Last week there were two events at the University of Colorado discussing “Islamophobia” in America.
One event was a discussion mediated by the Center for Multicultural Affairs. There, one student told her account of what is was like being Muslim after 9/11. The student stated that even though she is a naturalized citizen, after 9/11, her parents still feared for her safety, she still lost long-time friends and, in summary, remarked, “It was after 9/11 that I realized I was Muslim in America.”
The event continued with discussion by attendees, which included current CU students and staff from different departments across the campus.
One of the attendees, a native of Latin America, shared her experience of being ridiculed in classrooms when she came to this country solely because she was different. She had an accent and was unable to fully express what was on her mind in English.
This led her to becoming less involved in her classes, and she began sitting at the back of the class and not speaking to avoid being laughed at and to avoid drawing attention.
In addition to this discussion hosted by the Center for Multicultural Affairs, the Center for Asian Studies also sponsored an event entitled “On Mosques and Koran Burning: Islam as Media Spectacle.”
The center invited Dr. Nabil Echchaibi, associate director of CU’s Center for Media, Religion and Culture, to offer his analysis on the issue.
More Muslims across the U.S. share these sentiments of wanting to withdraw from public life to avoid scrutiny, criticism and — as evidenced by a cab driver in New York City who was stabbed by a passenger after he told the passenger he was Muslim — to avoid physical abuse.
Rasheed Lawal is the president of CU’s Muslim Student Association. The Student Outreach and Retention Center for Equity’s SORCE Spot column runs every other Tuesday in the Colorado Daily.