“Some of what we [the Muslim community] have endured since 9/11 is unthinkable. We’ve been under siege for the past 8 years.” Non-Muslims might be forgiven for feeling as if they’ve been under siege since 9/11 also — see, for example, this list. Will Barack Obama change that?
“For us, the siege is ending: U.S. Muslims hope for greater tolerance and an end to the stigma of 9/11,” from Metro International, January 17 (thanks to Hugh):
The promise of liberty and justice for all in America has gone unfulfilled for some Muslims in the post-9/11 world. Since 2001, words like “terrorist” and “jihad” have stigmatized the Muslim community, triggering a sharp decline in relations between the West and the Middle East. For American Muslims, being cast as outsiders on the inside has taken its toll.
“Some of what we [the Muslim community] have endured since 9/11 is unthinkable,” said Ali Khan, the national director of the American Muslim Council. “We’ve been under siege for the past 8 years.”
But now that the country is preparing to transition to a Barack Obama presidency, there’s hope and excitement that tensions will begin to ease.
“Of course we’re excited [about Obama],” Khan said. “It’s a new beginning for us all.”
The change, however, may take some time, says Safiya Ghori-Ahmad, director of government relations for the Muslim Public Affairs Council in D.C. “I think minorities in general have a sense of pride,” she said, “but we’re not expecting change overnight.”
She’s quick to point out Obama doesn’t necessarily have strong ties to the Muslim world just because of his name and Muslim-raised father. “You know,” she said, “he’s not a Muslim.”
How could we forget? The election season was spent convincing people of Obama’s Christian upbringing despite his middle name, Hussein. Still, there is hope that he might have a unique perspective on the subject that might translate to enlightened social policy.
“Obama has an understanding of the Muslim world,” Ghori-Ahmad said.