Muslims, the true victims of 9/11

Muslims are discriminated against in the US after 9/11

Jessie Petrey

David Grossman

American Literature Period 3

8 December 2014

Background of September 11th

The attack of September 11, 2001, which occurred in New York City at 8:45 a.m., is one the United States will never forget (9/11 ATTACKS). Terrorists flew two planes into the two skyscrapers at the World Trade Center in New York City, causing the skyscrapers to catch fire and collapse. A third plane destroyed the Pentagon, a US military headquarter in Arlington, Virginia. The last plane had crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania (Smith). “Passengers on the plane fought the terrorists and prevented them from reaching their goal. In all, nearly 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks.” (Smith).


One might ask, who was responsible for these attacks on American soil? The nineteen terrorist who hijacked the four planes on 9/11 belonged to the terrorist group called Al Qaeda. This terrorist group was lead by Osama bin Laden. The practices, or attacks, they did to the United States were practices of an extreme version of the religion of Islam. (Smith)


“Over 3,000 people were killed during the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., including more than 400 police officers and firefighters.” (9/11 ATTACKS). The reason for this deadly attack was because Al Qaeda was angry about “America’s support of Israel, its involvement in the Persian Gulf War, and its continued military presence in the Middle East.” (9/11 ATTACKS).


The oppressors in this attack were the terrorist from Al Qaeda (as they were accused of the attack), and the oppressed were the Americans (they also accused Al Qaeda of attacking) (9/11 ATTACKS). But, after 9/11, discrimination against Muslims (the religion of Al Qaeda) increased, making Muslims the oppressed/accused and Americans the oppressors/accusers (Friedersdorf).
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(ICONIC PHOTOS OF 9/11)

Themes of The Crucible

Arthur Miller's The Crucible has themes that are relevant and parallel to the 9/11 attack. The theme developed in The Crucible is that during times of fear, people who are in fear accuse others of wrong doings and punish them by taking action against the accused. This theme is developed in The Crucible through lines like “How may we blame ourselves? I am one of nine sons; the Putnam seed had peopled this province. And yet I have one child left of eight- and now she shrivels!” (1039), “[MRS. PUTNAM enters with TITUBA, and instantly ABIGAIL points at TITUBA] ‘She made me do it! She made Betty do it!’” (1045), and “I want to open myself! [They turn to her, startled. She is enraptured, as though in a pearly light.] I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil; I saw him; I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!” (1048). In the first quote, Putnam, who is fearing witchcraft/the Devil in Salem, is talking of how they have to blame others for the evil that has happened in their lives (death of siblings and children) (1039). Putnam is developing the theme by being in fear and saying that they should accuse others of the evil that is causing the fear. In the second quote, Abigail develops the theme by being in fear of being accused of being with the Devil. Since Abigail has this fear, she chooses to blame Tituba, saying that Tituba bewitched her, so it would be Tituba's fault that the Devil was around (1045). Abigail does this again in the third quote, were she blames others for being witches. This would take the people of Salems fear of witchcraft and blame the witchcraft on others (1048). In the end of The Crucible, some of the witches, therefore proving my theme that the people who are in fear take action against the people who they feel are causing the fear.

The Crucible and 9/11-how similar were they?

