Author’s Note: This was written by me on 9/11/2015. I was working on a TV set, & today in 2018 I am in Brooklyn on a TV show set at the studio. We just had a moment of silence on set in memory. Funny how even though things change, they stay the same.
On this day in 2001, I was supposed to visit the World Trade Center with my uncle who was here from Pakistan. By the grace of Allah (swt), we were delayed. I will never forget the frantic phone call my Bhai made to my parents to tell me not to go to NYC because something awful just happened.
As we watched the events unfold, I prayed it wasn’t a Muslim terrorist attack. It was.
It’s been many years, and I still am truly saddened each 9/11 when the names are read. I can’t help but think of everyone that has lost someone because some misguided souls thought they were following Islam.
Today, I woke up and ran 5 miles at 7am towards downtown NYC with Nike. I am grateful for every day I have that I can run. Because there are others that cannot.
My work today has taken me to a TV set, where production has re-created a Syrian desert refugee camp. The scene that shows an ISIS beheading that was supposed to be filmed yesterday had to be moved to today. With a moment of silence, they respectfully do so. They’re showing children dirty but happily playing soccer, just like your children do. Medical tents are here, and an urgent surgery on a young boy is being portrayed. His lung collapses but there are no medical supplies delivered this week. There is sand, lots of desert bugs, and plenty of American military. My mind wanders to my older brother, who became a physician for the Air Force. My brother, who serves our great American nation every day, who served in the Middle East during the war. My Bhai, one of my heroes. They’ve recreated his dedication, amongst many others, here, on a film set, in NYC.
I was fairly blonde when 9/11 happened. I didn’t fit the prototypical Muslim stereotype. I suddenly found it my duty to enlighten others about the true Islam, since I was mistaken as simply American and so many would speak to me with negativity about all Muslims as if I wasn’t Muslim. Hatred of others that are different stems out of fear and lack of knowledge. Hate is taught. You must learn to hate someone. It isn’t something we’re born with.
I’m watching the children play on the refugee set. It may as well be the real thing. Some of them are Latino, Middle Eastern, South Asian. They don’t see creed, or race, or differences. They just want someone to kick them the ball.