Posted on September 7, 2011 at 9:45 PM
As Muslims mark the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan they celebrate the beginning of Eed, as it's called. It's when Muslims seek to strengthen community bonds. Bonds that over the past ten years have been broken.
"As media gives them more time, they get more out there, the radicals," said Mansoor Junezo.
Junezo considers himself a devout Muslim. He is here every year. The "radicals" he refers to, are what he calls the Muslim minority.
"Islam always gives the meaning of peace but it's the radical people who try to portray it in different ways," said Junezo.
It's a distinction Junezo must constantly make. On the street, at work and even going to mosque. There are times when he feels like a moving target.
"Should we stand there or should she go alone if she's wearing a scarf or headband so it's always in the back of our head now," said Junezo.
Back at the home he shares with his wife and 3-month-old son, Junezo has almost come to accept discrimination and racial profiling in the post-9/11 era.
"If we sit down and say it's not fair, it's not gonna go anywhere," said Junezo.
What he doesn't accept, is a common misperception that all Muslims are terrorists, a myth he says is perpetuated by the media.
"The media kinda gives the idea to average Americans that Muslims are against you or want to hurt you," said Junezo.
Junezo came here 15 years ago from Pakistan for a better education and a better job. He says he's living the American Dream, minus some of the conveniences many take for granted.
"I don't think in the last ten years I've crossed any airport in the world without getting an extra checking," said Junezo.
Life is dramatically different for Junezo and his family. He remembers very well the day it changed.
"I didn't believe it at first, two planes going into a building who would imagine that?" said Junezo.
And in the ten years since that day, Junezo never imagined how a radical few would hijack a religion in the name of hate. So he continues to preach love and tolerance. His growing family is depending on it.
"This is my homeland now, I am a citizen here this is my country. It doesn't matter how hard it gets we will stay here and tough it out," said Junezo.
An American life in limbo. But one this family wouldn't trade for the world.