Local Muslims Say They’re ‘Treated Better’ 12 Years After Attacks

After the 9/11 attacks you'll remember a lot of bad sentiment toward Muslims here in Lubbock, but after 12 years they say things are starting to get better.
Imam Samer Altabaa recalls the struggle of being a leader of a religion that so many people blamed for the September 11th attacks.

“It was very difficult to Muslims at that time,” said Altabaa.  “Some people here who are non-Muslim they thought Islam encouraged violence, and they started treating Muslims in the wrong way.”

 However, Altabaa calls those involved ‘criminals’ and said all Muslims condemned the action.

“Muslims worked hard to teach real Islamic teachings, love, peace, justice,” said Altabaa.  “We've seen some changes in a lot of people and we have a lot of supporters who come from different faiths.”

Despite their efforts to spread the Islamic message, Altabaa said they're unable to reach everyone. 

“We don't have the means like media,” said Altabaa.  “That’s why we still see some people who still have the wrong ideas of the Islamic faith.  “There are still some small incidents here especially if violent actions happen, then we will see some reactions. 

Those reactions include hateful phone calls, graffiti and even hurtful screams like, ‘you are terrorists get out of our country.’

Altabaa refuses to hold onto those recent experiences, though, and instead looks to the future. 

“We'd like to see more peace, more justice in our world,” he said.  “And I would like to see more understanding between all religions in America and in the world.”

The Imam said he and other Muslims will meet tonight at the mosque here in Lubbock to pray for 9/11 victims and their families. 

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