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Muslims - CAIR-FL Exec. Director - reflect on struggles, overcoming bias, in the two decades since Sept. 11, 2001

By J.D. Gallop, For Florida Today , On 09 September 2021, Read Original
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It was Sept. 11, 2001, a warm Tuesday morning.

Delacie Phillips was resting in bed at home when something on television caught his eye. Thick black columns of smoke pouring out from large ugly gashes carved into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York.

“It was horrible,” said Phillips, a truck driver who had returned to Melbourne during a break.

“In my mind, I was hoping that it didn’t involve Muslims doing anything like that because I knew what it would mean. It turned out that some radicals had hijacked our faith. And soon after, people turned their neighbors into enemies.”

Keeping the faith

“As a nation, we’ve had our bumps along the way. I was a young man when the horrific attacks of 9/11 took place, but 20 years later, we are doing better,” said Imam Abdullah Jaber, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida, a civil rights advocacy group. 

“This is also a generation that has been shadowed by the aftermath of 9/11, a Muslim generation that has seen prejudice against Muslims, a group that has been in America since the beginning of the nation,” he said.

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Jaber, who spoke at a mosque in Brevard last month, pointed to the Space Coast as an example of where the political environment nurtured by a few can sometimes feed lingering prejudices.

"You see politicians who will trivialize a few lives for a little gain. They said things that are offensive, things that in no way represent the positive growth our nation is moving toward," Jaber said, without naming the ones he sees creating the offense.

In May, CAIR-FL along with other national civil rights groups denounced State Rep. Randy Fine over controversial social media posts in which he labeled Palestinians as 'animals.' Fine later said he was referring to Islamic terrorists.

On the national front, there were concerns about President Trump's nativist policies that targeted immigrants, including Muslims from abroad. 

From tragedy grows opportunity

"We are doing better, but yes, there are people on the sidelines preaching hate, but we will not let hate prevail. People of love, the people who want to see America for what she is, will see it. The others will be left behind," Jaber said.

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Read Full Article:  https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2021/09/09/overcoming-bias-still-issue-muslims-brevard-residents-say/5748899001/ 

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