MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Muslim Americans continue to show that their religion is one of peace and community while fighting stereotypes that came about after 9/11.
Tehsin Siddiqui has a story all too familiar for Muslim Americans after September 11, 2001.READ MORE: New Daily Virus Cases In Florida Lowest Since July
“I was on college campus, it was my second year and it changed dramatically from that point onwards,” says Siddiqui.
Siddiqui says an entire generation of Muslims faced questioning and interrogations about their faith.
“If it has something to do with Islam or Muslims you had to explain and explain again,” says Siddiqui. “It put many people on the spot, we felt that we’re not treated as American citizens.”
A 2017 Pew Research Center survey of Muslim Americans found nearly half of those who responded experienced at least one instance of religious discrimination in the past year.
Nearly half also experienced support because of their religion.
Despite misconceptions, the Muslim community worked to open up even more after 9/11 and saw a need to be integrated to erase intolerance.READ MORE: Spacex's 1st Tourists Homeward Bound After 3 Days In Orbit
“This is something that happened, we can’t do anything about it but to continue showing the good work to the community,” says Dr. Abdul Hamid Samra, Imam & Director of Religious Services.
That work continues two decades later.
At the Islamic Center of Greater Miami, a food drive helps hundreds in the area with snacks and even school supplies – regardless of faith.
“It’s part of our religion, as a Muslim to share, secondly it makes you feel good,” says Kamron Razaq.
Meanwhile, inside the mosque, a prayer service was going on to recognize what happened on 9/11, and as a reminder of their open door with the community.
State representative Christopher Benjamin converted to Islam just three weeks before 9/11 and was in attendance for the service.
He says folks in Florida are more accepting of the faith.MORE NEWS: Report: Miami-Dade School District Misused $6M For Driver’s Ed Programs
“They see that Muslims are just as part of their community as anyone else, we’re just as American as anyone else,” says Benjamin.