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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Middle Eastern students brave the times, live their lives

WBy Aaron Beckwith
The Eagle
American University

wASHINGTON (U-WIRE) – The events of Sept. 11 plunged the nation into a cloud of fear, anger and suspicion. Bearing the brunt of this animosity were many Islamic and Muslim communities across the United States, although many in the Washington Metro area said the city was a safe-haven from Sept.11 backlash because of its cosmopolitan roots.

“I personally have never been actually confronted by anyone saying bad things to me,” said Lamese Hasan, a senior at American University. “Its mostly just stares and the shifty looks people give me,” she said.

Many Arabs, Islamists and people of the Muslim faith have had difficulty striking the balance between openly practicing their faith and reminding the public of their condemnation of the attacks.

“We want to distance ourselves from that stigma, but not at the expense of our faith,” Hasan said.

“My mother and sister were in a car on the highway and some man just stopped on the freeway in front of them and was screaming absurdities and making obscene gestures, that’s the most it’s really hit home for me,” said Dhamma Jama, a records coordinator on campus, and advocate and volunteer for the two Muslim organizations on campus.

In the week immediately following the attacks, incidents of violence and intimidation cropped up all over the nation and the world. Mosques were defaced, Arabs were sent hate mail and assault occurrences ran into the dozens, according to Department of Justice Statistics.

One convenience clerk of Middle Eastern descent was shot to death in Texas in early October. Authorities have charged the suspect with a hate crime and murder.

When asked, students of all ethnicities cite the situation in Israel and the pending hostilities in the Persian Gulf as two other main concerns for a peaceful post-Sept. 11.

“I’m not worried, I leave it all in Allah’s hands,” said Jama when asked about the sentiments directed toward her by the public. “On Wednesday [this Sept. 11th], I’m going to go about my usual schedule, be wary and alert, but do as I’ve always done the last 12 months.”

“Everyone at my work knew me before what happened and knows what kind of person I am; I feel fine and safe as the anniversary approaches,” Hasan said.

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