Image from Big Mouth Strikes Again website

Due to ignorance and the media’s stereotypes that Islam is a violent, outcast religion, some Americans today blame Islam for the emotional, physical and financial damage the terrorist attacks on 9/11 caused.

After 9/11, Western Media has been promoting to the American population the view Islam as an alien in society that is incapable of adapting to civilization. As a result, stereotypes have been formed and Muslims find themselves in a hole of misrepresentation. Due to these stereotypes, many people take actions discriminating against American Muslims.

The Stereotyping of Muslims has been the reoccurring, main focus of Western media. There are some Americans who use media as their only source of acquiring information. Therefore, the media had an immensely powerful influence over the general public’s response to the attacks of 9/11. The religion is in a deep hole of misrepresentation due to these stereotypes that portray Islam as the enemy. As a result of all this, the term “Islamophobia” is now very common. There are many ways to prove the negative correlation people make between Islam and 9/11 due to the influence of the media.

The picture below is just one way to prove the media’s influence on American’s opinions of Islam:

Image from Veterans Today website

Image from Veterans Today website

This man represents the section of Americans that are ignorantly judging Islam. This is why people like Jocelyne Cesari argue that Islam is in a predicament of misunderstanding and misjudgment due to history (Cesari 12). Because the attackers of 9/11 were Muslim, the whole religion has to suffer discrimination and stereotyping that is misplaced. People like the man in the picture above don’t take the time to actually learn about the values and principles of the religion. Rather, they use 9/11 as an excuse to blame and discriminate against Islam. This is just one example of the blame placed on Islam.

Another example is the controversy over building a mosque near ground zero . In CBS news article “Proposed Mosque Near Ground Zero Stokes Debate”, people against having a mosque near where the World Trade Center buildings used to be argue that it would be a “a stab to America”. How can they argue this point without admitting that they blame Islam for what happened at Ground Zero? Instead of embracing and viewing this as the Islam community trying to educate others about their religion, the United States makes it a huge controversy and many protest against it. The media’s role in stereotyping and misrepresenting Islam as the religion to blame for 9/11 has caused many Americans to take lash out against Muslims.

Eleven years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, American Muslims are still the main target of stereotyping and discrimination. Hate speech makes it very difficult for Muslims to feel accepted and welcomed in the United States. For example, the picture posted below:

Image from The Islamic Workshop website

Image from The Islamic Workshop website

This bumper sticker is seemingly equating Islam with Nazism. The Nazis were one of the most despised and corrupted organizations existing in world history that many Nations including the United States regret tolerating. Relating Muslims to Nazi followers is a serious insult that I’m sure hurt and scarred many Muslims. However, according to The Washington Post’s article “Five Myths about Muslims in America”, in 2010 there were more non-Muslim than Muslims involved in terrorist pots on U.S. soil. Not only is there hate speech, there are hate crimes. Through the years, there have also been numerous hate crimes committed across the United States against Muslims. For example, in September of 2004, eight Muslim students in Berkeley, California were harassed by three Caucasian males that sprayed them with water, chucked water bottles at them, and mocked their tradition of wearing hijabs.

Overall, Western media has created stereotypes of Islam based on the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that have caused Islamophobia throughout the United States. In order to make a reasonable conclusion about anything, one needs to be properly educated—this does not include the media. All religions deserve the respect; Islam is no different. In order to mend the relationship between the United States and Islam, the United States needs to get rid of its “superior attitude” and be willing to compromise with the Middle East. Muslims all around the world deserve to be dug out of the hole of misrepresentation they have been unwillingly thrown into.

Work Cited

Beekun, Rafik. Islam= Nazism. 11 Nov. 2008. The Islamic Workplace. Web. 1 Nov. 2008.

 Cesari, Jocelyne. Muslims in the West After 9/11: Religion, Politics, and Law. New York; London: Routledge, 2010. Print.

Glor, Jeff. “Proposed Mosque Near Ground Zero Stokes Debate” CBS News. 3 Aug. 2010. Web. 5 Nov. 2012. <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/20/eveningnews/main6696724.shtml?tag=mncol;lst;1>

Hall, Anthony. Islamophobia. 20 May 2012. Photograph. Veterans Today. Web. Oct. 28 2012. <http://www.veteranstoday.com>.

Rauf, Feisal Abdul. “Five myths about Muslims in America” The Washington Post. Web. 5 Nov. 2012. < http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-muslims-in-america/2011/03/30/AFePWOIC_story_1.html>

RIDZ Design. Stereotypes of Islam. Photograph. Big Mouth Strikes Again. Web. Oct. 28 2012. < http://wallscometumblingdown.wordpress.com/home/>.

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Freedom of Speech with No Filter

Beekun, Rafik. Islam= Nazism. 11 Nov. 2008. The Islamic Workplace. Web. 1 Nov. 2008.

Today, Muslims are insulted by harsh slander that makes American Muslims uncomfortable in their own country.

