Fear Mongering Post 9-11 and the Muslim Conflict

Subject: Sociology
Type: Argumentative Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 855
Topics: Immigration, Military Science, Race, Terrorism
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The terrorist attacks on the US soil and multiple American Embassies on September 11th, 2001 (9/11), made a significant bearing on the Muslims. It put Muslims into a new intensity of national and international limelight, making Islam the prime target of hate crimes, religious bigotry, anti-terrorism measures, and media hype (Gould & Klor, 2016). Indeed, the impact of 9/11 attacks on the Muslim Community cannot be underrated. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the aspects of fear-mongering in the aftermath of 9/11.

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Historical Patterns

The most recent demographic data indicates that over 3.5 million Americans, which represents roughly 1% of American population, trace their roots to the Arab countries like Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and Yemen (Ajrouch & Shin, 2018). Arabs are the original natives of the Arabian Peninsula where Islam first emerged around 7th Century AD. In the modern era, Ajrouch and Shin (2018), assert that the word ‘Arab’ is both a linguistic, cultural and political designation which cradles a multitude of national and regional groups, including minority non-Muslims.

Arab immigration to the U.S. began in the 1880’s, and their populations have been progressively increasing. Predominantly, Arabs occupy the states of Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, California, Illinois, and New York (Ajrouch & Shin, 2018). There has, however, been standardization of Arabs since the 1990s which make most people conceal their ethnic origin, leading to a considerable discrepancy in demographic data.

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The relationship between Arabs and the Americans has been quite dynamic. Immigrants before the Second World War were hardly recognized by the host community. However, according to Garner and Selod (2015), the Arab-Israeli war of 1967 and 1973, together with the Arab oil embargo and oil price surges have significantly soured the relationship. Muslims and Arabs have been disparaged as religious fanatics, greedy oil sheiks, and bloodthirsty terrorists. The 9/11 attacks worsened the situation, subjecting Muslims to bigotry, surveillance and hate crimes, notwithstanding the religious freedom in America.

My Impression of the Muslim Community

My impression of the community in America is quite contrary to the commonly embraced stereotypes. Just like their brothers abroad, Muslims in America are peace-loving and quite humane, notwithstanding the common belief that they are bloodthirsty terrorists. Having interacted with a number of Muslims, and having done extensive research on Muslim community, I find the stereotypes quite inaccurate, baseless, and misleading. However, I would not completely dismiss the validity of such stereotypes because a majority of terror groups across the globe hail from Arab countries.

How Movies Depict War and Muslim Community

American movies depict Muslim Community as a dreadful extremist group, which is constantly a threat to America’s peace. I would cement the base of my observation with reference to the 2016 TV show, ‘Designated Survivor’. The movie begins with the bombing of US Capitol during a State of the Union address, killing the president and the whole cabinet. The first and prime suspect is Al Shakaar, an Arab. The movie depicts Afghans as fearsome warlords, with FBI reporting that Mullah Bahri and Mullah Fayad, the most powerful warlords in Afghanistan are planning major attacks on U.S. soil. This is a stereotypical portrayal of a minority group, which leads to nothing less than ethnic bigotry and chauvinism.

Alsultany (2016) observes that the political thrillers like ‘Designated Survivor’, and other American movies have excessively delved into widely held stereotypes to reinforce the drama and does not endeavor to dampen the tension that already exists based on such issues. There are several other movies that depict Muslim community as an insurgent determined to wage war against the U.S. and the stigma is not likely to plummet if no sound policy is implemented against the production of such a skewed media representation of Arabs.

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Structural Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interaction

According to structural functionalism, the society is a complex system whose members seek to promote stability and solidarity (Omi & Winant, 2014). Indeed, the daily life of doctors, taxi drivers, or even the dollar store expressly portrays unity. All stake players in these walks of life interact in such a manner as to promote stability. Nonetheless, there are noticeable elements of prejudice in the conduct of a few people. For instance, some healthcare providers treat Arabs with contempt and suspicion.  Both symbolic interactionism and conflict theories are also in tandem with the structural functionalism and help to understand the nation-state of the U.S.

How Police, FBI, NSA, and Homeland Security Should Interact with Mosques

It is an undeniable fact that the conduct of a few people can determine the fate of many. However, I think subjecting Muslims to scrutiny and surveillance by such protectionist groups as FBI, NSA and police are cruel, unfair, and contrary to the religious freedom that the U.S. prides herself on. Therefore, Muslims should be allowed to worship without any such interference from police or any other protection group. Instead, the protection agencies should trust the patriotic Muslims to report any suspicious activities that occur in their mosques. In that way all citizens will be able to enjoy religious liberty without fear or scare.

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  1.  Ajrouch, K. J., & Shin, H. J. (2018). Twilight of Ethnic Identity? Implication of Mixed Ancestries Among Arab Americans. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 19(1), 59-73.
  2. Alsultany, E. (2016). Arabs and Muslims in the US-American Media Before and After 9/11. Media and Minorities. Questions on Representation from an International Perspective, 104-117.
  3. Garner, S., & Selod, S. (2015). The racialization of Muslims: empirical studies of Islamophobia. Critical Sociology, 41(1), 9-19.
  4. Gould, E. D., & Klor, E. F. (2016). The Long‐run Effect of 9/11: Terrorism, Backlash, and the Assimilation of Muslim Immigrants in the West. The Economic Journal, 126(597), 2064-2114.
  5. Omi, M., & Winant, H. (2014). Racial formation in the United States. Routledge.
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