Muslim Discrimination Post 9/11 in History

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Before September 11th, 2001, Muslims in America were treated indifferently. Middle Easterners were not discriminated against and could practice their religion openly without being afraid. However, these basic freedoms changed for Muslim-Americans after 2001. Almost three thousand American citizens died from the terrorist attack that was carried out by Al-Qaeda, The world turned cold to people who had similar features and religion of the terrorists. (Roach, 1). Days after the deadly strike, President George W. Bush publicly stated to the world that the United States formally declared a “War on Terror.” This phrase meant that the U.S. and its allies would attempt to eliminate terrorist groups and countries which funded the extremist groups (CNN, 2001).

This declaration made by President Bush was bad news to Islamic-Americans. Following the attack, Muslims found themselves being discriminated against when searching for employment, applying for housing, walking in the streets, and other basic activities which they freely participated in before 9/11. After the events transpired on September 11th, the American people began to have a suspicion against any person that looked like they could be associated with a terrorist organization. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2016, fifty percent of Muslims in the United States reported that after 9/11 there were and are still many hardships (Santhanam, 2018). Muslims became the target of violent hate crimes. For example, a young girl at Baylor University was targeted by other students. The attacker ripped off her hijab, kicked, and slapped her, resulting in a dislocated shoulder and bruises on her ribs.

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The FBI also reported that in 2001, there were 93 attacks on Muslim-Americans and in the year 2011 there were 127 racial profiling brutal outbursts (Santhanam, 2018). Since 2011, the numbers have only increased. There are possibly even more attacks that do not get reported due to the anxiousness of getting harassed even more. Just this month in New Zealand, there was an attack on a mosque and fifty of innocent people of Islamic faith were slain while they were in the mosque praying. The shooter was sympathetic to the Nazis and he was a White Supremacist (Matthew McKew, 2019). Just because of Islamophobia, American citizens have targeted Muslims, even though these innocent people were not provoking the violent outbursts. After the hijacks, a new law was signed and passed by Congress that created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). TSA was given the responsibility of enforcing security on the airplanes and in the airports. The organization was given the clearance to scan all flyers and search their carry-on luggage if a red flag appears. In addition to being intensely trained for possible terrorist threats, the hired employees all have to consent to a background check (Seidenstat, 285). Consequently, this law has negatively impacted Muslims in America because many Americans discriminate against them in the airport. Just recently, a famous comedian named Jess Hilarious was uncomfortable flying with a Sikh who had a turban on. She made a huge scene before the plane took off and the Muslim man and his family were removed from the plane.

A poll conducted in the United States by the Asian American Law Journal shows that more than fifty percent of Americans support more detailed screens for Muslim-Americans in airports (Chandrasekhar, 2003). However, the majority of Muslims are not bad people, and the vast majority condemned al-Qaeda’s attack. More than 10 groups, including groups like the American Muslim Alliance and the American Muslim Council, released a statement shortly after the attack that essentially stated Muslim-Americans opinion on the situation. In the statement it said that Islamic-Americans did not support the decision to attack thousands of innocent Americans and that Muslims across the world wanted to reprimand the terrorists just as much as other citizens (The American Muslim, 2002). Following al Qaeda’s premeditated attack, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EPC) reported the Muslim-Americans have had a tough time finding jobs (Epstein, 2011). Although Muslims only make up around two percent of the United States, at least twenty percent of cases that were brought to the EPC’s attention were from Islamic-Americans. The University of Connecticut’s team of sociologists conducted research and found that in the Northeast and South, Muslims have the short end of the stick in the hiring process. In this experiment, the team made up fake candidates in Massachusetts (some Muslim and some not).

The ones that were Muslim listed that they were involved in some Muslim club. Over 6,000 made up applicants were submitted to companies, and the fake non-Muslim applicants got sixty-eight percent more emails back than the Muslim applicants did. In the south, the results were similar, with non-Muslims receiving sixty-percent more callbacks than Muslims (Equal Rights Center, 2016). Similar to the University of Connecticut’s study, Carnegie Mellon University attempted to see the effect that ethnicity had on the hiring process. Researchers also created fictitious Christian, Muslim, homosexual, and heterosexual applicants. The Carnegie Mellon team concluded that when companies looked at social media and saw what the applicants looked like, they tended to pick Christian applicants over Muslims (seventeen percent compared to two percent), especially in states that vote for conservative candidates generally (Equal Rights Center, 2016). There is also discrimination in the housing market against both Arabs and Muslims. Due to the fact that these two marginalized groups tend to have lower paying jobs, they are at a disadvantage when it comes to purchasing or renting a home. Landlords may choose other applicants who have a higher income because they believe that Muslims do not make a high enough income and might not be able to pay their rent on time (Ahmend, 79). In the same study, an experiment was conducted where fake applicants showed interest in applying to lease an apartment.

The candidates with American names received more calls of interest than the people with Arabic names did (Ahmend, 90). To take this a step further, in 2013 the Pew Research Center, three percent of discrimination (when it came to housing) had to deal with religion. This percent is probably incorrect though, since a decent amount of Muslims are born abroad and are unaware of anti-house discrimination laws, therefore, they do not know to report an immoral situation (Kohut et al. 2011). In the media, there are feelings of Islamophobia everywhere. According to a study initiated by Georgia State University, terrorist attacks that are caused by Muslims are covered 357% more covered than attacks that are planned and carried out by non-Muslims. The research concluded that religion was the main factor for the coverage given to the attack because Americans are more afraid of Muslims carrying out a planned attack, rather than a different ethnicity. Muslims who are not born in the United States, but attacked domestically received the highest amount of attention in the media. In 136 terrorists attacked that happened in the United States between 2006 and 2015, Muslims were in the wrong in 12.5 of the assaults, however these situations where at least fifty percent of what the media talked about (Georgia State University, 2019).

There is unfair media coverage when the word “Muslim” is involved and in most situations, the Muslims are the bad guys because the media coverage is so biased. Popular television stations like NBC, Fox News, and CBS tend to make Muslims look like they were attached to violence and radicalism. According to a report financed by the Kuwait government, which was based on surveys and interviews with media experts, out of 2,420 people forty-one percent of them said that the media had an effect on their thoughts about Islamic-Americans. About 3/4 of the participants claimed that the media was unbiased around half of the time when reporting about Muslims (The Guardian, 2005). If that many Americans are influenced by the media and the media puts of Islamophobic news stories, more Americans will be swayed into having negative opinions about the presence of Muslims in the United States. After al-Qaeda terrorists attacked several locations in the United States, Muslim-Americans were stripped of their rights. Since the tragic events on 9/11, Muslims have been looked down upon by other Americans and are vicious targets of hate-crimes. They have had a difficult time finding jobs, which leads to having a lower income and not being able to afford housing. A good majority of Islamic-Americans are turned away from housing opportunities because of their ethnic names.

In airports especially, any person who resembles a terrorist is subject to harassment. Even wearing a turban is considered dangerous to some Americans. The year 2001 was bad news for Muslims living in America and they have gone through many hardships, even though they were not involved in the premeditated attack on United States soil.

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Muslim Discrimination Post 9/11 In History. (2021, Mar 01). Retrieved from