Metro Detroit Muslims have 'the talk' with kids about Islamophobia

When it comes to the tragedy in Chapel Hill, most Americans have probably moved on. 

But if you're a Muslim or part of the Middle Eastern community in America, it's hard to look away when the victims look like you.

FOX 2: "Was there ever a feeling that those could have been my kids?"

"Of course, instantly," said Nofila Haider.

Haider is a Muslim and is preparing her daughters Nadeen and Naveen for the likelihood they'll be viewed with suspicion, treated unfairly or worse because of their religion.

"Unfortunately we have to talk about these things," she said. "People of different races religions different cultures and I have to tell them some people don't appreciate people who are different from them."

The talk is one that Muslims and Middle Eastern parents in America have been having since 9/11 and recently, since Chapel Hill.

"My eldest son in particular, when I told him about it, he was just shaking his head," Haider said. "And he was like, 'No one likes us.'"

Black parents like Dawud Walid have been having it for decades. Walid is part of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"I have two talks with my children," Walid said. "I have to talk to them about the history of America in terms of systematic and structural racism against black folks and at the same time, in post 9/11 America talking with them in terms of Islamophobia."

He, like others, cannot help but see the killings of the three Muslim American students as an example of it.

While police maintain the shooting was over a parking space, one would be hard-pressed to find any Arab or Muslim that accepts that explanation.

"It's so sad that I had to say this but I had to tell my mom to be careful because my mom covers her hair," Haider said.

Personal injury lawyer Joumana Kayrouz is a Lebanese American Christian who at times is mistaken for a Muslim.

"The root of fear, the root of violence, is really ignorance," said Kayrouz, a personal injury lawyer.

Her daughters haven't had the talk because they look white.

"They don't have an accent," Kayrouz said. "They look very Americanized and they have very American names or American sounding names and just because of that, they haven't had to face any discrimination,"

"It's a fearsome experience. I'm not going to say I wish it upon them so they can grow from it. I'll be honest with you, as a mother I'm relieved that my daughters don't have to experience it no question about it."

Walid and Haider don't have that privilege but all are praying for the day it won't be an issue.

"We don't know enough about Muslims and Middle Easterners and we haven't made a point of knowing," Kayrouz said.

In the meantime the suspect from the Chapel Hill killings, Craig Hicks, has been indicted by a grand jury Monday.
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