Freshman Ahmad Saad remembers the loneliness he felt Sept. 12, 2001, when the aftermath of the terrorist attacks began to affect his social life.
Saad, who is Muslim, was in third grade when the two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. His friends refused to sit with him at lunch the next day, he said.
“It had never occurred to me that people would point fingers at me for looking a certain way or believing what I do,” Saad said.UNC
“We hope this panel will help clear some of the misunderstandings that have been placed on Muslims living in America and around the world,” said Matthew Stevens, president of MSA.
Saad said he finds comfort in the openness of the UNC community, but said he is still conscious of how others might look at him.
“Every 9/11 I think about the tragedy, and I feel like I have to be on the lookout for people who may be staring at me,” Saad said. “It’s me accusing them of accusing me — an interesting and horrible judgment I make without knowing what they actually think.”
Senior Omar Abdelbaky said most people at UNC are educated and open-minded about Islam, but he is waiting for the rest of the country to get on the same page.
“I dream of the day that Sept. 11 won’t be tied to Muslims, but will be tied to a day in which America, all Americans of all backgrounds, were hurt and banded together to get through a tragedy,” he said.