Muslims Live in Fear, Panelist Says

December 14, 2006

Author: Elaine Jarvik

Source: Deseret Morning News

Noor Ul-Hasan has never been reluctant to speak up on behalf of Muslims living in Utah. But even Ul-Hasan admitted Wednesday night, she sometimes lives in fear.

It was just this week, in fact, that she balked when somebody asked her to put her phone number in a local newsletter. "I said, 'No,' because I don't want to be targeted," Ul-Hasan told a small group attending a city-sponsored panel Wednesday night called "Freedom from Prejudice: Utah's Middle Eastern Voices."

Her fellow Utah Muslims are afraid to attend rallies, for fear that they will be profiled, said Ul-Hasan, who is a member of the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake. Because she has lived in America nearly all her life and has many friends in Utah, she says she knows that if she "disappeared tomorrow," those friends would speak up. But many of the refugees she works with - who have watched Muslims be detained and extradited - don't have that same assurance, she says.

Ul-Hasan's has been a familiar voice in Utah since Sept. 11, 2001, as were most of the other members of Wednesday night's panel. There were familiar calls for continued dialogue and the need to establish personal relationships with people of other backgrounds and faiths.

"We should try to overlook what makes us different," said Ron Zamir, an Israeli who is chief executive officer of Allen Communication Learning Services. "We should talk about the things that bring us together."