Two months after September 2001, Pottsville, Pa., native Sameer Rashid moved to New York City to work on Wall Street, a career he eventually left for opportunities in clean energy.
He understood what a serious event 9/11 was, but quickly found out that New York City was different than other places in America when it came to people differentiating the terrorists from Muslim Americans.
“Even though it happened here, you still have a different experience than in other states or places,” Rashid, 31, said recently from his home in Brooklyn Heights.
But he also remembers watching television and reading newspapers. There was an odd tone toward Muslims for a time after 9/11. “In certain cases for a while, it was alright to say hateful things about Muslims,” he said. “It was tolerated for a while and to an extent still is.”
Still, for immigrants from places like Pakistan in the 1970s — as is the case with Rashid’s mother and father, a doctor in Pottsville ever since — to new immigrants from all over the Muslim world, Rashid said the American dream still motivates the earnest, hard workers.
“A lot of Muslim Americans, more recent immigrants who didn’t come here for the same professional reasons: Why are they happy if they’re in a situation that the economy is bad?” Rashid poses. “If you compare the life and opportunity you have here, even in the challenging situation, it’s better than the country they came from.”