Psychology sophomore Danya Kaakani, adorned in a pink flower-printed hijab, handed out bracelets and talked to fellow students about 9/11 as a message of unity and peace outside the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus Wednesday.
The Muslim Liberty Project serves the ASU community through service and inter-faith relationships. Designed to promote awareness, disprove misconceptions and provide support for the Muslim community, the MLP created a 9/11 memorial wall inside Changemaker Central to commemorate those lost on that terrible day and allow people to share their thoughts on what 9/11 means to them.
Economics junior Seema Kassab, co-president of MLP, and Kaakani, who is the organization’s secretary, were on hand to pass out red, white and blue bracelets engraved with the words “Remember. Honor. Coexist.”
Kassab said the wall was made to remember those who lost their lives and display America’s unity.
“This is a sad day for me every year when it comes along,” she said. “This is a time for union among all Americans.”
Biological sciences junior Noor Raad takes time every year to remember those who died and said she agrees with the mission of MLP.
“MLP embraces our real identity,” she said. “We’re not the type of people that kill.”
Raad said she thinks MLP is promoting an image with which most Muslims identify.
“MLP is setting a good image, the right image and not the image made on 9/11,” she said.
Kaakani said that since Sept. 11, 2001, Muslim Americans have faced a lot of scrutiny, but she believes people who speak against them are ignorant.
“The people that are most ignorant don’t know any Muslims,” she said. “When an American meets a Muslim, the stereotype is crushed.”
A veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom left a message on the wall that read, “Don’t let a few bad apples spoil the culture. Learn for yourself and don’t believe everything you hear.”
Kaakani remembers the aftermath of 9/11 in her community as being one of kindness.
“Neighbors would check on us, and I remember one man held a door open for my mother,” she said. “You could tell it was more than being polite and more of a gesture of kindness.”
Many Muslims are tired of the scrutiny they face every day, and MLP is showing the true identity of the majority of Muslim Americans who respect the U.S., Kassab said.
“I’m American before I am Muslim,” she said.
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