Similarities between the Salem Witch Trials as portrayed in The Crucible and the acts of after 9/11 are plentiful. In the Salem witch trials, women are the main citizens of Salem who are being accused. Women are pointed out as possible witches, since they were believed to be easily tempted by the devil (Kennedy, Cohen 74). So in this case, women were discriminated against because they were believed to be evil witches in the community. In the case of 9/11, “Muslims face both informal prejudice and are discriminated against by the state” in the United States (Friedersdorf). Friedersdorf goes on to say that although we do tolerate the practice of the Islamic religion in America, Americans still have a bias view of Muslims. Friedersdorf states about the American discrimination of Muslims that “ law enforcement agencies target Muslims for special surveillance.”, and “In hate crimes based on religion, Muslims are the second most-victimized group, and every year since 9/11 they've been victimized at rates higher than before the attacks. “ (Friedersdorf). Friedersdorf exhibits the discriminatory acts against Muslims in America. These acts are similar to The Crucible because in The Crucible, Abigail Williams, who was working with the Salem government, identified woman as the main witches of Salem (Wilhelm, Fisher, Chin, Jones Royster). The government then looked for signs of witchcraft in these women and their lives, like how the US government watched Muslims. It is also demonstrated in The Crucible that supposed witches (or people that weren't that holy) were the victims of hate crimes. In The Crucible, witches were hung or pressed for being in a compact with the Devil (Wilhelm, Fisher, Chin, Jones Royster). In the case of treatment of Muslims after 9/11, Friedersdorf points out that Muslims were the second most victimized group of religous hate crimes after 9/11. This hate crime is like the death sentences against witches in The Crucible since in both examples, victims were being punished by groups that disliked them for their religous beliefs (Muslims- religion of Islam, Witches- believing in the Devil). In another example of relations between The Crucible and the treatment of Muslims after 9/11, it was shown that “During the process of adjusting to the aftermath of September 11, Muslim Americans faced an upsurge in negative stereotypes expressed by the larger society (American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, 2003; Cassel, 2006) and Muslim immigrants, more than any other immigrant group, were met with negative attitudes (Council of American Islamic Relations, 2003; Saroglou & Galand, 2004).” (Khan). This is like The Crucible because in The Crucible, after the Salem Witch hysteria had died down, witches continued to be sentenced to death and thought of as evil. This was prominent in the death of John Proctor. After Proctor explained how the bewitching was false, he was still convicted of being a witch with Rebecca Nurse and sentenced to death (Wilhelm, Fisher, Chin, Jones Royster). This is similar to 9/11 because even after 9/11, evidence shows that Muslims were still looked down upon by many, even though people knew it was only the terrorist group who attacked the United States. (Khan). These parallels between The Crucible and the treatment of Muslims after September 11 shows how similar these two examples are. These parallels also show that the terrorist attack of September 11 caused fear of Americans against Muslims. This caused Americans to accuse the Muslims of things that caused the Americans fear (9/11) and punish them for it (actions against Muslims shown above).

Work Cited

"9/11 ATTACKS." History. A&E Television Networks, LLC, 2014. Web. 5 Dec. 2014. <http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks>.

Digital image. ICONIC PHOTOS OF 9/11. The Daily Beast, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. <http://cdn.thedailybeast.com/content/dailybeast/galleries/2013/09/11/iconic-911-photos/jcr:content/gallery/42d8538c-4ce2-4cf9-9bce-6946c72dcfa7/image.img.500.333.jpg/1378897339247.cached.jpg>.

Friedersdorf, Conor. "Was There Really a Post-9/11 Backlash Against Muslims?" The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 04 May 2012. Web. 05 Dec. 2014. <http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/05/was-there-really-a-post-9-11-backlash-against-muslims/256725/>.

Graffitied Wall with "MUSLIMS GO HOME" written across the wall. Digital image. Identities.Mic. Mic Network Inc., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. <http://media3.mic.com/YTQyNzVmMGE5NSMvRlMxNXZaR1RKN3pqcHZWd2lMekJKMkJsZWRvPS8xMjh4Mjg6MTM2N3g2NDgvMTI4MHg2MjAvczMuYW1hem9uYXdzLmNvbS9wb2xpY3ltaWMtaW1hZ2VzL3c5aDE5cGVrNm5uZ3A3YXRleWU2NDZnejF0ZmNlNzJudDNkcmNoYXk5cW81eWpzbnZoZjB6c2d5NjFoYm5paHMuanBn.jpg>.

Kennedy, David M., and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 15th ed. Boston, Mass.: Wadsworth, 2013. Print.

Khan, Mussarat. "Attitudes Toward Muslim Americans Post-9/11." Journal of Muslim Mental Health. Michigan Publishing, 2012. Web. 05 Dec. 2014. <http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jmmh/10381607.0007.101/--attitudes-toward-muslim-americans-post-911?rgn=main;view=fulltext>.

Protests at mosques around America are increasing, and they are using the same anti-Muslim rhetoric Atheists do. Digital image. Non Profit Status. World Press, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. <http://nonprophetstatus.denvelopers.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/mosqueprotest1.jpg>.

Sign that says "WAKE UP! ISLAMS GOAL: DESTRUCTION OF OUR WAY OF LIFE! Digital image. Bear Naked Islam. World Press, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. <http://www.barenakedislam.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/img35907.jpg>.

Smith, Natalie. "What Happened on 9/11?" Scholastic. Scholastic Inc., n.d. Web. 5 Dec. 2014. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.scholastic.com%2Fbrowse%2Farticle.jsp%3Fid%3D3756477>.

Wilhelm, Jeffery D., PHD, Douglas Fisher, PHD, Beverly Ann Chin, PHD, and Jacqueline Jones Royster, DA. Literature- American Literature. Colmbus: McGraw-Hills Companies, 2009. Print.