South Asian Americans Seek Return to Diversity Ideals

Washington, Sep 16 (IANS): Documenting the experiences of South Asian Americans in the decade after the 9/11 terror attacks, a community organisation has suggested steps to ensure American ideals of diversity, inclusion and equality.

Looking back at the past decade, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), in a report entitled, Community Resilience recounts the experiences of South Asians who suffered loss as a result of the Sep 11, 2001 tragedy as well as examples of best practices around community collaborations.

The report, complemented with pictures and stories, takes note of backlash suffered by South Asian communities living in the US; bias-based bullying at schools; workplace discrimination; racial and religious profiling; and, Islamophobia and attacks on faith.

In the face of these challenges, the report also presents the stories of success, resistance and resilience of individuals, organizations and communities.

"Over the past decade, South Asian, Muslim, Sikh and Arab, Muslim, Sikh and Arab American organizations have been instrumental in developing resources, creating safe spaces for those affected by post 9/11 backlash, shifting the public conversation, and advocating with government agencies and policymakers," said SAALT's Executive Director, Deepa Iyer.

"As we look ahead, we must continue to build strong partnerships to create an America that belongs to all of us," she said noting the impact of the post 9/11 backlash continues today.

Many South Asian, especially those of Sikh and Muslim faiths, endured bigotry and harassment at workplaces, schools, and at airports after 9/11, according to the report.

Still others became ensnared in never-ending government investigations that scrutinised their personal and professional lives for any traces of terrorist activity or affiliations. Several were detained and deported in connection to immigration and national security investigations, it said.


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