Concerned People Do Exist
By Kirin Patel
It is a quite day in Salt Lake City, Utah. People are trying to force themselves back into their routine way of lives, while not straying too far from a television or radio tuned in to the latest news of what is being termed, America's war with terrorism.
For Americans the feeling of security is not what it was prior to September 11, 2001. For Muslim Americans a sense of caution and uneasiness has quickly become a constant state-of-mind. For Muslim American women, stray glances cause thoughts of fear to emerge where comfort has previously existed.
Stories of Muslims being attacked and harmed throughout the country are sadly growing in number, however, amidst feelings of fear it is important to acknowledge those non-Muslims that rather than jump to conclusions, are instead jumping to voice safety concerns for Muslim Americans.
While I cannot report on behalf of all Muslims in Utah let alone the United States, I do know what I have experienced. And I know that in many regards it is similar to what close Muslim friends of mine have also encountered.
As I walked to class at the University of Utah in the afternoon following the explosions at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, American friends seeing me across campus, ran to my side and offered to walk me to class. To one class I had four individuals make it their personal obligation to escort me. Complete strangers even after one class inquired if I'd feel more comfortable being accompanied to my car.
Phone calls from non-Muslim and Muslim friends and their parents alike, have filled my voice mail the last two days as they call to see if I need any assistance in dealing with potential discrimination. Local diversity
leaders from the National Conference of Community and Justice have called to check up on me and multiple teachers have held me after class to ensure that within their class environment I feel safe.
Radio and newspaper reporters have approached me on campus to update me on the facilities available to me if at any time I feel threatened, and who to notify if such incidences occur. They then proceed to ask for interviews craving to hear an American Muslim woman's point of view on the subject.
A point of view I'm willing to share, but one that, thanks to Allah, is with few personal attacks. Aside from the disgruntled stares and the occasional honking motorists voicing obscenities, the streets of Salt Lake City have remained fairly quiet.
The most predominate noise that I hear, seems to continually urge me, to be safe and to be careful. Words of advice that I intend to follow as I see how fortunate I've been.
The sense of safety will most likely not return to anyone in America for quite awhile. So as I pray that the warnings from those around me remain untested, I urge us all to be careful and safe.
I know I have appreciated all those looking out for me, and I hope we will all continue to look out for each other.