9/11…In moments of crisis, positions become clear.

Peace everyone,

I wanted to share some thoughts with you as we reflect on the 9th anniversary of 9/11 attacks. This was something I started writing after 9/11/01 and recently finished as part of my manifesto. Please read and feel free to share with others.

9/11…In moments of crisis, positions become clear.

Islam. The war on terrorism. Racial Profiling. Detainees. The Patriot Act. Suicide Bombers. Nine years ago on September 11, 2001 the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon were not the only targets. The Muslim body was not only a weapon, it had also become a clear target. I remember a friend of mine saying to me that whatever happens he would have my back. I had never even thought that I would be targeted as a Muslim woman since I did not dress or look like a “typical” Muslim, at least not the stereotypical images shown in the media. That somehow I could pass. That somehow no one would ever mistaken me for Muslim. Part of me was relieved but the other part felt guilty that I could not show more solidarity with my Muslim brothers and sisters who were visibly targeted all over America, shortly after 9/11. I remember other Muslim friends sharing stories of uncles who had suddenly disappeared, of mosques vandalized, social service organizations raided, and of Hijabi Muslim women harassed.  I remember reading in 2003 that hate crimes increased 1700% against anyone “perceived” to be Muslim or Arabs. It’s an unfathomable number but the equation was real. The violence against Muslims and even those perceived as “Muslims” was rooted in bigotry, fear, xenophobia and misinformation.

On 9/11 and every day after, the Muslim body is a target. The Muslim body is in crisis. This is part of my legacy as a Muslim in America living in this global economy. The position is very clear for me. I am a Muslim and now more than ever it was crucial  to take action. Now more than ever it is about standing in solidarity with the Muslim community as much as standing in opposition to all forms of terrorism, racial-profiling, fundamentalism, and oppression — and yes that means even the kind imposed by the U.S. government as much as some “Muslim” nations. My work as a performance artist in which my body is central to the work, is now more than ever an important and distinct choice. Being Muslim has become more than a cultural identity, it is a political statement! My responses have involved greater participation in the Arab, Palestinian, and Muslim communities, an internalized questioning process of a political & spiritual identity, writing poems and stories that add dimension and complexity to the image of the Muslim in America, and using my body to create performances that both question and redefine the image of the Muslim woman. Like a prayer line, my place is to stand shoulder to shoulder with other Muslims, intervening the best way I know how—through art-making.

I am urging friends, family, acquaintances and strangers to view and forward the video “1700% Project: Mistaken for Muslim.” The passion in which I wrote the above statement is what continues to fuel my work and commitment to social justice. The video is a work of art as much as it is an educational tool. The links are below:

Youtube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viQl-p5oyHM
Vimeo Link: http://vimeo.com/11380785
LinkTV / OCON Link: http://www.linktv.org/onechicago/films/view/594
On my website: https://1700percentproject.wordpress.com/video/
Recent story on CNN: http://tinyurl.com/2cts9ka

Peace & Many Blessings. May all the souls taken before their time rest in peace.

Anida Yoeu Ali


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