September 11 or November 9? Both dates are very crucial to Muslims, especially American Muslims. I am not American, but I am a Muslim. I did not experience the result of 9/11 in the US, but I am very well-informed about the situation. I saw how Muslims were hated and discriminated in the US and the rest of the western world after that day. I saw how Islam was associated with terrorism. It was very well-depicted in pop culture as well, like in magazines, movies and the news. I couldn’t imagine being stared at every day, judged as evil for believing in your faith, and could not be comfortable to pray in public. The fact that I live in Muslim majority country and don’t have to experience that kind of threat every day makes me feel grateful and bad at the same time.
Slowly but surely, the course set for better. Discriminations do still happen toward Muslims minority here and there but at least more and more people have known better. More people knew that being a Muslim is just having different routine. Our faith requires us to do certain things and avoid some other things. It is like being a vegan or an athlete. They do things differently because they believe that is what best for them. Well, religion is more complicated than that, but on the surface that’s just how people are. We have different routine because we choose our different way of life and I’m glad that majority of people understands that now.
15 years later, in 2016, 11/9 happened. America has elected its new president. This president is known to have no rooms for minorities especially towards immigrant (especially Mexican) and Muslims. It felt so much like déjà vu to 9/11, right? Moreover, his other ‘impressive’ traits, his past scandals, and his view towards climate change, makes the situation seems even grimmer. His obsession with American borders drives people crazy, he wanted to build a wall in Mexico, for God’s sake. Eventually, the world will be border-less, anyway. So, can’t you just chill about it, Sir?
The world was shocked because of this. He’s so good at making history, huh? The internet is swarmed with worried and disappointed American minorities and American liberals. I couldn’t imagine how frightened they must be to have a bully as a president (I got this phrase from some video on facebook). Back to Muslim community, I read news about hijab grabbing already. My God, I mean, this new president hasn’t even been sworn to office and barbaric acts have already happened? That doesn’t sound so good. I can only wish them safety and hoping that things will get better. Parag Khanna said that ‘History doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, but it does rhyme.’ And I really hope 11/9 doesn’t rhyme with how Hitler rose to power.
Anyway, besides the worried and anxious reaction about the election results, I also saw massive supports towards minorities from other fellow Americans (and the rest of the world). I am glad that more people actually understand about diversity and the meaning of freedom, more people share the same view about peace and tolerance. Probably, in the future, things wouldn’t turn as bad as we think right now. Because, we see, since 9/11 to now, the most significant factors in unlatching terrorist image with Islam were people. Nowadays, people power over things. It wouldn’t change things overnight, but we cannot underestimate the power of people. See how societies’ view about color discrimination, race, religion, sexuality has changed because of people. That’s why I believe that people will prevail.
I just realized how true the saying ‘if you want to change the world, change yourself first’ is. I never actually believed it until now. In the end the most important person that you need to change is yourself. If people change themselves for the better, world would be filled with open-minded and tolerant communities. Then, we could actually live in peace. That makes so much sense.
 Geopolitacl futurist, TedTalk Speaker.
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