“I Wanted to Change My Name, Change My Identity.”

How Muslims in America cope with bigotry.

Politicians using scare tactics to polarize a population is nothing new. It’s a tried-and-true method for scoring cheap political points with voters. But what does that mean for the portion of the population  targeted? Since 9/11, there has been a steady uptick of anti-Muslim sentiment in America, at times translating to aggression and violence. Since the Paris attacks, anti-Muslim hate crimes have tripled. These acts of violence hurt more than just the individual victims of these crimes; they are an assault on the national Muslim American identity, and could have a lasting effect on the demographic. Like any identity, being a Muslim American is a complex and varied experience, but trends shape individuals.

I had just turned 11 when 9/11 happened. I was going to school in Jersey City at the time when my entire world changed. But it wasn’t just my world, it deeply affected everyone around me. In the video above I talk to acquaintances, friends, and relatives to help understand how 2.6 million of our neighbors feel about shouldering the burden of terrorism.