Yahoo! is asking Americans how September 11 changed them. Below is an account from a reader.
One thing you can't do is hide your religion if you're a Muslim woman in a post-9/11 country. My husband was scared for me when I decided to cover my hair and body, known as hijab, after the Twin Tower attacks of 9/11. That day in September 2001 changed us all as we watched the first tower, then the plane, and then the second tower -- and then the fall. That collapse changed our country forever, and it brought huge visibility to my religion, Islam.
Not only did I decide to cover myself after 9/11, but I had only converted to Islam shortly after the attacks as well. Being Muslim in a country attacked by Islamic extremists where most people don't know the difference between an extremist and a moderate and living in a sleepy, country county in rural Florida, I've become much stronger since 9/11.
[Your story: How has September 11 changed you?]
I've been attacked myself, and subsequently developed the defense of a thick skin. I'm always ready for that rude comment, cold stare, or when someone jumps, jolted when they first see that there's a Muslim in the same store as them. It's as if they're waiting for me to start screaming like a banshee and pull out some kind of weapon from my purple leather purse. Although I've never been physically assaulted, I've received verbal attacks that remind me of how ignorant a lot of people are about the religion.
9/11 has opened an opportunity for Americans to ask questions about Islam, and for that I'm grateful. I'm proud to represent my Muslim faith in such a visible way after so many Americans have pinpointed Islam as the enemy after 9/11. September 11, 2001, impacted us all, and no one watching that day can say they didn't feel like a part of them was lost when the towers fell and the papers flew through the air. This is my America too!