The 9/11 World Trade Center attacks were devastating to the victim’s families, the nation, and the entire world; but the death toll didn’t stop there. The FBI reported that hate crimes against those who were “Islamic or looked Islamic increased 1600% the year after 9/11” (Saedi). Not only are the Muslim-Americans grieving the loss of their friends and families, they were blamed for the attacks. These Muslim-Americans, who were just as much of a victim as Caucasian-Americans, were viewed as criminals instead of victims. An Iranian American named Behzad Yaghmaian, stated that upon hearing the news of the 9/11 attacks, “I feared the start of a witch-hunt against people who looked like me” (Yaghmaian). He considers himself and other innocent “Muslim immigrants who are now considered potential terrorists” victims of the aftermath of 9/11. Islamic people who are not in any way responsible for the 9/11 attacks are being treated as criminals in many situations, such as; racial profiling, unnecessary searches, staring, gawking, and rude comments (Gonzaga). Many Islamic people discovered that “racial profiling and suspicion has become a routine facet of their lives” (Yaghmaian). Behzad Yaghmaian was searched by Border Control as he tried to return home to the United States after a short trip to Canada; forced to completely empty the contents of his car for no apparent reason, other than his appearance. “Here at the U. S. Border, I fit one uncomfortable ‘profile’- potential terrorist”. Defining people through racial profiling is not just a legal incident, it occurs every day through simple stereotyping. “In a world that is trying to understand the 9/11 attacks, many have put labels on Islamic people. But instead of simplifying, they make everything more complicated” (Zaidi). Stereotyping Islamic people into the same category as terrorists does not only lead to ignorance and discrimination, it transfers to the deep hatred of terrorism to those who are not terrorists.
The majority of student’s views on the Islamic religion are shaped by mass media and television. Those who have never been to a dominantly Islamic country, such as Afghanistan, Algeria, or Morocco, are commonly shown the Islamic world through the media’s viewpoint. The biased media “capitalizes on conflicts in the Islamic world to spread negative images and the fear of Muslims” (Buehler). Just as the majority of American teens have never been to the bottom of ocean or the inside of a jail cell, they assume they know what it looks like because they have seen it many times on TV. What is shown over and over again is often what people believe is true. In the case of the media, what is being repeated are the scandalous conflicts and violent action shots that they can capitalize on. Although Americans have become accustomed to the negative portrayal of the Islamic world, “the kind of hate speech directed against Islam and Muslim would never be tolerated if it were focused on any other religion” (Buehler). Movies that are discriminatory are harshly criticized by the public, and despite the harsh critics, Islamic movies are