Terror In America?!

The Discrimination of Muslims after 9/11

The Attack That Started it All

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, nineteen members of the Islamic terrorist group, Al Qaeda, hijacked four planes departing from Boston, Newark, New Jersey; and Washington, D.C and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The first of these planes flew into the north tower of the the World Trade Center at 8:46 A.M. It created a gap and set the building ablaze. Seventeen minutes later, a second plane flew into the south tower, similar damage occurring. The Twin Towers ended up collapsing at 10:05 and 10:28 A.M due to damages the buildings had suffered. At 9:43 A.M., a third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia, creating partial damage to one of the military wings of the building. The fourth plane rumored to be headed for Washington, D.C., but at 10:10 A.M., it crashed in western Pennsylvania due to the passengers who rushed the attack after hearing about the other crashes. At the end of the attack, 2,819 people ended up died and thousands more injured.

The Aftermath of 9/11

Americans responded with fear and panic after the 9/11 attacks. False rumors of more incoming attacks were aired on TV, the Federal Aviation Agency grounded all flights in the United States and redirected all incoming foreign planes to Canada. The White House was evacuated and all federal building were closed.The military was put on worldwide alert in case of another attack. President George W. Bush gave a brief statement at 9:30 A.M. saying it was an "apparent terrorist attack." President Bush later on vowed for revenge not just for the terrorists, but for the governments who protected and supported these groups. Bush wasn't about to tolerate any possible threats to the US. On September 14, Congress passed a resolution that authorized the use of military force to fight terrorism. The USA Patriot Act passed in October, giving authorities greater freedom in placing wiretaps and reading e-mail (Greenberg, "9/11 Attack"). This act led the people to wonder how much of civil rights were going to be given up. Airports also started to place stricter security procedures after 9/11 to avoid another incident.
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Discrimination in Contemporary Times

ABC News's, What Would You Do?, decided to show the discrimination of Muslims in a staged scenario. The set up involved a male actor who played an employee who refused the serve the female actress simply because she was Muslim. People walked into the bakery where the scenario was taking place without knowing it was a set up, different reactions appearing. The bigot was quoted saying, "I mean, we reserve the right to not serve," (Quinones, "Would You Stop Muslim Discrimination?") as the Muslim actress began to walk out because she was denied service. After the woman leaves, as a man pays for his items he actually praises the bigot. The man says, "Good job!" and gives the male actor a thumbs up for his discriminatory actions before leaving. This experiment was designed with the help of a Muslim woman who daily experiences this type of verbal abuse. She told Quinones, "They assume I'm not from here, and if I tell them I'm American they say, 'No, you're not. Just because you were born here doesn't make you American'" (Quinones, "Would You Stop Muslim Discrimination?). Comments such as this show the how discriminatory people can get simply because of the way people look. Looking Muslim is enough to get a person called a terrorist. However, not everyone did tolerate the bigot's actions. People would question the actor and leave in anger or stand up for the actress as the people didn't like what was going on. They felt it was an injustice and weren't going to let it happen.

The Crucible and Muslims

The Crucible, and Muslim discrimination have many things in common. In the case of Hassan Shibly, his family and him were stopped and interrogated in a separate room for an hour at New York's JFK Airport while other passengers were asked a few questions and allowed to leave. The theme in The Crucible that can be identified with Shibly's situation is fear and paranoia that comes after a major event. The agent at the JFK Airport was paranoid of a bomb explosion just like the town of Salem was paranoid of witches.


In Act I of The Crucible, Abigail creates fear by placing the blame on Tituba when she is questioned about what happened in the forest. Abigail says, "She made me do it! She made Betty do it!" (Miller 1045) as she points at Tituba. Abigail didn't want to blemish her name by admitting that she was taking a part in witchcraft that night in the forest, so she removed the blame from her and placed it on Tituba. She blamed Tituba who was different from the rest as Tituba came from Barbados and spoke the language. In the JFK incident, Shibly and his family were taken to be interrogated because they looked different from the rest of the people. Since they stood out, the family appeared to look like a possible threat, just like Tituba. Tituba stood out, making it easy for her to be blamed.


In Act II of The Crucible, Hale comes to the Proctor household. Once inside, Hale tells Proctor and his wife, Elizabeth, that he comes from Rebecca Nurse's home as she has been suspected of witchcraft. Proctor and Elizabeth find it hard to believe and the two had known Rebecca to be a pious women. John specifically says, "I-I have no knowledge in that line. But it's so hard to think so pious of a woman be secretly a Devil's bitch after seventy year of such good prayer" (Miller 1061). Proctor finds it hard to believe that someone who had been holy for their entire life to end up working with the Devil. He's finding it hard to believe, but isn't yet completely ruling the possibility out. Paranoia started to grow. If someone who was known for being pious could be accused, couldn't they be also? With Muslims if there is a rumor of a possible attack, the TSA is allowed to subject Muslims and those who appear to be of Middle Eastern decent to higher inspections. The agencies might believe that not every Muslim is a terrorist, but they aren't about to let the chance that one may commit an act of terrorism go away just yet.


Towards the end of Act III of The Crucible, Hale begins to realize that the court proceedings aren't fair and even claims they're evil. Hale says, "I denounce these proceedings!" (Miller 1094). Hale now begins to see that the court had been unfair to the point of wrongfully hanging and accusing people. No longer wanting to be a part of the court, he leaves saying that the court is evil for it's actions. In Shibly's case, the agent had told him, "Sorry, I hope you understand we just have to make sure that nothing gets blown up" (Huus, "Muslim Travelers Say They're Still Saddled with 9/11 Baggage"). The agent knew racial profiling wasn't the best thing to do, but that he had to regardless to avoid creating mass fear and chaos.

Works Cited

Greenberg, David. "9/11 Attack." Dictionary of American History. Ed. Stanley I. Kutler. 3rd ed. Vol. 6. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003. 108-109. Student Resources in Context. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.

History.com. "9/11 Attacks." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 08 Dec. 2014. <http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks>.

Huus, Kari. "Muslim Travelers Say They're Still Saddled with 9/11 Baggage."Msnbc.com. NBC News, 9 Sept. 2011. Web. 08 Dec. 2014. <http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44334738/ns/us_news-9_11_ten_years_later/t/muslim-travelers-say-theyre-still-saddled-baggage/#.VIZSyzHF9V4>.

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts. New York: Viking, 1953. Print.

"The Aftermath." 9-11 Research. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2014.

"Would You Stop Muslim Discrimination?" ABC News. ABC News Network, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014. <http://abcnews.go.com/WhatWouldYouDo/video/stop-muslim-discrimination-11347387>.