River Edge, New Jersey, a borough of roughly 11,000 people, is where Ameer Alsamman grew up. He’s a first-generation American, his parents having moved here from Syria. The world was forever changed after Sept. 11, 2001 and so was life for Alsamman. He was in the 2nd grade when the bullying started.
“I would you know hear everything from terrorist, Bin Laden, Saddam, go blow yourself up,” he remembers. It lasted until 8th grade, when Alsamman moved to Syria with his family. Now a political legal consultant in Washington D.C., he has won numerous awards in diplomacy and says it was his experience being bullied that fuels his desire to enact change.
As thousands of Afghan refugees now living at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst will soon make their new homes in communities in New Jersey and across the U.S., we examine how Islamophobia took hold after 9/11 and why it’s still a concern two decades later.