Our Muslim Neighbors

March 8, 2007


Source: Belleville News-Democrat


You've never heard of prejudice based on first names? That's because your name isn't Mohammed.

After 9/11, Belleville psychotherapist Mohammed Kibria noticed people began treating him as "stupid" or "dangerous" or both. He faced intense security checks at airports and eventually was asked to leave his job at a mental-health facility.

To an extent, Kibria understood. Egyptian Mohamed Atta acted as lead hijacker on American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the World Trade Center. This spurred 24-hour media coverage linking the common Muslim name to mass murder.

"Would you like to come in for counseling with a man named Mohammed who is killing people?" Kibria asked.

On the other hand, Kibria doesn't believe Americans should blame all Muslims for the radical views of a relatively small number of terrorists.