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Former Washington Journalist
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Although he criticized Omar’s word choice as “flip,” for describing the events of that day and that she may have misstated the origin date of the Muslim group she was speaking to, TV commentator Juan Williams said that the Minnesota Democrat made a valid and important overall point.
“She has a legitimate point, she’s misstated the date when CAIR was founded, but she has a legitimate point in terms of whether or not there were fellow Americans who are Muslim were unfairly demonized in the aftermath of” September 11, Williams said.
The impact on the US Muslim community is not merely the opinion of Omar or Williams or others–but a sad, brutal fact brought home in ugly and quantifiable statistics, and often brutal anecdotal evidence, as well.
Researchers found that half of Americans say Islam is not part of “mainstream American society,” and 41 percent say Islam encourages violence more than other faiths. At the same time, they found an increase in the number of American Muslims who feel that they are “viewed with suspicion.”
Assaults against US Muslims spiked between 2015 and 2016, past the levels seen even in the aftermath of the September 11, according to Pew research.
Unlike President George W. Bush–who actively sought to ease and reprisals against American Muslims in the wake of the attacks–during the 2015-2016 period Donald Trump was talking up his proposed total Muslim ban as he campaigned for president.
Anti-Muslim violence continued above historical averages in 2017, according to reported US law enforcement data.
A 26-year-old man was sentenced to nearly 25 years in prison last year for torching a mosque in the Houston area of Texas.
Even the attacks being aimed at Omar herself put not only the congresswoman, but all American Muslims, in danger, said Sen. Cory Booker, noting that he represents many constituents affected by September 11 as a New Jersey Democrat.
“I think that what she is experiencing right now, she does not deserve — from what she said in her speech, she does not deserve the kind of vicious, hate-filled attacks that she’s experiencing, threats on her life, right now,” said Booker, one of nearly 20 contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination. “We all as Americans should say that is outrageous and unacceptable. And what Donald Trump is doing is he is making life dangerous not just for her, but for other Muslim Americans.”