Toledo Muslims "Good Citizens and Good Neighbors"

September 10, 2006

Source: Toledo Blade

On September 10, 2006 the Toledo Blade reported, "Local Muslims are still feeling the repercussions from the World Trade Center’s collapse, fearing that they have a long way to go to overcome ignorance and stereotypes about their faith. 'I don’t think people understand Islam,' said Najwa Badawi of Toledo. 'They listen to talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and believe our holy book is a blueprint for violence. It’s not true. I don’t know how else to say that the violence has nothing to do with religion; it’s all politics.' Mrs. Badawi, a public school teacher who immigrated to Toledo in the late 1970s to escape a war in Lebanon, said the people she works with and those who know her personally have been 'unbelievably supportive' to her and other local Muslims. But there are many Americans 'who don’t think for themselves,' she said, and tend to lump all Muslims in with the handful of extremists who crashed airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pa. 'I have no idea when this wave of misunderstanding is going to end,' Mrs. Badawi said. 'Before 9/11, it didn’t matter if you were Muslim. I never felt discriminated against. Before 9/11 it was a nonissue for me. Now I am proud to be a Muslim, but I don’t exactly advertise it.' Making matters worse for the local Islamic community were the arrests in March of three Toledo Muslims, charged with plotting terrorist attacks on American soldiers in Iraq, and the government’s shutdown of KindHearts, a Toledo-based Muslim charity."