ANTI-MUSLIM RETALIATORY VIOLENCE FOLLOWING THE 9/11 TERRORIST ATTACKS
THE TERRORIST ATTACKS ON New York City and Washington, DC, on September 11, 2001, have engendered thousands of stories of terror, grief, and loss. Witnesses, survivors, and victims’ families have shared their experiences and reactions publicly on national broadcasts. In the days that followed, a parallel yet quite different set of stories began to emerge. Visitors, immigrants, and U.S. citizens of Middle Eastern descent bore the brunt of a violent backlash as evidence mounted against Osama bin Laden and his followers. In towns and cities across the country, Americans lashed out against those they associated with the perpetrators. Arab centers, mosques, and private individuals reported death threats, vandalism, and other forms of violence. The murder of a Sikh store owner in Mesa, Arizona, just two days after the attacks, was identified as the first of several murders thought to be retaliatory hate crimes. It is this climate of hate that I explore in this paper.