'The 9/11 attacks did effect Indians in the US'
IBNLive spoke to Soubir Acharya, Founder and Board Member, Kubisys, about the worst terror attack in the US.
New Delhi: Ten years after September 11, 2001, the people in the United States have moved on, but, the horror of the worst terrorist attack remains as a nightmare on their minds.
The few hours of terror changed America and thereafter, the lives of the people in America is not what it was before September 11, 2011.
IBNLive spoke to Soubir Acharya, Founder and Board Member, Kubisys, who experienced the 9/11 attack in the US.
IBNLive: Please narrate your experiences at the exact moment of September 11, 2001.
Soubir Acharya: I was driving across a bridge north of the city, on a clear September day when I heard the news on the car radio. The towers were visible from the bridge. At the moment I had no idea what was about to unfold. The day was fraught with anxiety and a struggle to get back home with roads and bridges closed in the early afternoon.
IBNLive: Do you believe, as a New Yorker, that the city famous for its cosmopolitanism and welcoming atmosphere underwent a major attitudinal change post-9/11 in terms of the people's and the administration's attitude towards immigrants and specially the Muslim people?
Soubir Acharya: I don't think so. Although I don't deny that there were some isolated incidents in the aftermath, the city rebounded nicely.
IBNLive: Did 9/11 bring Muslims in the US more into the mainstream or did it lead to self-ghettoization?
Soubir Acharya: I have extensive interaction with members of the community and would think that a sizeable portion of the community took pains in getting more involved in the community. There was outreach to law enforcement.
IBNLive: Honestly, do you think it has become more uncomfortable for Muslims and even Indian Muslims to live in the US? I mean: Are they subject to more scrutiny than a non-Muslim resident?
Soubir Acharya: Yes, they are subject to incrementally more scrutiny but nothing significant. Most people trust their neighbours regardless of religious and/or cultural affiliations.
IBNLive: How do you think 9/11 affected the Indian community in New York and US? Or is an Indian Muslim more comfortable there as compared to an Arab Muslim?
Soubir Acharya: Indians are no strangers to terrorism and it did effect them. Reflexively they felt close to both the victims and perpetrators.
Yes, Indian Muslims are more integrated into the mainstream than those from the Arab world.
IBNLive: Homeland Security has beefed up vigilance and monitor electronic messages more robustly in the aftermath of 9/11. Do you think this has made the city and the country a lot safer? Or do you think it has become really intrusive?
Soubir Acharya: Perhaps, as there is no hard data to prove this yet. Yes, it is more intrusive, especially with regards to financial transactions. But most people consider this a necessary evil.
IBNLive: Did 9/11 change the way you thought about the world in any manner?
Soubir Acharya: Yes, we lost our innocence. Perhaps a consequence of globalization. The first reactions were that of a lot of camaradirie with my adopted county but was left with a sense of something broken, both with relation to the world and our somewhat conflicted position as new immigrants.
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