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Members of Heartland Islamic Center reflect on 9/11

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:32 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 4:42 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - As America reflects on the lives lost 20 years ago on 9/11, Heartland Muslim Americans are saying that day left a lasting mark on them as well.

“Islam does not teach that, that you kill innocent people, no religion teaches that,” said Dr. Tahsin Khalid.

On September 11, 2001 Khalid, Cape Girardeau resident and member of the local Islamic center, was in Spain for a conference. That is where he saw a video of the 9/11 attack.

“I saw a plane hit a tower and I thought, ‘hey they are probably watching a movie,’” said Khalid.

Unfortunately, the scene was real and America changed forever.

On Khalid’s trip back to the US, he realized his reality would change, because of his religion.

“I landed in Miami, and when I came out walking and somebody stopped me and said, do you have papers?,” said Khalid.

Twenty years later Khalid is still speaking out, so people separate the crime from his religion.

“We say this person is a drug dealer, this person is a killer, or whatever crime they do. Why are you putting this criminal with their religion?,” said Khalid.

His daughter, Jowairia Khalid, has lived in Cape Girardeau her whole life and was treated differently because of her hijab.

“People would turn around and look at me, and I would feel not ashamed but embarrassed. Why is everyone looking at me? I wasn’t born, my family wasn’t a part of it, why are you looking at me?,” said Jowairia Khalid.

Although she may look different, she’s no different from any one else.

“They’ll see someone completely with their head covered, full sleeves in the summer, and they will stare you down, ‘like why are you wearing that?’. I don’t think some people understand what a Muslim is,” said Jowairia Khalid.

Khalid said he hopes more people learn what his religion is truly about.

“Yea they are terrorists but they are not following Islam. If they were following Islam, they would not be doing that,” said Khalid.

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