Yesterday marked the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and as the #AfterSeptember11 hashtag makes clear, the popular remembrances of that day often uphold a message of unity in the face of adversity while ignoring a huge group of people who are ongoing victims in the aftermath of the attacks: the Muslim, Arab, South Asian and Sikh Americans who still live in fear of Islamophobic hate and violence.
As the Los Angeles Times reported last year, the hashtag—which seeks to tell many of their forgotten stories—first emerged on the 14th anniversary. "America needs to recognize that the trauma and repercussions of these attacks were not confined to the day of September 11, 2001, itself," said hashtag creator Jessica Talwar on its necessity. "Desis, Arabs and Muslims have felt the impact of this day for 14 years."
The hashtag returned this year, with harrowing stories and messages of consolation from members of the aforementioned groups and their allies to counter the narrative perpetrated by #NeverForget and similar hashtags that erase both domestic Islamophobia and international violence against Muslims:
Muslims and Sikhs, along all brown skinned Americans, were blamed for a heinous crime they didn’t commit. #afterseptember11
— Desi Girl Problems (@My_DesiGirl) September 12, 2016
#afterseptember11 my dad was held at gun point while leaving work and was forced to apologize for a crime he didn’t commit
— – (@sincerelyaneeza) September 11, 2016
"Don’t tell anyone ur from Pakistan" "Just don’t mention anything about Islam"
This is what my reality has been I was 6 #AfterSeptember11
— Fatima (@kidrauhlourhero) September 11, 2016
These #AfterSeptember11 tweets from Muslims and Sikhs are so sad. After 15 years we still get blamed for doing something we had no link to
— Junaid (@YourAboo) September 11, 2016
rip to all of the desi/arab folks who lost their lives and identities to hate crimes and stereotypes #afterseptember11
— morgan (@_xnagrom) September 11, 2016
— Faran (@Raizand_) September 11, 2016
#afterseptember11 my grandfather was beaten up on his way to the mosque. They didn’t know he’d just lost his daughter on 9/11..
— – (@TheChickenEater) September 11, 2016
why do white people refuse to accept any responsibility for slavery yet hold the entire middle east accountable for 9/11…#afterseptember11
— brenda (@brendasauruss) September 12, 2016
2 kinds of 9/11 victims. Ones that died that day, and ones still being attacked for something they weren’t responsible for #afterseptember11
— kayla milligan (@kaylajmilligan) September 12, 2016
Even Ahmed Mohamed, the boy led away from his Texas school in handcuffs for bringing a homemade clock to school that authorities thought was a bomb, tweeted with the hashtag:
— Ahmed Mohamed (@IStandWithAhmed) September 11, 2016