There is no evidence that any Muslims in New Jersey cheered in support of the terrorist attacks, and police have debunked the idea, although it has persisted as an Internet rumor in the years since 2001. Instead, Muslims in New Jersey remembered losing friends, fearing for their community and learning to fight discrimination in the aftermath of the terrorist attack that changed the nation.
Other Muslims from New Jersey described the terror they felt on 9/11 after two planes flew into the twin towers in lower Manhattan. Abdul Mubarak-Rowe's first memory of the tragic day as a journalist at CNN during the attacks was a producer screaming, “Get the shot! Hold the shot steady,” along with a number of other exclamations. Mubarak-Rowe rushed into the room and saw footage of smoke billowing from the north tower of the World Trade Center.
“We had a terrace in the back that faced south, and we could look at the towers. We went back there and looked at the tower that was in flames, and then I saw the second plane hit the second tower,” Mubarak-Rowe recalled. “When I personally saw that second tower get hit, I knew it was no accident.”
Mubarak-Rowe, who is now the communications director for the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group, said that soon after the plane hijackings he spoke to his daughter and wife on the phone. Once he was certain they were safe, he and other prominent Muslims began reaching out to civic and political leaders on the day of the terrorist attacks. They knew they needed to be on the lookout for anti-Muslim sentiment, and Mubarak-Rowe said New Jersey leaders were eager to help. Read More
In the weeks since terrorists killed 130 people in Paris and wounded hundreds more, bullet holes were found at a mosque in Conneticut threats were called in to two others in Florida and a man left a fake bomb outside a fourth in Virginia.
And Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who had already suggested a registry for Muslims, revived a debunked claim that they celebrated in the streets of New Jersey as the Twin Towers fell.
Comments like Trump's are fueling Islamaphobia across the country, said Abdul Mubarak-Rowe, the communications director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. So are comments from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who said that not even Syrian orphans younger than 5 should be admitted to the United States.
"Of course we are very disturbed by what we are hearing and what are seeing," Mubarak-Rowe said. "It's very unfortunate that these candidates seem to want to promote bigotry and racism in order to appeal to a very narrow base of their constituency." Read More
Trump's remarks are an insult to Muslims who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. The candidate has also called for American Muslims to be registered in a database and to carry a special ID card, and for mosques to be shut down. His hateful rhetoric is particularly vile given that many of the people who lost family members also experienced Islamophobia in the wake of the terror attacks.
Abdul Mubarak-Rowe, communications director for the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Trump was "cashing in on the xenophobia and bigotry and the hatred in his base to propel him forward."
"Unfortunately bigotry sells, racism sells, and Islamophobia sells to some segments of the American society," she said. "He knows how to push their buttons and that Muslims are the scapegoat du jour and he plays on that."
"He should really be ashamed," Mubarak-Rowe added. "This is what fuels hatred and violence towards Muslims." Read More