Muslim Deportations Leave Silent Streets and a Climate of Fear Behind

November 18, 2003

Source: Chicago Tribune

On November 18, 2003 the Chicago Tribune reported on the recent mass exodus of American Muslims into neighboring countries, particularly Canada, noting that " the targeting of men from Muslim countries in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks affected more than just the men who were deported and their families. It sent aftershocks rumbling through the American neighborhoods where they lived and, in many cases, thrived... Most years, hundreds of Bangladeshis line Devon Avenue in March to celebrate their homeland's independence from Pakistan in 1971. But this year, just dozens showed up: The celebration fell shortly before the deadline for men from Bangladesh and several other predominantly Muslim countries to register with the federal government. An even more startling barometer of the fear that had swept over Chicago's Muslim community came a few months later. Roughly 20,000 Pakistanis typically jam either side of Devon each August to mark the independence of Pakistan. This year, no more than 8,000 showed up. The sparse turnout of the parades, community leaders believe, reflected the departure of many families and the anxiety of those who remained."