KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, U.S. patriotism rose and many remember a united America.
There was a sense of community bonding — but not everyone was included in that community.
Some Muslim and Middle-Eastern people living in America experienced hate and violence after 9/11.
The FBI reported hate crime incidents against the Islamic community increased from fewer than 50 incidents in 2000 to almost 500 in 2001.
Dr. Laeeq Azmat, a general practitioner in Kansas City, moved from Pakistan to the U.S. shortly before 9/11. Azmat said he has experienced some profiling because of his religion.
“I mean, there have been a couple of incidents where people told me, open their windows, and say ‘go back to your home, what are you doing here,’” Azmat said. “‘You're terrorists,’ and this and that.”
Azmat is the secretary of the Islamic Center of the Northland Board, and he said the Muslim community understands they will experience profiling in their daily lives.
Zach Keith, a U.S. government and history teacher at Platte County High School, said in the years following 9/11 he had to debunk myths about Islam for his students.
“I would say one of the biggest differences then was there were a lot of misconceptions about the role of Islam,” Keith said. “And so a lot of my teaching was on debunking Islam as this terrorist base religion.”
Keith has been teaching at Platte County High School for 16 years and has seen changes in his students when he teaches about 9/11. All of his senior students today were not alive in 2001.
Because his students weren’t alive, they want to hear personal stories from that day, and watch the footage of the event.
In the third episode of KSHB 41 News’ five-part podcast mini-series about the 20th anniversary of 9/11, digital producers Casey Murray and Katharine Finnerty will hear from Dr. Azmat, Keith and more about 9/11’s impact on the Islamic community, as well as how educators are teaching 9/11 to students who didn’t experience the life-changing event firsthand.