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Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|US Persecutes Muslim Reverts|
|04/30/05 at 08:23:56|
[center][size=4]Suspicious US Persecutes Muslim Reverts: Report[/size][/center]
Muslim revert, Khalid Hakim, born Charles Karolik in Milwaukee. (Pic courtesy of NY Times)
CAIRO, April 30, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – It’s not just US Muslim hailing from other origins that are taking the brunt of the now-suspicious society, but even those who were born and lived as full Americans then chose to revert to Islam are also feeling the unjust heat of persecution, for no reason other being “Muslim”, according to a report by a major US daily.
“…Muslim immigrants are not alone in experiencing the change. It is now touching the lives of some American converts [reverts]: men and women raised in this country, whose only tie to the Middle East or Southeast Asia is one of faith,” The New York Times said, after monitoring what it termed “a newly-suspicious America following the 9/11/2001 attacks.
The daily cited a number of cases where the change in attitude following the deadly attacks could not be attributed to any factor other than that of faith.
“Khalid Hakim, born Charles Karolik in Milwaukee, could not renew the document required to work as a merchant mariner because he refused to remove his kufi, a round knitted cap, for an identity photograph last year. Yet for nearly three decades Mr. Hakim’s cap had posed no problem with the same New York City office of the Coast Guard.”
It also cited the case of Dierdre Small and Stephanie Lewis, from Brooklyn, reporting how they both drove New York City Transit buses for years wearing their hijab, or head scarves, with no protest from supervisors.
“After 9/11 the women were ordered to remove the religious garments. They refused, and were transferred, along with two other Muslim converts, out of the public eye - to jobs vacuuming, cleaning and parking buses, said the women, who are suing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City Transit.”
“I'm a U.S. citizen and I'm supposed to be protected,” Ms. Lewis, 55, told The NY Times with tears in her eyes. “On 9/11 I was scheduled to take policemen to that site. I felt compassion like everyone else. And now you’re singling me out because I’m a Muslim?”
New York City Transit officials told the paper they would not comment because the case is in litigation.
Regardless of how their cases play out legally, Mr. Hakim, Ms. Lewis and other reverts have come to view America after 9/11 through a singular lens. An estimated 25 percent of American Muslims are reverts. Some came of age as Americans first and discovered Islam as adults. In the years since 9/11, many have faced a contest of loyalties they never imagined: between their nation and their faith, according to the daily.
On the third anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Amnesty International said in a report that Racial profiling by US law enforcement agencies has grown over the past three years to cover one in nine Americans, mostly targeting Muslims.
The NY Times further said in its report, published Friday, April 29, that US Muslim reverts have watched events up close and from afar – “the raids of mosques, the deportation of Muslim immigrants, the incendiary language from abroad and the threats made against their American homeland -- with a special, if complicated brand of anger and loyalty, affection and worry”.
The daily also touched upon another case where Ms. Small straddled two worlds came naturally as she grew up in East Flatbush with a Christian mother and a Muslim father.
“It was the daily expression of Islam and its emphasis on the “oneness of God” that won her heart to the religion, said Ms. Small: the five daily prayers, the way sentences are capped with words like Inshallah, which means “God willing.””
At 12 she became one of the few girls in her neighborhood to wear a hijab.
“I always wanted to drive a bus because it's big, it's huge,” Small, 36, told the paper as she picked through a fried shrimp sandwich on a recent lunch break. “My own personal conquest, I guess.”
According to the daily, Small joined the transit authority in 1998, at 30, after her fourth child was born. She was assigned the B44 route, a loop of two and a half hours from Williamsburg to Sheepshead Bay and back.
“What really got me the most was when you're sitting in that seat, how far you can see - how many blocks,” she said. “It was like a sea of vehicles.”
“From the beginning, Ms. Small wore a navy blue hijab to match her uniform. No one objected, she said, until after 9/11. The first trouble came with a more recent hire, Malikah Alkebulan, who said she was asked to wear a transit authority cap over her scarf after starting work in March 2002.”
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