Muslim Americans hope OBL death will ease tension

DEARBORN, Mich. - Mohsen Amen came here from Lebanon 41 years ago, married Lila and worked for three decades building American cars at Ford. They raised four children, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

But for this Muslim family the specter of Osama bin Laden and 9/11 has shadowed their lives.

"Sometimes you feel uncomfortable because people give you a look," said Mohsen. "For me, it's not as much as for my kids."

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We spoke with his children, Suehaila, a court administrator, Bilal, a public high school teacher and Shadia, a local health worker.

"Personally a lot of people didn't know I was Arab. So if you see me out and about, not too many people do," said Shadia. "But once they find out, the entire demeanor changes. Everybody closes up, gives you a different look, and it was uncomfortable."

A kind of guilt by religion. A general slur. A stain.

"I mean we've become, exactly that," said Shadia. "Now that's the stereotype."

"And that's hard," chimed in Suehaila."It's been very frustrating to have to deal with."

As Muslims, they too celebrated bin Laden's demise.

"We were just as happy," said Shadia. "I don't look at him as a Muslim. Islam does not promote what he did, and never has."

"It felt like something being taken off your shoulders," said Bilal.

Dearborn is a city of 100,000 people and 40 percent of the population is Arab-American -- the highest concentration of any American city.

Some believe with bin Laden gone, it's safe now to reach outside their community.

"It's time for us to listen to each other -- get out of the you know, behind the barricades, you know and behind defense lines, you know, and pointing fingers at each other," said Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab-American News.

The Amen family says the finger pointing should stop for a very good reason.

"At the end of the day we are Americans," said Suehaila. "We were born and raised in this country. This is our home. Yes, we trace our roots back to a different nation, but this is our home."

Just like other Americans.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.

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