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Media Influence On Terrorism In America

Scapegoating a term used to define a person or group that is unfairly blame for the actions of others. America has a long history of scapegoating a minority group. Muslims are now America’s latest minority group that are being unfairly blamed for the action of the terrorist. After the 9/11 terrorist attack committed by radical Muslim terrorists, Muslims have been at the front line of scapegoating.

The actions of these extremists had a big influence on how American society views all Muslims as if they were terrorist. People are allowed to practice whatever religion they choose without fear of persecution, discrimination, and above all violence. Americans were fearful of all Muslims after the attack because they could not separate the Islamist radical terrorist group from law-abiding Muslim citizens.

Every American has basic human rights, so how does America justify the reactive incidents that American Muslims face after the 9/11 terrorist attack? In the article, “Muslim men and women’s perception of discrimination, hate crimes, and PTSD symptoms post 9/11” by Abu-Ras and Suarez, they discuss how America’s view of Islam and Muslim people went from accepting to fearing them, which lead to an increasingly amount of Muslim individuals facing racial discrimination and harassment post 9/11.

According to Abu-Ras and Suarez, “40% of Americans admitted to being prejudiced toward Muslims, almost a quarter (22%) would not like to have a Muslim neighbor, 31% would feel nervous if they noticed a Muslim man on their flight, and 18% would feel nervous flying on the same plane with a Muslim woman” (50). Muslims who live in the Post 9/11 America had to face a lot of scrutiny because of the extremist who committed that crime was practicing the religion, Islam. Muslims experienced higher prejudiced encounters following the days after the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Instead of the nation staying strong and unity, these types of animosity made Muslims feel excluded from American society. Some American’s view all Muslims as a whole to be blamed for the actions of a Radical Islamist terrorist group. Bonet states that Muslims are targeted citizens, not just by other American citizens but also by the American government. According to Bonet, “Arabs, Arab Americans and Muslims were disproportionately subjected to a myriad of abuses including secret evidence, denial of due process, indefinite detentions, airline profiling, illegal wiretapping and surveillance” (48).

Muslims were being subjected to undergo the same treatment as criminals, isolating people of a religion and violating their rights is America’s way of “measure of security” (Bonet 48). Some American’s could not distinguish the law-abiding Muslim citizens from those radical terrorists who had committed the act of terror on 9/11 which lead them to take the blame out on anyone who associated with Islam and Muslims. In the years after 9/11, America’s media coverage of Islam and Muslims have been almost exclusively negative.

Kimberly Powell’s article examines how the media had a big influence on how Islam was portrayed in the US. According to Powell, “…67% said the media grew more biased against Muslims after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. ” (92). After that prominent terrorist attack that changed America, media coverage of terrorism is closely linked to Islam or Muslims. Powell did a study on how media covers terrorism in America. The result of that study shows how “Terrorist agents were quickly labeled or suspected as a Muslim, thus emphasizing the stereotype that terrorists are Muslim” (92).

The media acts as if all Muslims were at fault for the attack instead of the extremist that actually committed those crimes. In the article, “The Framing of Islam on Network News Following the September 11th Attacks”, explores the media portrayal of Islam and Muslims on network news coverage. The author, Dina Ibrahim, talks about how the media were consistently choosing to portray negative images that depict how Islam and terrorism are closely related instead of giving context about Islam and its representation. Ibrahim shows the differences on how America covered Islam before and after 9/11 on their news networks.

According to Ibrahim, “American reporters were more likely to highlight the radical and sensationalist elements of Islamic activism, thus obscuring the context needed to paint a complete picture” (113). Some American’s animosity towards Islam and Muslims manifested because of the negative portrayal of the religion that the media shows. The media is a platform where the public gets to learn and understand the issues, so to negatively depict Muslims and only show radical part of the religion will give Americans the idea that Islam is a violent religion which might provoke people that it’s ok to be violent with them.

Hate crimes against Muslims people or those resembling them have significantly increased since the 9/11 terrorist attack. Eric D. Gould and Esteban F. Klor are authors who wrote the article, “The Long-run Effect of 9/11: Terrorism, Backlash, and the Assimilation of Muslim Immigrants in the West,” discussing the effects that might occur post 9/11 to Muslim communities and the types of hate crimes that happen to them. After the attack, Muslims faced an array of hate crimes towards them.

According to Gould and Klor, “evidence for a backlash after 9/11 is supported by the data on hate crimes against Muslims, which went from 28 to 481 reported incidents from the year 2000 to 2001”. People have the right to be fearful, especially in the aftermath of an attack, but nobody has the right to physically harm someone. Especially because of the religion they practice being the same as that of the terrorist behind the attack. In Abu-Ras and Suarez’s article, they focus on how the hate crimes that occur to Muslims might have an effect on their mental health.

They stated that the hate crimes that are perpetrated against Muslim include assault, murder, death threats, vandalism, and arson” (50). Hate crimes are inflicted onto a religious group and those associated with them because of what the radicals in that group did was un-American. If a religious group feels isolated or unwanted by their society, there can be damages that could happen to someone’s mental health. Abu-ras’s article states that, “Victims of hate crimes may experience the same difficulties and traumatic responses as victims of other crimes, ranging from mild to severe PTSD” (50).

Scapegoating a religion, and inflicting violent crimes on a minority group can do damage to a person’s mental health. Muslims have been the latest minority groups that are being scapegoated for the act of terror that radical Islamist terrorist commits. Regardless of that no types of violence should be committed to the person based on their religion. In conclusion, Muslims today are members of the American family and hold the same American values of religious freedom, and respect as other faith groups.

It is time for society to stop scapegoating Muslims as criminals and terrorists. Instead work together as a community to protect the rights of all. All my research on Muslims scapegoating suggest that they agree with my claim on Muslims being at the front line of scapegoating and being subjected to the same types of treatment as the terrorist who committed that act of terror on 9/11. Bonet’s article resonates with my claim because she identifies with how America is viewing Muslims as a whole to be blamed for the actions of a Radical Islamist terrorist group.

Bonet was right when she stated that Muslims are targeted citizens not just by other American citizens but also by the American government. Due to the violations that they were being subjected to post 9/11. Gould and Klor research about Muslims scapegoating stands behind my claim by discusses how hate crimes towards Muslims after 9/11 affected them and we get an understanding of why those offenders committing those types of hate crimes.

Abus-ras and Suarez both suggest explore the racial discrimination and harassment that occurs to Muslims because of the backlash they relieved after 9/11. Both Powell and Ibrahim discuss the media major influence on how the public would view them especially after the attack. Despite the research shown, Muslims should not be blamed for the actions of a few. American society should not and can not allow a religion to be unfairly treated because of what extremist in that religion did. It is un-American and it violated their first amendment.

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