Eight years of WTC tragedy has passed, but I never forget the moment how that tragedy has impacted part of my life as a Moslem. When 9/11 tragedy occurred, I was in Edinburgh city, Scotlandia joining my husband who was pursuing his graduate school in Edinburgh university. As a spouse of a foreign student, I was occupied myself by doing a part time job as a cashier at the fruit shop which enables me to interact with Scottish people whom later I knew as friendly people.
But one day after 9/11, I found myself being verbally harassed by few men and thrown by small stones when I was walking in front of the mosque. I wasn’t doing anything to defend myself, but went away with a little bit of feeling scary, worried if something worse would happen again afterward. Not only that, I was also being verbally harassed by few men who walked by in front of the shop where I worked. They showed their “finger fuck” to me and shouted that I was a terrorist. I again had nothing to say because they just went away laughing while showing their bitter face.
In my workplace, some of my customers, showed different reactions, they were not angry, but they were curious if it was true that Moslems were the ones who killed the innocent people in WTC, that Moslems hate the West or American people in particular. I with all my personal feeling and thought responded them with honesty that there are indeed Moslems who do not like the West or did not agree with how Bush administration has interfered with few Moslem Nations’ affairs. I also explained that in any religions, there should be a group of people who tends to interpret their Holly book literally, such as in Islam, where some Moslems will interpret the concept of Jihad as an “Honour Killing”. I also explained that Qur’an explicitly forbids the killing of people. It is stated that killing one man is as the same as the killing all mankind. I did not deny, but tried to explain that it is not fair to make generalization that all Moslems are the same and that they will interpret the Qur’an in the same way.
With that experience, I was aware that I became one of the representative of the voice of Moslems. I had never directly told them that I am a Moslem though, but my appearance told them so because I was wearing jilbab or hijab. As days go by in Edinburgh, things get better, yet I am still worried if in one place, in one time I came across a person who does hate Islam and will do harmful things to me. That experience makes me realize that I need to secure myself every time I travel to Europe or America. I need to be continuously aware that people may have different reactions or perspective towards Islam and tried to behave as inclusive/open as possible so that we could be friend and could share what we believe to get mutual understanding and respect.