How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A Muslim NYC firefighter on the events of 9/11

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mU5W-iUv8fg&feature=player_embedded

This moving short video is part of a series of PSAs released at the beginning of this month by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Islamic civil rights group. The series of three videos is titled "9/11 Happened to All of Us." Two feature first responders, including the firefighter, and a third spot features a several religious leaders from different faiths. The video above was featured today in a post in ColorLines.

The PSAs were released in response to what news reports and polls have indicated is a growing sense of Islamophobia in the United States. The past several weeks have been marked by the highly-publicized public debate and protests over the construction of a planned Islamic cultural center near the site of the former World Trade Center (which, according to today's New York Times, had a Muslim prayer room), and the media circus in Florida over a pastor's now-cancelled plan to burn copies of the Quran.

Not surprisingly, there has been a rash of anti-Muslim hate crimes, including the stabbing of a New York cab driver.

This year, the Eid al-Fitr holiday that ends the holy month of Ramadan falls on the eve September 11, a coincidence that has prompted some Muslims in the U.S. to tone down festivities for fear of a backlash.

Hundreds gathered to pray today at the Los Angeles Convention Center in observance of the holiday, which ends a month of daytime fasting and reflection. A story on 89.3 KPCC quoted Maher Hathout of the Islamic Center of Southern California, who addressed the religious holiday's coinciding with the 9th anniversary of the attacks. "Muslims and non-Muslims alike will pray to God to heal their wounds and ameliorate their pain," he said.

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