REMEMBRANCE AND RESOLVE: How Long Island Muslims Commemorate 9/11
When 19 hijackers took down the World Trade Center 10 years ago and claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people, they also launched a wave of anger directed at the Muslim community.
A decade after the attacks, Long Island Muslim leaders tell the Press those sentiments are still very much alive, but yet countered by a growing multi-religious movement of solidarity and unity that has formed in response. As the entire country comes together to commemorate that horrific day, so too does the Muslim-American community, gathering at various events to remember 9/11 victims and address the issues sparked by the attacks.
To commemorate the 10-year anniversary, the Long Island Muslim Society in East Meadow will host an event titled “Remembrance and Resolve,” sponsored by the Islamic Center of Long Island (ICLI).
“We want to remember them,” Habeeb Ahmed, the ICLI’s chairman, tells the Press, referring to the nearly 3,000 who died in the attacks. “9/11 was heartbreaking to begin with, but on top of that everybody wants to blame the whole community, which is not right, which is very un-American.”
The event, which will take place Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Muslim Society, will serve as a discussion amongst religious leaders from various faiths regarding the shared mourning and experience of Sept. 11, 2001 and its aftermath.
Dr. Faroque Khan, a member of the ICLI’s board of trustees, is well aware of the post-9/11 rhetoric and how the community has responded.
“Muslims have kind of risen to the occasion,” he explains.
Khan has become a vocal religious leader on Long Island in the wake of “Radicalization” hearings held in March by Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), the Homeland Security Committee chairman. The hearings reignited the 9/11-Muslim debate across the country and served as a rallying point for advocates of equality and tolerance. Leaders from all faiths have teamed up to preach solidarity, calling anti-Muslim rhetoric “un-American.”
“It is very important, and it’s getting stronger by the year,” says Dr. Shaik Ubaid, co-chairman of the New York Chapter of Muslim Peace Coalition Committee, about the deepening relationship.
Although the anger directed at Muslims has been loud and persistent by some, Ubaid insists he’s proud how the country has responded overall.
“[My] faith in American democracy got stronger,” he says.