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9/11: Utah Remembers - Muslim Americans

9/11: Utah Remembers - Muslim Americans

By Peter Samore | Posted - Sep. 9, 2011 at 7:58 a.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY -- The attacks of 9/11 changed many opinions on Muslim Americans and many have tried to distance themselves from the actions of terrorists.

For some, a decade has not healed the suspicion and fear of what could be argued is the most misunderstood minority in America today.

Much of America has butted heads with Islam, never more vehemently than after 19 Muslim hijackers executed the 9/11 attacks. President of the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake, Iqbal Hossein, says the federal government has only fanned the flames of anti-Muslim hysteria with the Patriot Act and wire-tapping.

"There is a general tendency among the population at large that there's got to be something wrong with the Muslims. Otherwise, why is the government taking such action?" he said.

He added that ordinary people have fought the blaze by opening their hearts and minds.

"Our public acted more prudently and tolerantly to Muslims in this country than our government, that instituted policies targeting and profiling Muslims," he said.


"People have opened up. They have studied more into our faith and seen what we really represent." Sunny Nisar

Those flames spread to Curry in a Hurry on State Street on September 13, 2001. A man lit the back of the restaurant on fire. Customers put out the blaze. The suspect was arrested and has served his sentence.

Co-owner Sunny Nisar was in shock, but now looks back at how triumph emerged from tragedy.

"People have opened up. They have studied more into our faith and seen what we really represent," Nisar said.

His mother, Mona Nisar, says Islamic awareness expanded, along with business.

There was a "long line outside my restaurant on nine-fourteen when we opened up. Everyone was here who had never even tasted my food, came to taste and to support us," Mona said.

As tradition, the Nisars hosted hundreds from the general public at their house for the end of Ramadan. Longtime customer and family friend Cindy Sampinos says the Nisars are ending misunderstandings with their good food.

"Food is one of those warming things that you share," she said. "When you break bread with people and you have conversation, you teach and you can get people more enrolled."

All parties agreed that improving relations between Muslims and non-Muslims is a two-way street.

E-mail: psamore@ksl.com

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