NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

CNHI Special Projects

September 8, 2011

Muslim-Americans say their faith hijacked

LAWRENCE, Mass. — He's lived in Lawrence, Mass., for 13 years. He speaks fluent English. He is on the local zoning board and he's running for election to the school committee.

Couldn't get much more American than that.

Yet when Kemal Bozkurt travels — especially to and from his homeland of Turkey — he is treated like a criminal.

"I don't have a problem personally in the city or in my job," said Bozkurt, a librarian at the Lawrence Public Library. "But Muslim-Americans have been affected negatively. With Homeland Security, there is a paranoia."

Every summer, Bozkurt takes a trip to Turkey to visit relatives. And every year since 9/11, he has been detained on his return, sometimes for three or four hours, by government agents who ask the same questions over and over while his wife and children wait.

"When will this end?" asks an exasperated Bozkurt. "There are bad people in every culture and every religion. But because of a few bad people, we are all penalized."

As the nation reflects on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, perhaps no group of people in this country has been more adversely affected than Muslim-Americans. Whether it's profiling by airport security or anti-Islam slurs by bigots, Muslim-Americans have put up with a lot, said Bozkurt.

But it's not all bad, he said, noting the flip side of 9/11 has been the bringing together of people of different faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities.

"After Sept. 11, there were some good things," Bozkurt said. "Many Americans didn't listen to the media and the politicians. They found a Koran and learned what is Islam. When they found the real Muslim, they found that we don't kill. It's impossible," sad Bozkurt.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
CNHI Special Projects

Offbeat
NDN Video
Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans