AFTERMATH OF THE TERRORIST ATTACK ON THE WTC AND PENTAGON:
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS TOWARDS MUSLIMS IN NORTH AMERICA
We have copied these touching stories of kindness from ISLAM-INFONET which is
run by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). They cover the
time period from the date of the tragedy, 2001-SEP-11 to OCT-3.
The word "hijab" below refers to a scarf that many Muslim women wear
to cover their hair.
I work for a telecommunications company. A co-worker of mine who sits
across from my cube was away on vacation when the September 11 attacks
occurred. While vacationing in Indiana, he received a call from his mother
that his father had died, perhaps as a result of a massive heart attack. My
co-worker could not fly home to North Carolina because the planes were
grounded. He was eventually able to make it back. After spending a few days
with his mother he came to the office and raced towards me. "Are you doing
OK man? I have been thinking about you. Let me know if you need help."
Not very close to him, I was pleasantly surprised by his concern. Next day
he came back to me again and offered a place to live for me and my family.
I was overwhelmed to find out a little later that his mother, who was still
mourning the loss of her husband, had asked him to make this offer to me.
I work at a retail store (in Canada) which sells cosmetics and facial
products. About two days after the terrorist attacks in New York woman
came in and I started to talk to her about face moisturizers. When I was
done she turned and asked, "Are you Moslem?" (Due to the fact that I wear
hijab). I nodded trying to brace myself for a hurtful comment, but she
surprised me by saying, "Sweetie, I just want to apologize for everything
that has been going on lately. I know it is not your fault, but some people
are just ignorant." Her kindness brought tears to my eyes, so I bowed my
head, partly due to embarrassment; however, when I looked up, I realized
she was crying with me.
am the principal of our newly opened full-time Islamic school...This is
the first year of school and I have been very nervous about what has recently
Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised when the principal of the public
elementary school right behind us came to introduce herself. She said, "I
just wanted to introduce myself and welcome you to our neighborhood. I am
happy to assist you in whatever you need--please feel free to contact me
anytime. I hope the recent events that have taken place don't make you
uncomfortable in anyway."
I was deeply moved and sent her a letter today. In it I said, "It is people
like you that makes us all proud to be American. American in citizenship,
and more importantly, American in spirit."
I live in Oakdale MN. A week after the Sept. 11 hijacking, a neighbor of
mine came to me with flowers cut from her garden and fresh baked cookies.
She gave me a card with signatures from neighbors (lots from the next
culdesac down - whom I don't even know) and told me how everyone was
worried about me. They know that I am Muslim because I wear a hijab.
In the card, people reassured me that they don't associate me with the
terrorists and offered their help if needed. The best part was when tears
started rolling down her cheeks. Even though we hear about the increase in
discrimination since Sept 11th, there are a lot more people out there with
open minds and kindness in their hearts.
I came in to work the other day to find a piece of candy with one of my
American colleague's business card on my desk. First I thought he had
obtained a new card and he's giving it to me, I did not have time to take a
close look or think about it because I had to run to a meeting where he is
supposed to be also. When I saw him and said thank you for the candy, I was
thrilled by his response:
"I hope it wont come to this, but just in case you don't feel comfortable
by what is going on these days, I left you my home address and phone number
on the back of my business card. Feel free to give me a call or come in any
time, I have enough space in my house for you and your family."
I am a resident doctor who wears hijab. After the attacks on the world
trade center I along with many other Muslims felt a bit nervous about the
anti-Muslim backlash...One of my first days back to work I happened to go
into see a child accompanied by her mother and rather large stepfather.
Quickly launching into my introductions and questions, I was thinking I
could get through it without issue. Until the stepfather interrupted me
with a, "Hey. You're one of THOSE." There was a long painful pause as I
struggled to keep a neutral expression and voice and mustered up a
calculated, "Huh?" He looked at me and in a booming voice went on, "Yeah,
you're one of those people. Them folks that people are making trouble for,
you guys and those Indians. It ain't got nothing to do with y'all, it ain't
right. They're messing with you guys for no reason at all."
It was, actually, the first of several such encounters over the ensuing
days. It has been so touching to connect with people that, whatever their
situation in life, show their empathy and concern in whatever ways they know...
I was away on vacation when this incident occurred on Sept 11. My neighbor
brought us flowers with a card and left it on the doorstep. I have not met this
person in all my 16 years of living in this neighborhood. Her wordings were: "To
our neighbors, in this time, we want you to know that we are here for you, and
it is our sincere prayer that you are not subjected to any unpleasantness. With
our best wishes, your neighbors."
Couple of days ago my wife went to a store in town. Obviously she is very
cautious when she goes out now a days. While she was at the parking lot,
suddenly a minivan pulled right beside her and a lady came out. She came
directly to my wife and introduced herself and said right away, "On behalf of
the American people I want to say that I am so sorry for some of our countrymen
who are wrongfully accusing people like you. I know you all are sharing the
grief with us but it is not fair the way some of us treating you and your
people." With this, tear came to the lady's eyes and she drove away.
The second event happened to me just few days after this. One morning I came
to my office and I found our university President waiting in front of my office
to see me. I was so shocked to see him that it took me few seconds to put myself
together. He was the last person I ever expected to see in my office. He is a
new President of our university and I never met him before. He told me that he
wanted to come personally to my office to show his support to me and my family
and the Muslim community of the university.
I was afraid to go to the mosque today. For the first time since I became a
Muslim a year ago, I was afraid to wear my head covering. I prayed last night
that God would take the fear out of my heart. I went to the [mosque] despite my
I was so surprised when I got there, to see the entire front of my mosque
arranged with bouquets of flowers, flags, cards. The neighbors and other
friendly residents standing out front greeting everyone as we arrived with words
of encouragement and kindness.
It brought tears to my eyes, and made me ashamed of my fear, for I had
assumed that everyone was afraid or hated us (Muslims) because of the WTC
tragedy. These people truly cared about us, they wanted to know us (Muslims),
they wanted to show us that they are out there for us. This community of
Seattle, showed it's true colors today, and it was a good thing.
In the face of such devastating tragedy for us all, there is a light of hope
for our future together. The good people of Seattle, that took the time to show
their friendship today brightened that light so much more. May Allah show us all
many more blessings.
Thank you people of Seattle.
This past Saturday, I was visiting a close friend's grandparent in Bloomery,
West Virginia. It was a short, peaceful, visit. I was the only Muslim with the
hijab among my group of close friends.
On our way home, we stopped by a Country Buffet Restaurant for dinner. I was
alert, cautious, and aware of my surroundings...we pre-paid for our food and
headed to the buffet. Ten minutes after we settled into our seats, the waitress
leaned by our table with what appeared to be our money and receipt. We assumed
they were going to kick us out.
Although, what occurred in the next few moments was what I believed to be the
blessings and mercy of Allah. She told us on behalf of the restaurant, they
wanted to pay for our entire meal and give us a total refund. They were very
sympathetic of the innocent lives. The waitress by her own personal expressions,
was also sympathetic to the Muslim Community and did not want to see any more
innocent lives lost due to war. What struck me the most, that brought tears to
my eyes, were her tears. She told me she was proud that I had the courage and
strength to come out and wear the appropriate veil.
This experience gave me a sense of encouragement in the midst of crisis and
confusion. There are many who are compassionate and understanding.
Copyright © 2001 resides with the original authors
Originally written: 2001-OCT-3
Latest update: 2001-OCT-3
Editor: B.A. Robinson