On August 28, for the first time after the end of his presidency, George W. Bush, spoke to National Geographic TV on 9/11, describing it as a monumental day which changed my presidency. It also changed America and the lives of Muslims in America. When the earthquake hit Washington, DC, on August 23, the first instinct of many was that it was another attack. Cultivating fear has its own blowback effects. Since September 11, 2001, one fact is undisputed - the world has become neither a safer, nor a better place. Pervasive insecurity has been globalised. Air travel has become a vexing inconvenience. Train travel is viewed with trepidation. The language in diplomatic discourse has become ugly, with terms like Islamofascism used loosely and frequently. The environment of fear and suspicion has yet to be quelled. Racism and extremism are again becoming acceptable in respectable company. The Middle East is embroiled in turmoil, and South Asia remains a flashpoint. Palestine and Kashmir remain at a standstill. In the Arab world, the masses have risen and are storming the Bastille. What are the lessons? Shattered have been American claims of being 'an indispensable sole superpower. Second, the cycle of confrontation is paving the path for apocalyptic nihilism. Third, non-state actors are shaping world events. Fourth, the folly of overuse of force has been exposed. Failures, fears, and frustrations are simmering and bubbling over into the domain of the seven million US Muslim community. Issues like Shariah and the building of mosques are being magnified and are being manufactured to generate hysteria on the national stage. Also, with the Presidential polls looming ahead, it is a disguised attack on Barack Obama, who is seen by one-fifth of the US electorate as a 'closet Muslim. While in the Muslim world, the fringe talks extreme, in the West, sometimes the extreme is firmly entrenched within the mainstream. Hate begets hate. In post-9/11 America, an industry has sprouted centred around peddling fear, hate, and paranoia. One prime beneficiary of this climate of xenophobia has been the emergence of the neo-fascist Tea Party, which has gained salience by having its candidate, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, contest for the presidency. In the likely scenario that her bid fades, Tea Party activists are poised to endorse Texas Governor Rick Perry to be the Republican nominee for the presidency. While the Tea Party has made Muslim-bashing a staple diet of its campaign, what is particularly conspicuous is the absence of a coherent and effective counter-argument from the Muslim community. It is this fragility on the national stage that has lent Muslims to be easily scapegoated as bogeymen. Indeed, it has become fashionable and politically profitable to do so. With 9/11, facts changed on the ground for US Muslims - but their priorities and approach have not. A decade after the atrocity, Muslims have reached the crossroads of choice. Either they choose to seize the day and aspire to be pilots of their own destiny, or they remain seated as passive passengers in a bus hurtling toward an uncertain destination. The writer is an attorney-at-law, writer, and policy analyst based in Washington DC. He is the first Pakistani American member admitted to the US Supreme Court Bar.