CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Islamic Center of Charlotte is holding a conversation about Islamophobia on Saturday. 

The event aims to discuss whether fear, hatred or hostility against Muslims persists after Sept. 11, 2001, when an Islamic terrorist group carried out attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon.  

What You Need To Know

  • 20 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Islamic Center of Charlotte is holding a conversation about Islamophobia

  • The event, which will include dinner, aims to find whether it remains a concern in Charlotte

  • The talk will take place at 5 p.m. at the Al-Nour Community Center at 8310 Harrisburg Road

According to the Pew Research Center, even though the Muslim population has grown since then in the U.S., many Americans still know little about Islam or Muslims. 

The Pew Research Center states that even though many Americans have negative views toward Muslims or Islam, 53% say they don't know anyone who is Muslim. In addition, 52% say they don't know much or anything about Islam. Americans who know Muslims are more likely to view them in a positive light.

Shamudeen, who is the new leader, or imam, of the Islamic Center of Charlotte, said he's a better person after converting to Islam. 

However, he recalls that not everyone welcomed his religion with open arms after 9/11.

“We have been marginalized, ostracized. We have been made to feel as if we're not citizens, we are not Americans,” Shamudeen said.

 He said four of his tires were slashed, and his car was keyed in Charlotte at some point after 9/11.

 "That to me is small, property can be replaced," Shamudeen said. 

His biggest concern is people fearing Muslims when the majority of them mean well. 

"As a Muslim, we should be kind," Shamudeen said. "We should show compassion and care for everything. And if a person is cruel and he's mean, and he's harsh, then what he's doing at the time is not Islamic. Even though he may claim he's practicing Islam, he's not."

The Saturday event, which includes dinner, is open to Muslims and non-Muslims. 

"We just want to take stock of where we stand. And I would love to hear the opinion of everyone in the community, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, the elders and the youth, women, and men. How has this affected them so far? How have they coped? What are the coping techniques and mechanisms that they have utilized and what can we do individually and collectively," Shamudeen said. 

He also said if anyone is interested in knowing more about Islam, he's happy to share more about his religion with them. 

"I'm here to serve people, not only Muslims. If anyone wants to find out more about Islam, I'm here for you, I'm your imam, too," Shamudeen said. 

Shamudeen said if people knew more about Islam, they would realize we are more alike than different. 

"We want good for America and for Americans and for ourselves and our families and for all," Shamudeen said. "And if a person were to do a wrong in the name of Islam, the rest of us are not responsible for that."

The event will be held at 5 p.m. at the Al-Nour Community Center, located at 8310 Harrisburg Road in Charlotte. This location also has classrooms for the Charlotte Islamic Academy.