9/11 Sparks Mistreatment

Civil Liberties Curtailed


On September 11, 2001, members of Al-Qaeda hijacked four planes departing from Boston; Newark, New Jersey; and Washington, D.C. The hijackers murdered the pilots with box-cutters that they smuggled on and took control of the planes. The first plane was flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Then, the second plane was flown into the south building of the World Trade Center. The third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia. The fourth plane was believed to be intended to hit the White House, but it crashed in Pennsylvania. It is believed that the passengers were aware of the earlier attacks through their phones, so they fought back against the terrorists causing the plane to go down ("9/11 Attacks"). In all, 2,819 people died from the attacks, and many were injured: "[A]lmost 10,000 others were treated for injuries, many severe" ("9/11 Attacks").

These attacks were a series of coordinated attacks by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group Al-Qaeda, the terrorist group lead by Osama bin Laden. The men carried out these attacks against the United States because Al-Qaeda disliked "America's support of Israel, its involvement in the Persian Gulf War, and its continued military presence in the Middle East" ("9/11 Attacks").

Al-Qaeda's goal was to spread fear throughout the United States: "Al-Qaeda hoped that, by attacking these symbols of American power, they would spread widespread fear throughout the country and severely weaken the United States' standing in the world community, ultimately supporting their political and religious goals in the Middle East and Muslim World" ("FAQ about 9/11").

Picture: ("Islam Was Not Behind 911").


Americans of Middle Eastern descent were mistreated and had his or her civil liberties curtailed after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Most Americans began to view the Middle Easterners and the Muslim culture negatively because many Americans blamed them for the attacks.

The Mistreatment of Americans of Middle Eastern Descent

After the events of September 11, 2001, the discrimination against Muslim Americans, those who practice the same religion as Al-Qaeda, increased drastically, and the blame of 9/11 was put on the Muslims in the United States (Friedersdorf). They were faced with negative attitudes and stereotypes. Also, the FBI reported a 1,700% increase of hate crimes against Muslim Americans from 2000 to 2001 (Mussarat Khan). More injustices against Muslim Americans came from law enforcement where innocent Muslims were harassed and solely prosecuted based on his or her ethnicity. Also, suspected terrorists would be tortured. This strong discrimination against people of Middle Eastern descent is still going on today. Overall, the Middle Easterners were accused by many Americans for the attacks; consequently, many Americans began to oppress the Middle Easterners. Picture above: ("The Impact of 9/11 on the Mental Health of Muslims: 10 Years Later"). Picture below: ("Heartbreaking Posts by Muslim Americans...").

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The Themes in The Crucible and Their Relation to 9/11

The Crucible by Arthur Miller has themes that are parallel to the attacks on 9/11. The theme developed in The Crucible was that in times of fear and crisis, people sometimes do unreasonable things that they would not normally do. In these times, people tend to completely ignore all facts and resort to scapegoating a certain group. This is seen in both post-9/11 America and The Crucible. Post-9/11, Muslims Americans were the victim of prejudice and even hate crimes as many Americans blamed them for the attacks without the backing of any evidence at all. Similarly, in The Crucible, many community members of Salem were hanged without any logical evidence against them because of the widespread fear of witchcraft throughout the community.

One major theme presented in The Crucible by Arthur Miller is that during times crisis, people tend to make false accusations without any real evidence and to do illogical things. The witch trials were based on false accusations and lies that had no logical backing. This theme is demonstrated when Abigail said, "I saw Sarah Good with the devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the devil!" (Miller 1048). Abigail begins to list and falsely accuse several people, and Hale believes her. This shows that in a time of fear, people (Hale) will believe false accusations that do not have evidence to support its claim. Similarly, after 9/11, Americans were fearful of and felt threatened by Middle Easterners, so the Americans blamed them and had strong hatred towards them. Another example where this theme is demonstrated is when Dansforth refuses to accept any logical evidence: "You misunderstood, sir; I cannot pardon these when twelve are already hanged for the same crime. It is not just" (Miller 1078). Dansforth rejects the real evidence and continues to prosecute the falsely accused. Also, Dansforth's statement shows that the village was completely consumed in witchcraft hysteria. Similarly, innocent American Muslims were being targeted for hate crimes and by law enforcement solely for his or her ethnicity instead of having evidence that the accused committed any wrongdoing. Another example that furthermore supports this theme is when Mrs. Putnam said, "I knew it! Goody Osburn were midwife to me three times. I begged you, Thomas, did I not? I begged him not to call Osburn because I feared her. My babies always shriveled in her hands! (Miller 1082). Mrs. Putnam suspected Goody Osburn of being a witch because it was somewhat a stereotype that woman were witches for most of the accused witches were females. Similarly, negative stereotypes of Middle Easterners began to grow after the 9/11 attacks. These stereotypes caused hatred/hate crimes, harmed the individual's standing in society, and harmed the individual's psychological well-being. Picture below: ("The Hate I Will Never Forget: A Decade After 9/11").
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Works Cited

"September 11th Fast Facts." CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 2007. Web. 06 Dec. 2014.

Khan, Mussarat. "Journal Of Muslim Mental Health." Attitudes Toward Muslim Americans Post-9/11. Np., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2014. <http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jmmh/10381607.0007.101/--attitudes-toward-Muslim-Americans-post-911?rgn=main;view=fulltext>

Friedersdorf, Conor. "Was There Really a Post-9/11 Backlash against Muslims?" The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 04 May 2012. Web. 06 Dec. 2014.

"FAQ about 9/11." 9/11 Memorial National September 11 Memorial & Museum, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2014.

"9/11 Attacks." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 06 Dec. 2014.

"The Impact of 9/11 on the Mental Health of Muslims: 10 Years Later."MentalHealth4Muslims. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2014. <http://mentalhealth4muslims.com/2011/09/27/the-impact-of-911-on-the-mental-health-of-muslims-10-years-later/#&panel1-1>.

"The Hate I Will Never Forget: A Decade After 9/11." Muslim Reverie. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2014. <http://muslimreverie.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/the-hate-i-will-never-forget-a-decade-after-911/>.

"Heartbreaking Posts by Muslim Americans Show Another Side of 9/11 We Must Never Forget." Mic. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2014. <http://mic.com/articles/98674/heartbreaking-posts-by-muslim-americans-show-another-side-of-9-11-we-must-never-forget>.

"Islam Was Not Behind 911." Islam Was Not Behind 911. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2014. <http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evils%20in%20Government/911%20Cover-up/islam_not_to_blame.htm>.

  • Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. The Language of Literature. Ed. Arthur N. Applebee. Evanston: McDougal Littell, 2000. 166-240.