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Mourners at the scene of Sunday's mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, August, 6, 2012
In response to the tragic mass shooting yesterday at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin by a man believed to be a white supremacist, BuzzFeed has compiled a timeline of anti-Sikh violence in the United States since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Sikhs, members of a religion rooted in India who are neither Hindu nor Muslim, became targets of hate crimes almost immediately after 9/11, along with Muslims. The turbans worn by Sikh men make them stand out and, for those not familiar with the difference, have led anti-Muslim attackers to target them by mistake.
The list is incomplete. It does not, for example, include the fatal shooting of two elderly Sikh men, Gurmej Atwal and Surinder Singh, shot down last year by an unidentified attacker with no other apparent motive as they strolled through a suburban neighborhood of Sacramento. Still, the timeline is a sad memento to all of those who have been killed or harmed.
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Last week, Yasmin Nouh joined four other young people on the Patt Morrison Show to talk about growing up Muslim in the decade following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Here she expands on that interview, sharing her perspective in a first-person essay.
Yasmin, whose parents are immigrants from Egypt and Iran, was barely in her teens when she heard the devastating news of what had occurred in New York that morning. She writes about what followed and how, as she experienced it, helped shape who she would become.
My eyes, still heavy with sleep, lit up wide open when my father told us the spine-chilling news as he drove us to school in the morning: Two planes turned missile had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. At 13 years old, I barely understood the gravity of the terrorist attacks. When I asked who the hijackers were, he said the United States had identified Osama bin Laden as a likely suspect.
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A girl at a rally in New York, September 11, 2010
A post this morning involved one young Lebanese American woman's experience growing up in Los Angeles following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In a first-person essay, she described the bullying that she and her sister were subjected to, a relatively common occurrence in the confusing months that followed.
But years passed and as the nation healed, young Muslims growing up in the shadow of the attacks continued to feel stigmatized. Among them were young women who wore hijab, the religious headscarves worn by many Muslim women, who endured stares and suspicion.
Earlier this week, KPCC's Patt Morrison interviewed five young Muslims who were either children or entering early adulthood at the time the hijackers attacked the World Trade Center. They shared their experiences coming of age in post-9/11 America and how it shaped them, for better or worse. An excerpt:
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Special agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) search a vehicle heading into Mexico at the Hidalgo border crossing on May 28, 2010 in Hidalgo, Texas. T
Last May, after the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan, I published a short list of some of the most important ways in which the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that he masterminded radically altered the immigration landscape.
The legislative, policy and other changes that have occurred since are almost too numerous to list. Last month, the Migration Policy Institute released a report detailing some of the policy highlights, more than a dozen changes ranging from skyrocketing border and interior immigration enforcement costs to changes in the way we travel (for example, U.S. citizens must now present passports when returning by land, even if it's from a quick day trip to Tijuana).
Beyond immigration policy, there have been legislative changes such as the still-active Patriot Act, along with less direct but powerful shifts in the nation's immigration climate that have had led to enforcement-friendly policies and increasingly strict immigration measures at the state level. Less quantifiable, but important still, have been attitudinal changes, particularly toward Muslims, which continue to affect immigrants today.
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Marchers in downtown Los Angeles rallying for immigration reforms on May 1, 2006
Why is it that in spite of public opinion poll support for broad immigration reforms and two presidents who have pushed for it recently, such initiatives have fallen short in the last decade?
The Migration Policy Institute examines the fate of immigration reform attempts in the post-9/11 era in a new report authored by Marc Rosenblum, an immigration policy specialist with the Congressional Research Service. From the executive summary:
The election of George W. Bush in 2000 seemed to mark a turning point in US immigration policy. Thirty- five years after the last major changes to the US immigration system, and two decades into an increasingly assertive, but mostly ineffective, immigration enforcement policy, the Republican president seemed to see immigration as offering important benefits to the US economy.
He called for a new and large-scale temporary worker program, saw the growing Hispanic population as important swing voters, and met five times in nine months with Mexico’s newly elected president, Vicente Fox.
But migration negotiations with Mexico collapsed following the terrorist attacks against the United States in September 2001. In the post-9/11 period, Congress passed a series of tough measures to tighten border security and facilitate data collection and information sharing on suspected terrorists, and broadened the government’s power to detain and deport immigrants.
Both Presidents Bush and Barack Obama have supported broader immigration reforms. Yet, while Congress took up “comprehensive immigration reform” (CIR) bills (i.e., legislation combining enforcement, legalization, and changes to the visa system) in 2006 and 2007, it did not deliver a bill for the president’s signature. Legislative action in 2009-10 was limited to debate on a legalization proposal focusing on unauthorized youth (the DREAM Act) — a proposal that was defeated on a procedural vote in the Senate.