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Friday, May 20, 2005

MD Paper: "Muslim community: large but invisible"

The Owings Mills Times (MD) discusses the efforts of Bash Pharoan, co-founder of the Baltimore County Muslim Council, to increase the visibility of Muslim-Americans in his community. Although there are many Muslims in his area, according to Pharoan, others do not know of their presence or their contribution to local businesses, the provision of health care services, etc. In Pharoan's words:

Post 9-11, our community was hit twice. First of all, we were hit by the events themselves. [The] second hit [came in the form of] racial profiling and discrimination.... We really felt like the Japanese-Americans in World War II, minus the internment.... We knew we weren't going to be physically interned, but it was electronic internment, mental internment.
It was the suspicion of Muslims that resulted after 9/11 that prompted Pharoan "to make their voices heard more clearly in the political process and their presence felt more in mainstream culture."

The article is worth reading, as it explains the many ways in which Pharoan and his Council have taken a proactive approach to civic involvement and have increased awareness of Muslim-Americans as a result.

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