Almost immediately after the devastating 9/11 attacks, society in the U.S. would experience fear-mongering, racism, and witch hunts against individuals and groups practicing Islam. Not only would this affect people on a day-to-day basis such as with incidences of discrimination, abuse, and even violence, but also through federal systems as well (Mineo, 2021). In fact, the witch hunt for supposed potential terrorists would result in the U.S. committing a number of government abuses including racial profiling, illegal detentions, secret deportations, and warrantless wiretapping (Gunter & Kieffer, 2021). The purpose of such unreasonable negative treatment of unrelated groups and individuals was for the sake of keeping citizens safe from terrorism. In fact, that was the motivating social expectation that allowed for such harmful and even criminal acts. The impact of 9/11 on the culture of the U.S. cannot be understated. A study found that after the Oklahoma City bombing, interviewed individuals reported increased worry that they or their families could be harmed by terrorism. However, the reported cases of such worries declined months later (Chang, 2017). This cannot be said for the 9/11 attacks, as respondents continue to report such worries. This illustrates that the concerns for national safety were so great they may have persuaded many to be defensive or even aggressive towards those who were used as scapegoats for the attack.
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In order to combat such popular ideas that place the blame on large groups of uninvolved people, it is important to discern the true cause of any emerging issue. It is essential to listen to the source, which in that case would include Muslim Americans, to understand whether such claims have any foundation. It is vital to avoid stereotyping and generalizations, as it is impossible for each member of any group, even religious, to have a completely unified opinion.
Chang, A. (2017). Americans’ sustained fear from 9/11 has turned into something more dangerous. Vox. Web.
Gunter, B., & Kieffer, C. (2021). Islamophobia After 9/11: How a fear mongering fringe movement exploited the terror attacks to gain political power. Southern Poverty Law Center. Web.
Mineo, L. (2021). Born to take on Islamophobia. Harvard Business Review. Web.