In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Donald Trump claimed Saturday that he saw thousands of Arab Americans in New Jersey cheering when the twin towers collapsed on Sept. 11.
He told the anchor of the show, George Stephanopoulos, “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations.”
The mayor of Jersey City, Steven Fulop, replied to Trump in a tweet:
Perhaps it’s a suitable time to remind Mr. Trump of his own insensitive reaction following the collapse of the World Trade Center.
In an interview with Page Six on Sept. 18, 2001, Trump said, “To be blunt, they were not ‘great’ buildings. They only became great upon their demise last Tuesday.”
Here’s a reality check, Mr. Trump.
My mother was right across the Hudson River on that tragic day. She wasn’t cheering or overwhelmed with joy. She was spat on and cursed at by strangers who told her to “go back to her country” just for wearing a headscarf that served to manifest her faith — not to make a political statement against the United States.
She had just dropped my brother and me off at our Islamic school in Jersey City and was driving to Newport Centre Mall near the Holland Tunnel. There was traffic everywhere. As she sat in her car waiting for traffic to move, she witnessed large clouds of black smoke emerging from the New York skyline. She began noticing that people in surrounding cars were giving her mean and spiteful looks.
She cranked up 1010 WINS to see what was going on.
After learning of the despicable events in downtown Manhattan, she immediately drove back to take my brother and me home, fearing that bigots would attack a school full of Muslim kids as revenge.
On our way back home, drivers continued to spew hateful rhetoric, give her the middle finger and cut her off with three kids in the car.
“I was wrongfully accused of something I wasn’t even a part of, something I didn’t even commit.”
It wasn’t a glorious day. It was an unforgettable and dark one, clouded by confusion, fear and hate.
When I read Trump’s erroneous and inappropriate remarks, I was enraged. I asked my mom to recall how she felt that day to the best of her ability. She recollected, “I remember everything very vividly. It’s a day I can’t forget and won’t forget. I was wrongfully accused of something I wasn’t even a part of, something I didn’t even commit. And because I wore a hijab, I was an easy target.”
Despite my mom’s negative experience directly after 9/11 for wearing the hijab, she didn’t dissuade me when I decided to wrap one around my own head a few years later.
Rather, her resilience and strength in the face of downright racism inspired me.
The only cheering I find troubling is that coming from Trump fans, who support blatant racism and ignorance.
Image from Wikipedia