WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Muslims Shared Grief and Horror on 9/11

MACOMB, IL – Dr. Mohammad Siddiqi is director of the journalism program at Western Illinois University. He remembers driving to the work at Western Illinois University and hearing the news of the attacks on the radio. He, like most Americans, thought the first airplane crashing into the World Trade Center was a terrible accident. He began his first class of the day with a sense of dread-that something terrible was happening. He said just after class began his secretary knocked on the door and told him classes were cancelled. "I was shocked. I was speechless for a while. Also horrified. Words cannot describe my feelings."

WIU associate professor of English Dr. Shazia Rahman was living in Seattle at the time. She said she watched the TV coverage closely. Rahman shows documentaries on 9-11 in her classes. She said one film shows people who jumped to their deaths from the World Trade Center rather than die in the fire. She said, "The more you watch the more you realize what is happening. And then when it dawns on you it's even more horrifying."

Chris Sameer is president of the Muslim Student Association at WIU. He was in middle school 10 years ago. He, like Dr. Siddiqi, thought the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center as the result of an accident. He remembered one teacher saying "This is a day you'll remember for the rest of your life." Sameer said he realized the importance of the day when his father's business meeting in Chicago was cancelled because of safety concerns.

Siddiqi said he had concerns about the violence espoused by some before 9/11. "This is not the correct way of expressing your differences with the way the West is doing things in the Muslim world." He said a violent extremism is outside the teachings of his faith.