The September 11, 2001, attacks on the US is often said to be one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on the American soil.
It claimed the lives of 2,977 people and was set to drastically change the lives of many others.
As the world commemorated the fourteenth anniversary of the attack, #afterseptember11, a powerful hashtag started doing rounds on the social media. Hundreds of people shared personal stories of how the day went on to shape many of the experiences they were to have in life. Of how they had to face discrimination, prejudice and downright hatred for an incident they weren't involved in any way.
Created by Jessica Talwar, a 19-year-old political science student at Loyola University in Chicago, the hashtag is â€śa collection of more than 50,000 heartbreaking accounts of people who say they were targeted for being Muslim â€“ or often, just for having brown skin,â€ť reported the LA Times.
after 9/11, my dad stopped growing his full beard, and I didn't realize until I got older the reasoning was to avoid being profiledâ€” PAKINEXTDOOR (@jesstalwar) September 10, 2015
Talwar, in an interview via email to LA Times, said she had created the hashtag to shed light on some of the lesser-known and not often discussed consequences of the attack.
â€śAmerica needs to recognize that the trauma and repercussions of these attacks were not confined to the day of September 11, 2001 itself. Desis, Arabs, and Muslims have felt the impact of this day for 14 years," she wrote.
Mom put a U.S. flag on our house after #Sept11 to be patriotic & so people would not throw a rock through the window. DOUBLE-CONSCIOUSNESS.â€” Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) September 11, 2015
Imagine being 9 and wondering why your teacher decided to call on you and ask you why your faith advocates for bombings #afterseptember11â€” Bush did 9/11 (@halimahello) September 11, 2015
#afterseptember11 I couldn't defend myself against the herd of children touching my hijab asking if there was a bomb under my "towel"â€” Bush did 9/11 (@halimahello) September 11, 2015
#afterseptember11 on sep 13, my dad stopped wearing a turban, cut his hair, & shaved his beard bc he was assaulted at work by a white manâ€” wtf the fuck (@anuvir) September 11, 2015
#afterseptember11 my parents genuinely asked my brother if he wanted to change his name bc it's Osama. He was 9â€” xx (@Nahwalnut) September 11, 2015
My hijab was pulled off while at school, around 1993. Islamophobia and civil rights violations are not just #afterseptember11 stories.â€” Zahra Billoo (@ZahraBilloo) September 12, 2015
Where there are followers, there are sure to be critics and one woman tweeted to the teenager saying â€śgive America our moment.â€ť
Talwar told the newspaper that she felt as if her citizenship were being â€śstripped away". â€śIt was as if there was some rigid dichotomy between American society and the South Asian, Muslim, and Arab communities,â€ť she wrote.
There were also hate messages including racial slurs and threats to kill Muslims.
She went on to write, â€śThis movement was not intended to belittle the tragic events of September 11 itself" but it was â€śinexcusableâ€ť that some communities would be discriminated against because of their ethnicity or religion.
#afterseptember11 i grew up without a mom because someone with a gun decided that she needed to answer for it with her lifeâ€” razan (@rukhushana) September 11, 2015
#afterseptember11 my life became a constant cycle of apologizing for something I never did, and explaining to people that we're not all bad.â€” mina (@shezumi) September 10, 2015
#AfterSeptember11 my father was fired from job after job because of his Muslim name- making our family live off welfareâ€” pakola papi (@iranikanjari) September 10, 2015
#afterseptember11 I was told to apologize for the attacks even though I was in first grade.â€” iblis (@wxmxo) September 10, 2015
#AfterSeptember11 asking my mother how to become white and how to die my hair blonde as a five year oldâ€” pakola papi (@iranikanjari) September 10, 2015
#afterseptember11 my childhood friend wasn't allowed to come to my house anymore because they found out I was Arab.â€” Dounia (@niaisasquare) September 10, 2015
#afterseptember11 always being subjected to "random" searches by disrespectful staff at the airportâ€” hab (@haboonnur) September 10, 2015
#afterseptember11 every time i would get mad at someone in class someone would yell, "allahu akbar"â€” jaanu (@jehanster) September 10, 2015
#afterseptember11 i was told to "calm down and try not to pull out an m16" i was in 7th grade.â€” jaanu (@jehanster) September 10, 2015