Prejudice and Muslim immigrants

The World

Meet Mr. Hussein. He has a big smile and he smiles a lot. He owns a Blackberry and his appearance says Silicon Valley in many ways, but that isn’t true for everyone. He says he’s been called a terrorist and someone called him a stealth Islamist. He emigrated from Bangladesh 30 years ago to attend Duke University and later got a Master’s degree in economics, and has been a successful businessman. He has served on political action committees as well. In all unraveled when he pulled up to a gas station one day, and 20 Hispanic men rushed his truck. They were looking for day labor. One man said they couldn’t go home because they didn’t really have a home. So the man called some Muslim friends and businesses and in a couple hours, they raised enough money to purchase coats for the day laborers. Then he went a step further, and helped set up some tents in a parking lot which offered food and language classes. A local paper named Hussein its 2004 Citizen of the Year and the local Republican Party honored him, but several right wing blogs saw things differently. The accusations became more and more removed from reality, and soon Hussein was being linked to Al Qaeda. Blogs started quoting other blogs and the slander spread. The accusations were rubbish but it took a toll and soon he couldn’t find new jobs, and he had to move his family to a more affordable part of the state. He says last year he earned only $20,000. It’s been tough for him to find hirers who will take on his baggage. This analyst says Muslims are paying a high price for getting involved in political action. As for Hussein, he says he won’t curtail his political activism. This week Hussein’s organization endorsed Obama for President.

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