and misunderstandings because people were scared. It was extraordinary how different things had become in such a short time.
But the way things have changed up to now is even more remarkable. Today, even in Texas, that fear is dying. The people that live here build together, work together, and learn about each other in ways that are unprecedented. Granted, I can’t speak for other areas out there, but I’ve never seen Muslims so accepted into a community as I do today, and every now and then I find myself thankful for that. It’s a reminder of the endurance we’re all capable of; it’s a reminder of the fact that even when the loss we might face is overwhelming, our will to rebuild is what remains resilient. The 9/11 Memorial Museum and One World Trade Center that stand in New York today are living examples of that strength.