Blood drive held to mark 9/11 anniversary


Those community members are doing it in the form of a blood drive, and it's not just happening in the Bay Area. The blood drives are taking place across the country to mark the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. The campaign is called "Muslims for Life" and the goal is to save 30,000 lives through 10,000 bags of blood.

From property vandalism to being profiled at the airport, the decade since September 11 has been a painful one for many Muslim Americans. While many say the terrorist attack only made life more difficult for Muslims in the United States, a group of Bay Area Muslims are taking time out to remember all the lives lost by saving lives through a blood drive.

"This is important for other people to know that we are just as much against any violence, any terrorism out there," said Nadia Malik.

At the Silicon Valley chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Center, it wasn't just Muslims who filled every available donation slot.

"I just feel like I do what I can to raise awareness that Muslims are our brothers and sisters, just like anyone in our community," said San Jose resident Pattie Cortese.

A new poll by the Pew Research Center found that Muslims continue to feel targeted by America's war on terrorism. According to the study, a majority of Muslims believe it is more difficult to be a Muslim in the United States since September 11.

The poll also found that 52 percent of Muslim Americans surveyed say Muslims, as a group, are singled out for surveillance by government-sponsored anti-terrorism policies. According to the poll, 43 percent also say they've personally experienced harassment during the past year.

Inside mosques around America, Imams say the fight against extremism continues.

"They have damaged us more than the so-called 'real enemies,' because they are hurting us from within," said Imam Mubasher Ahmad.

With that fight against extremism also comes a fight against misconceptions.

"For us, it's a matter of continuing to educate Americans," said Muhammed Chaudhry, "slowly but surely, to say 'here's what the truth is' and to demonstrate that through our actions."

The Pew Research Center study of Muslim Americans is one of the most extensive ever of the country's Muslim population and, even though many Muslims say life in this country can be difficult, most say they are satisfied with the direction things are headed.

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