You Should Know What Life After 9/11 Is Like For Muslim Americans

Important tales of prejudice and terror.

September 11th of this year will mark the 14-year anniversary since one of the largest attacks ever on American soil. 

According to official reports, the attacks were carried out by 19 members of the Muslim terrorist group Al-Qaeda, led by the late Osama Bin Laden. In the aftermath, many Americans became hostile towards innocent Muslim-Americans despite the fact they were in mourning too. 

In the wake of 9/11, United States' presence in the Middle East grew quickly and conflict continues today. Islamaphobia has also increased. In 2015, more than half of Americans said they view Muslims unfavorably.  

Despite the time that has passed, 9/11 still lives in the forefront of many Americans' minds. Our war on terrorism rages on, and the innocent Muslims who were left in the now hostile environment towards Islam had to deal with the backlash. In a recent Reddit thread, that backlash was explored when the user El-Aaiun asked: Muslims of Reddit, how much did your life change after 9/11?

Below, we've aggregated some of their answers. 

"My friends treated my family and I differently."

"We stopped getting invited to events like birthday parties and such. This was a big deal because in my old neighborhood when you had a birthday the entire neighborhood was invited to celebrate with you. We were all friends. When my brothers and I walked up to a friend's party we were straight up told to leave. My parents chewed them out on their blatant religious hate after that.

Also some teenagers from my eldest brother's school egged our house and spray painted terrorists on our walkway. The dumbasses were caught in a week because our neighbor was a cop. Thank god he was the only neighbor to remain our friend because we felt so alone and scared after that." — ragelover97

"My uncle lost his job as a jet pilot."

"My white neighborhood friends stopped talking to me, and their parents were scared of my mom for wearing the hijab. My other neighbors who were Asian/African American were pretty straight forward in asking about our religion and how they felt bad for us during this period of time. Mind you I live in Southern California, where it's really diverse and people are accepting. It was pretty rough for the first couple of weeks, and I was too young to realize why my friends didn't want me at their house, or why my friends dad didn't let me near his son. Things eventually simmered down, but up until then it was annoying." — HeyImDoc

iStock / Manuel Faba Ortega
iStock / Manuel Faba Ortega

"I was in 4th grade when the event of 9/11 occurred."

"I was the only Muslim in the elementary school and I lived in Texas. Before 9/11 the entire school including the teachers were curious about my religion.

Every year they had my mom come to my class and teach the kids about our culture and our religion so the kids could understand the diversity of the world. They asked her why she wore the hijab and why we fasted and my mother even with her thick accent explained it beautifully to the point that the principal wrote her a letter thanking her for talking about our religion to the classroom. After 9/11 that stopped.

We didn't get much discrimination in public thankfully but when I entered middle and high school my nickname became terrorist. That's all people knew me by. I brushed it off as they're just joking. But it was annoying and quite hurtful. I was a pale kid with no beard who enjoyed playing football and hanging out with friends but the rest of the school knew me by "that terrorist kid" or "that Muslim kid". I'm pretty sure they didn't even know my name.

But because of a handful of fundamental jackasses, me and other innocent Muslims around my age at the time experienced the same thing." — Abby9237

"My family lived in Staten Island, New York when 9/11 happened..."

People would spit at my mom when she'd walk down the street and one time the electricity went out in our apartment building and the police came. All of the neighbors were talking to them and pointing at our apartment. I was younger when it happened so I only know what my parents told me. — QwertyNovelty

"As a Muslim I didn't have any problems growing up until 1979, after the Iranian hostage crisis."

At that point, we became a hated group. After 9/11, I didn't really have a problem with anyone, but my wife, who wears a scarf, was berated daily. Until this day, if we go for a walk to ether, we'll have someone yell obscenities at us from their car. None of our neighbors interact with us, none. I would say that's better then them treating us poorly. I'd rather be left alone then to be made to feel like I don't belong here. Also, my family emigrated to the USA in 1896, linger than most of our neighbors. It's funny when people tell me that I speak very good English. — mosesthelawgiver

iStock / SorinVidis
iStock / SorinVidis

"My name was Osama."

"Had to change it cause people would no longer treat me the same way. I was 6 at the time... Well, being only 6, it felt pretty cool cause I was too young to understand the gravity of the situation. Were I in my 20's it would've been way worse cause by then everybody is so used to your name, and that's what you would have used on all your life's documents and certificates. But I'm glad my parents were very, very quick to react." — azdarksonal

"Thankfully not too drastically."

"I just remember being occasionally taunted as a child/teenager and called a terrorist. That and other similar ignorant comments. Never been attacked, verbally insulted, or targeted otherwise." — B0dhisattva

"Muslim girl here."

"The most immediate change was my dad losing his job (American Airlines) and being unable to find another for several years, despite being highly qualified. Random strangers have accused me of being a terrorist, I've been flipped off, honked at, & screamed at by passing drivers, I've been treated like a criminal, have been yelled at by street preachers, countless Christians have tried to convert me, and I've been hit on by creepy men who fetishize Muslims. Many of my friends & relatives have experienced far worse, so I'm always cautious when I go out in public, especially if a terrorist attack has been in the news recently. Despite everything, I'm confident, devout, and generally pretty content. Sometimes, I'm even a bit grateful for the prejudice I've experienced- it's left me with a strong sense of empathy and an open heart." — telescopes