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Leila Diab (a pseudonym) is a Palestinian American who has lived in Massachusetts for 21 years. 

“I am against any kind of violence, and especially the violence of 9/11. I am ashamed that Muslims did it and can’t condemn it enough. But people must understand that US foreign policy is an obstacle to Muslims around the world believing in America. “

After 9/11 she was wearing a hijab and walking down the road with a friend who didn’t wear a hijab. She was carrying her four-month-old baby in her arms. A taxi driver pulled over to the sidewalk and started yelling stuff like “You Muslims should all be killed!” They went down another street and the taxi driver kept following them, yelling that he wished they were dead. “9/11 was scary and you did not know what could happen. You did not want to bring too much attention to yourself.”

“The first anniversary of 9/11 scared me. The media kept reminding people about how Muslims did this. The media made it worse. It is always trying to make Muslims look bad and is raising the level of hate and discrimination. The media’s agenda is to create propaganda – do not trust any Muslims, be afraid of them.” 

She says she has been told many times to go back to Afghanistan.

“This country is home to me and I belong here. I am happy here and want to stay here. I am proud to be an American Muslim. I want people to accept me here because I am not leaving. This is my home.”

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.