My Son Owes His Name to the Fear of Muslims That Followed...

My Son Owes His Name to the Fear of Muslims That Followed 9/11

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Many people can attest to how their lives were forever changed as a result of the 9/11 attacks on America.  For months after, we were all on our guard, cautious, fearful even while united in solidarity and in mourning of the near 3,000 people who died at the World Trade Center, on the United Flight 93 plane in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.

One sad and unfortunate result was a growing fear of Muslims and of all things related to Islam.  Anyone who wore a Burqa or kufi or other Muslim garb was hoisted up as a potential terror suspect.  The fact that the 9/11 hijackers wore khakis and collared shirts and did not “look” like Muslims did not matter. If you had a Muslim name, you were given extra scrutiny whenever you traveled. Most people were OK with it, even though those who abide by Islamic extremist views are in the minority. So we sanctioned the Patriot Act laws denying due process and we accepted the use of racial profiling.

I have family members who have been victims of racial profiling for all their lives. I knew that for my Muslim relatives, this was an added scarlet letter, especially for those with Muslim names.

That is why when my husband and I were picking names for our firstborn son and settled on an Arabic name we loved the best, we opted for the Christian spelling of the name, with a “C.” We knew the impact of 9/11 on people of Islamic faith and those bearing characteristics and signs of being a Muslim would be felt for a long time. We feared that our son, who would already have to be vigilante when he went about, would be further burdened with possible harassment, stereotyping and discrimination if he were to have a name that sounded like he was a Muslim, even though we are Catholics.

Much rhetoric, demagoguery and political talking points rally around demonizing Muslims, since those who carry out suicide bombings and attacks are often from that faith.  Islamaphobia is on the rise and reached a fever pitch over plans to build an Islamic community center at an abandoned building several blocks from the site the World Trade Center. To those who opposed it, having a building erected by those who practiced the religion of the hijackers so close to Ground Zero was too much to bear.  It would defame the legacy of those who died there, opponents said.

Several conservatives, including Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, have openly warned that an Islamic code of conduct, called Sharia, will soon infiltrate American courts and laws unless those who practice Islam are suppressed, watched, marginalized and forbidden from exercising their freedom to practice their religion.

Though not without provocation, the fear against Muslim is a legacy of those horror-filled moments after the first plane lodged into the World Trade Center north tower at 8:46 a.m. My firstborn son’s name is but one of many reminders of the impact of that haunting day in American history.

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Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt represents small, women, and minority owned business and technology companies at The Ghatt Law Group LLC, the nations’ first communications law firm owned by women and minorities. She's won landmark cases on behalf of her clients which include national civil rights and public interest organizations. In addition to actively authoring several blogs, being a radio show host and sitting on the boards of three non-profits, she is a tech junkie who has been developing online web content since the very early years of the Internet, 1991 to be precise! Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks, on her blog, Jenebaspeaks, which covers the intersection of politics and technology or on her Politics of Raising Children blog at The Washington Times Communities section. The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and have complete editorial independence from any Politic365 partners, sponsors, or advertisers. For additional information about Politic365, please visit http://politic365.com/about/.

28 COMMENTS

  1. This is very interesting. Your family comes here and you fall into this complaining how “bad” blacks have it here in the US or how little black girls death are not reported. Now you complain of profiling? Yet, in your home country a true “civil war” just ended in 2002 with the deaths of 50,000. And many more 1,000’s leaving to other countries. Ironically or not, Sierra Leone was home base of some of the slave trade where Africans sold other Africans to white Europeans. Yet, you complain of discrimination, but have come to this country, been apparently very successful, attending schools I would have never been able (nor wanted). Most likely because of your “color” you did not have to pay for much of them, while my family and I paid taxes to support them thru theft of the federal gov’t handing them grants and such. I salute your ability to use resources and work to become so successful. However, to sit at your computer and then complain somehow there is discrimination while using the very discriminatory and profiling practices that take (ie: “legally” steal thru gov’t) from some to give to ones like you I find the very essence of hypocrisy. I do not know what pictures of the terrorist you saw of the 911 hijackers, but the ones I say “looked” like Middle Easterners – which mainly are Muslims. To say otherwise is promoting half-truth or…? See actual photographs:
    http://911review.com/myth/hijackers.html

    I thought it is interesting for those who keep trying to re-write Southern history of 150 years ago, but to try to do so for something that happened 10 years ago that we all witnessed by saying they didn’t “look like…”, that is on the verge of being totally dishonest, imho.

    • Where am I "complaining" about discrimination? Do you even know that the definition of "complain means? I shared that I opted to give my child a name because of a fear of discrimination. He has a Christian name. Where is the complaint? No one is discriminating against him.

      Also, why do you assume because of the color of my skin I MUST have benefited from some Affirmative Action or other benefit because of my race?

      Just so you know, I have never gotten a race-based scholarship and have earned every benefit and pay for all of my education. Now don't you feel STUPID for making ignorant and racist assumptions? You probably think all blacks grow up on Welfare and take government benefits too.

      Further, WHITES have gotten scholarships at Historically Black Colleges for minorities for decades. So BLACKS are not the only ones who benefit from race-based programs. Further, there are loads of benefits that have gone only to WHITES de facto because Blacks were ineligible to apply for them because of their race. Further, only WHITES qualify for current Daughters of the Revolution because none of their ancestors could have been members of that organization.

