Fargo-Area Muslims Speak of Fears, Feelings of Self-Consciousness

September 11, 2006

Source: Bismark Tribune

Wire Service: AP


On September 11, 2006 the Bismark Tribune reported, "Mohamed Fakhr quit praying at airports following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. The North Dakota State University researcher says he made that decision so other people won't be scared. Five years ago, Fargo-Moorhead's Muslim community felt the terror of the attacks. They also felt fear the days following, as it was revealed the terrorist attacks of were done by Islamic militants. 'When things like this happen, sometimes people lose their sense of judgment,' says Abdu Bashir, a Minnesota State University Moorhead professor who has lived here since 1989. There were a few isolated incidents in the days after the attacks - 'negligible negative actions from individuals,' as Bashir describes them. But, generally, the larger community was compassionate and positive, he said. Churches have offered to guard the mosque during Friday prayers. But many area Muslims still talk about a feeling of unease, guardedness, self-consciousness and sometimes fear. It's the feeling that might make someone speak English in public rather than Arabic, Fakhr said. And it's the feeling that makes people wonder whether they'll be discriminated against because of their name, he says. 'It's just a feeling,' Fakhr said. 'But it's there. And I don't think that it will go away anytime soon.' On Sept. 17, 2001, a man pulled a rifle from the trunk of a car parked outside Fargo's Islamic Center and displayed it to members talking outside the mosque. The man did not make an overt threat, but the members were frightened and left."