chapter  9
38 Pages

Islamophobia in America? September 11 and Islamophobic hate crime

This article examines the sharp rise in hate crime directed at Muslims or those per­ ceived to be Muslim following the September 11 attacks on the United States. The intense phase of these attacks comprised approximately nine weeks, after which the number of hate crimes fell sharply. The article attributes the abrupt fall in hate crime to four variables: (1) Leadership in the form of effective intervention by the U.S. President; (2) Decisive law enforcement intervention on the federal and local levels; (3) Grassroots outreach to Muslims by religious, civic and educational groups; and much more tentatively; (4) Moral ambiguity in the rapid dissolution of Amer ican consensus over the War on Terror following the invasion of Iraq. To illustrate these points, the paper compares the current situation to the treatment of Japanese Amer­ icans following Pearl Harbor and to the Red Scare of the 1950s. The impact of tech­ nology, especially the internet and the rise of al­ Jazeera as alternative sources of information to the government or the major Amer ican media outlets, is examined as indirectly contributing to the rapid decline of hate crimes after the initial nine­ week period. Finally, hate crime statistics from the FBI and the Amer ican­ Arab Anti­ Discrimination Committee from the years 2000-2002 are examined to document the numbers and types of violent hate crimes directed at Amer ican Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim.