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Terrorism and the Meaning of Being an American

I grew up in California, and lately it feels like a very distant land from that of which I remember. Last week, San Bernardino took a huge hit that shook its community. Once again gun violence took the lives of people in the United States. Hours after the press released a name for the shooter that was Muslim, all organizations that defend, protect and represent American Muslims came together — a routine that is always done when there is said to be a attack by extreme Muslims. Organizations that serve the Muslim Americans in this country communicated all through social media about the great loss the country went through in San Bernardino. They also made points on how these horrendous acts are inhumane and non-Muslim.

A photo from the San Bernardino shooting that took place Dec. 2, 2015 injuring 21 and leaving 14 people dead

Muslims around the country have stated that since the San Bernardino incident, the amount of death threats, vandalism and assaults has increased in the Muslim community. Muslims have claimed that there has not been such a high amount of threats, even after the events of Sept. 11. However, these threats had been escalating with the Paris attacks and the San Bernardino shooting seemed to merely be the tip of the iceberg.

This moment in time is one of fear in which The United States has come to the realization that terrorism is a threat that is real among this country’s borderlines. However, in the same way it is a time of realization of the gravity of terrorism it is also a time to realize the danger of stereotypes and labeling American-Muslims. In this moment American-Muslims are living in great fear, feeling very vulnerable and defensive in a country that houses them but also doubts them.

The hate against Muslim Americans has increased with the most recent terrorist shooting in Paris and the San Bernardino shooting

In a New York Times article, a Muslim American woman by the name of Ms. Maqbool claimed that she had considered to remove her hijab from her daily clothing in fear of how she would be perceived by others. She also stated, “I got so nervous that something could happen to my unhinged individual who saw me as someone who deserved violence.”

It is a time to question certain things that are happening in the United States; however, as Americans we should also rethink and question how we are treating our fellow Americans. What does it mean to carry the label of being an American? Are we also following the American path? Are we treating our fellow American-Muslims like the Americans that they are? Even if they wear their clothes in a different manner from ourselves they are still our brothers and sisters. The United States is hurting, which means we are all hurting as the Americans we are.

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Information also provided by The New York Times: 


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