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Lessons about 9/11 often provoke harassment of Muslim students

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Near the start of each school year, many U.S. schools wrestle with how to teach about 9/11 – the deadliest foreign attack ever on American soil.

In interviews I conducted recently in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area – one of three places where hijacked planes crashed on Sept. 11, 2001 – I found that Muslim students are often subjected to ridicule and blame for the 9/11 attacks.

“Even if they’re joking around, they’ll say ‘terrorist’ and stuff like that,” one student told me. “That used to trigger me a lot.”

Another student told me: “9/11, every single year, is so awkward. The administrators would be like ‘On this fateful day, this happened’… then the Muslim jokes would come up, like ‘Don’t blow us up.’ When I was younger it bothered me, but now I’m just desensitized to it.”

“There’s so much tension, just being even this color and then being a Muslim, period,” yet another student told me. “It’s really strange, like, you feel it, they’re not saying it … ’You don’t understand this question because you’re Muslim,‘ which is the strangest thing, but it’s definitely the tension that these teachers give off sometimes.”

These students are among the 55 Muslim students, ages 12 to 21, whom I interviewed in the Greater Washington, D.C., area from 2019 through 2021 about their experiences in school during classroom lessons about 9/11. Their experience is part of a larger pattern of Muslim students being targeted and bullied in U.S.........

© The Conversation

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