      People like you willfully choose to focus on benefits that blacks get while blissfully ignoring centuries of whites only benefits. Don't get your panties in a bunch, sweetie.

      Everything else you say is totally irrelevant and simply reflect your ignorance and inability to think logically. You respond to each of my articles by scrounging around non-relevant garbage.

      You need love in your life because you seem consumed with hate. I'll pray for you.

      • finally after pressing the issue that apparently got under your skin you have finally answered about the school funding. I stand corrected. I have never said "all" "blacks grow up…" I have said the opposite. You have complained about discrimination as the reference to the black girls you reference in a prior article conversation. Yes whites received scholarships at HBC's. I witnessed them, but the ratio was the opposite. As I've said before I went to FAMU.

        You are wrong about the DAR" http://www.dar.org/natsociety/whoweare.cfm
        The first "black" DAR member was in October 1977, Karen Batchelor Farmer (now Karen Batchelor) of Detroit, Michigan was admitted as the first known African-American member of DAR

        You really need to research before commenting on history I think. You probably also think there are no blacks in the Sons of Confederate Veterans?? Be careful with that one though, I personally know several of them :>)

        Love in my life? In July I just celebrated being married to my soul-mate of 20 years :>)! We'll pray for each other….

        • I did not complain about my son's discrimination on THIS article. Why oh why are you stalking me and cannot for the life of you reply to the article in front of you without dragging the immense amount of baggage and disdain you carry around for other people around to every comment you make?

          • Stalking? LOL. You post articles and site has method of commenting on said. You only respond to “my” comments. Your non-comments on your “supporter” on this thread seems to show you apparently agree with it.

            Why are you not commenting on his false accusation or his past – shown by the very site he linked of “me?” Do you support his methods? Or do you only “stalk” people like me who disagree with some of your views which you cannot seem to discuss without getting so defensive or calling those “disdainful?” Or just start calling others names? You say I made a racist remark, yet in same breath accuse the DAR of being racist by saying they do not accept “black” members. Yet, when shown you are wrong you attack little ole me? Is accusing the DAR of accepting only whites racist – especially considering it is a false statement by you? Can you not discuss what you write without attacking others who may disagree with you?

            (BTW, I comment on several “news” sites not listed on the tracking device apparently linked to this site. Maybe it is my “hobby” when I’m not kayaking, shooting or reenacting.:>)

        • You still have not addressed your RACIST assumptions about me based on the color of my skin alone.

          And so what if I complain about discrimination in past pieces? What is it to you? Why do you think people who see injustices should say nothing? You yourself complain about "reverse discrimination" every chance you get. So if you are so "anti-complaining", why do you ma

          • My comments have never been racist nor complaining. I have pointed out how "you" use your articles to do same. If is it "racist" to say someone gets special treatment of color, is it also racist to make a site, special scholarships, special treatments, Black Caucus, NAA COLORED people, etc, etc???

          • http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/nwnw/?p=557

            Here you and your ? make same type accusations based on color yet you claim others are racist? Have you provided any proof of these accusations? Have you acknowledge you were wrong if not? SO what if "I" go around complaining, to use your defense, am I not allowed because I disagree with you? You do what you accused me of doing yet it is ok? Double standard? Why are you allowed but now others?

  2. And, if you want to crit Cain for his comments and support Sahria law, would you as a women be able to even speak here since under said, women are treated as second class citizens still today? Or maybe you think it's ok to still stone people?

  3. Maybe YOU as a Catholic should "correct" your owns religions views rather than crit others of theirs?:

    Endless Jihad

    The Truth about Islam and Violence
    http://www.catholic.com/library/endless_jihad.asp

    Of course it was just in the 1980's the Catholic Church was calling all "other Christians" faiths anathema to "true" believers. Thankfully they changed that stance (even though they supposedly don't change :>)

  4. […] BellyitchWP September 14, 2011 Many people can attest to how their lives were forever changed as a result of the 9/11 attacks on America.  For months after, we were all on our guard, cautious, fearful even while united in solidarity and in mourning of the near 3,000 people who died at the World Trade Center, on the United Flight 93 plane in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. One sad and unfortunate result was a growing fear of Muslims and of all things related to Islam.  Anyone who wore a Burqa or kufi or other Muslim garb was hoisted up as a potential terror suspect.  The fact that the 9/11 hijackers wore khakis and collared shirts and did not “look” like Muslims did not matter. If you had a Muslim name, you were given extra scrutiny whenever you traveled. Most people were OK with it, even though those who abide by Islamic extremist views are in the minority. So we sanctioned the Patriot Act laws denying due process and we accepted the use of racial profiling. I have family members who have been victims of racial profiling for all their lives. I knew that for my Muslim relatives, this was an added scarlet letter, especially for those with Muslim names. That is why when my husband and I were picking names for our firstborn son and settled on an Arabic name we loved the best, we opted for the Christian spelling of the name, with a “C.” We knew the impact of 9/11 on people of Islamic faith and those bearing characteristics and signs of being a Muslim would be felt for a long time. We feared that our son, who would already have to be vigilante when he went about, would be further burdened with possible harassment, stereotyping and discrimination if he were to have a name that sounded like he was a Muslim, even though we are Catholics. Read the Rest at Politic365 […]

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