Muslims more scared now than 9/11: Eboo Patel

An Indian-American interfaith advisor to the US President said Muslims in the country are now more scared than the days after 9/11.

Last Updated: Sep 13, 2010, 00:07 AM IST

Washington: Amid the row over an Islamic
Centre near Ground Zero and the earlier plan by a
Florida-based Pastor to burn the Quran, an Indian American
interfaith advisor to the US President today said Muslims in
the country are now more scared than the days after 9/11.

"That`s true," Eboo Patel told ABC`s Christine
Amanpore in an interview when reminded of his earlier
statement that he feel more scared now as a Muslim, and many
people have said, than you did at 9/11.

"My mother called me yesterday and she said, Eboo,
I`ve been in this country for 35 years as a Muslim, and I have
never been scared to say I was fasting, I`ve never been scared
to say that I call god Allah, but I`m scared now and I`m
scared for your kids, Eboo. I`m scared that their names might
be too Muslim, that they might get bullied in school," Eboo
Patel said.

"And what I tell her, is, mom this is a blip in the
broader arc of inclusiveness that is America. And the history
books will read, as they have read before, that the forces of
inclusiveness will defeat the forces of intolerance," he told
the ABC in his interview.

"When the faces of intolerance show themselves, the
forces of inclusiveness in America go into action," he said.

"On Friday afternoon, when I came back to my office
after Eid prayers and a set of interviews, there was a
sixth-grade girl at the interfaith youth corps who said, I
heard about this planned Koran burning in Florida, and it hurt
me in my heart. I think religions should be nice to each
other. I`m donating my allowance to your organisation," Patel
said.

Patel said the US President Barack Obama has been
spot on about this. "We have to get the us and the them right.
The us are the people who believe in the American promise of
pluralism, a country where George Washington said that will
give bigotry no sanction, persecution no assistance," he said.

"A country in which one of our earliest presidents,
Thomas Jefferson, reverently owned a Koran, hosted an Iftar
dinner. America is a great arc of inclusiveness. It envelopes
everyone. I want my children to be able to contribute to this
country just like the children of my Jewish friends, just like
the children of my evangelical and Catholic friends. The us
are those who believe in pluralism; the them are those who
believe in extremism. It`s that simple," Patel said.

PTI