After 9/11 contradictions in the practices of citizenship in the U.S came forth with Arab Americans and Muslim Americans became the most visible site of these contradictions. Tensions in the constitution of the body politic were projected onto the U.S citizenship of Arab Americans and Muslim Americans, as the war on terrorism took the appearance of a war on “Muslim “terrorism.” While the violent Muslim stereotype had a long history rooted I imperialist and orientalist representations, it has appeared with greater force and persistence since 9/11. Since attacks, Arabs and Muslims have been represented in the U.S media as other. It appeared to be that a person cant be Arab or Muslim and American at the same time; because one is neither and not quite a citizen. The marginalization of Arab Americans and Muslim Americans prompted the Council on American-Islamic relations to place ads I the NYT in the aftermath of 9/11 with photographs of Muslims all ethnicities and colors, declaring them to be American. While the maneuvers in the NYT are at times explicitly racial in their grammar, their organization of racial investments through religion, ethnicity, and nation have the effect of racialization of religion, ethnicity, and nation.
The NYT has contributed significantly to the project of racialization Arab Americans and Muslim Americans. It is one representational apparatus that contributes to the racialization and takes on the effect of a racial project. It constantly reconstitutes arrays of racial projects and formations. In NYT articles, the social conflicts, meanings, and interests are staged and encoded through the language and imagery of racial embodiment.
The NYT articles often contributed to a racial project through their essential zing of Arab Americans and Muslim Americans as culturally distinct from the rest of America, their direct and indirect assertion of impenetrable difference, and their implied judgment that the culture of Arab Americans and Muslim Americans is not only incongruent with American culture but also suspect.
The NYT represents Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in a manner that mostly operates to differentiate them from other Americans. The ordinariness of and internal differences among Arab Americans and Muslim Americans is at times subtly and at times crassly subverted through a series of direct and indirect associations and representations, the effects of which are to racialize Arab Americans and Muslim Americans and represent them in their collective, racialized identities, rather than their individualities or differences. Arab Americans and Muslim Americans are portrayed largely as Muslim, even though majority of Arab Americans were Christian until the 70’s and many experts say that Christians are still the majority among Arab Americans. The largest group of Muslim Americans is African American and the largest group of Muslims globally is South Asian.
Arab American and Muslim Americans are represented as intimately tied to their countries of origin, more than other immigrants. Arab Americans, and Muslim Americans are represented as highly religious, and more religious than most Americans. Arab Americans and Muslim Americans are represented as religiously devout Muslims. Devout Muslims are presented as devoted to Islam and other Muslims before they are devoted to the United State and other Americans. Through a series of associations, Arab Americans and Muslim Americans are portrayed as linked to international Muslims and Muslim movements, which are themselves racialized as dangerous.
Sawson Abdulrahim argues that whether Arab Americans identify as whites or not, they are engaging in racial formation, which requires abandoning the race neutral language of assimilation and resisting the tendencies to situate Arab…