Protests over Muslim American discrimination in New York City

Lucy Hao
Assignment #11

The 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers is perhaps one of the most well known terrorist acts in the U.S., and it forever changed American society’s views of security and foreigners. Instigated by Islamic extremists, the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were attacked, and almost 3,000 people were killed in a matter of hours. Perhaps the most shocking was how unprepared the U.S. was for this kind of attack and how preventable it could have been. Since the attack, the U.S. has become more aware; security measures have been tightened; and the U.S. has trained and equipped its military to respond to similar attacks. However, there have also been negative changes in the U.S. due to 9/11.  One of the forgotten victims of the attack are Muslim Americans who still face prejudice and backlash today. The 9/11 attack sparked fear in the American public, and this has led to consequences for the Muslim American community. Xenophobia has been on the rise since 2001, and Muslims especially have been forced to deal with discrimination and violence.

Anti-Muslim bigotry after 9/11 instigated discrimination and violence against Muslims. Instances of schools attempting to ban hijabs and the increase in religious discrimination complaints by Muslims highlight the daily prejudice faced by Muslims at school and work. In society as well, it is difficult for Muslims to assimilate without conforming. For example, in 2006, a Houston community rallied together in order to oppose the building of a mosque in their neighborhood. However, aside from the societal discrimination, Muslims have also been the victims of hate crimes and violence.  Mosques have been frequent targets for vandalism, arson, and shootings, and Quran-burning has become a common way to protest Muslim Americans. More significantly, there have been many cases of threats and direct violence against Muslims and even those who “seem” Muslim. One of the more publicized incidents was the 2001 shooting and killing of Waqar Hasan, a Pakistani immigrant, by Mark Stroman, an openly anti-Arab white supremacist.

Events like these and the general pressure on the Muslim American community have caused changes community and how they live their day to day life. Some have chosen to not pray in public areas, and some women do not wear their hijabs in pubic, in order to protect their security. Although the American society is often seen as the victims of the 9/11 attacks, the changes that Muslim American have made since the terrorist attack in 2001 highlight how they have also been affected. The fear instilled in the American society by the 9/11 attacks caused anti-Muslim sentiments that still are strong today, and the Muslim American community is still fighting those stereotypes, even today.