The picture above shows a rectangular shaped postcard or bumper sticker. The sticker is hanging on a postcard holder in a store and you can see someone browsing them in the background. The sticker is completely white with one word spelled in red on it. The word spells “Islam” but instead of the letter “s” there is a Nazi symbol. There are words underneath the word Islam but they are too small to read in the picture.

The Nazi symbol being intertwined in the spelling of the world Islam is seemingly equating Islam with Nazism. The holocaust was one of the most devastating genocides in world history. The group behind it, the Nazi’s, has become one of the most despised organization that many nations including the United States regret tolerating. Now, people are relating Islam to Nazi’s saying that the religion of Islam and Muslims are a disturbing and corrupt religion that should not be tolerated.

This picture shows Muslim segregation and stereotyping at it’s best. Relating Muslims to Nazi followers is a serious insult that I’m sure hurt and scarred many Muslims. If I were a Muslim living in America and I saw that, I would feel so uncomfortable in my own home knowing my fellow citizens view me the same way they viewed Nazis: as corrupt, unwanted and cruel extremists. This is a perfect example of extreme Muslim discrimination; freedom of speech needs to have a filter.

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Realization: The U.S. is Not Invincible

National Park Service. Smoke of 9/11 rising past the Statue of Liberty. Digital image. Disinformation. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Oct. 2012. <http://www.disinfo.com/2012/09/repeated-exposure-to-images-of-911-or-iraq-may-be-harmful-to-your-health/>.

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 woke citizens up to the fact that the United States of America is not invincible.

The picture above shows the Statue of Liberty with a city skyline further in the background. The Statue of Liberty is made the main focus, as it is the closest, biggest, and most clear image in the picture. Behind the symbolic statue, smoke is rising to the right over the entire city, which one can intelligently assume is New York City. While the city buildings fade in the smoke, the Statue of Liberty remains clear and untouched. The smoke is singled out in contrast with the blue, clear sky behind it. In a way, the chaos happening in the background distracts the viewer from the focus on the Statue of Liberty. This, I believe, is symbolic to the realization caused by 9/11 that America and what America stands for is not invincible or universal.

The United States is a major world superpower. It dominates politically and economically and has extreme influence over world affairs. The nation prides itself on democracy, security, and justice. With such a secure past and powerful government, you’d think the United States was invincible. Citizens before 9/11 surely believed this until they received a wake up call on September 11, 2001. That morning, all sense of security was breached when a set of four terrorist attacks took place. The most damaging, attacking New York City, resulted in the collapse of both World Trade Center buildings over New York City. The attack caused widespread fear across the American population as the shock that America does indeed have enemies that aren’t afraid to attack settled in. People came to the realization that the terrorist bombing and shootings overseas that they were watching on television were no longer a foreign problem. It was if they were back under “the cloud” of foreign threat, just as they were for the atomic bomb during the cold war.

The Statue of Liberty in this picture could symbolize how all sense of security and pride was violated that day. It stands being shadowed by the doom raising over one of the most populous cities in the U.S. However, the fact that it stands tall despite the disaster happening behind it could also be symbolic to the fact that, despite the chaos, surprise, and damage of 9/11, America was ready and willing to fight back for justice. Either way, the tragic day of 9/11 showed American citizens that the United States is in fact a reachable target and can be vulnerable to outside enemies. America was no longer invincible.

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No One Will Forget

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 caused American citizens extreme emotional damage that still affects the country today.

The black-and-white picture above displays three clearly distraught people. There are two women lead by one man. The three are linking hands, pulling each other away from what’s behind them. All three characters are covered in dust and the two women appear to be crying. The man guiding them seems to know where they are going, but has a pained expression. Behind them is what looks to be a city street. However, it is not in its normal condition. Everywhere there is ruble, dust, and chaos. There are people in the street that are also covered in dust and frantically walking to safety, seemingly confused by the situation. Everywhere in the picture is chaos.

This picture is the aftermath chaos of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It captures one of the worst events in United States history. The street portrayed is most likely a street in New York City under or near the World Trade Center Towers. The debris and dust you see in the background that covers every inch is the left over of the fallen towers and surrounding damaged buildings. The three people in the picture show the emotion of what the whole country was feeling that day: utter horror. That day, 2,996 people were killed and 343 of them were fireman. The nationally televised event stopped the world for all American families. People had to sit in their living rooms and watch while their fellow people, brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, and so forth jump out of high storied windows, suffocate inside the building, and eventually collapse with the buildings. Relatives and lovers of the people who died that day were not the only ones affected by the tragic event. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 were the first major terrorist attack the United States had experienced. It sparked fear in many and woke people up to the realization that America is not invincible. The attacks resulted in many government and national changes in order to prevent further terrorism and comfort the hysteria it caused among the American population. Just a few of these changes included high-level airport security, warrantless surveillance, and compensation programs. Whether it was anger, sadness, revenge, confusion, etc., the American population was deeply effected. Still even today people those emotions have not passed. It is extremely common to find someone who remembers exactly where they were the day of 9/11. It was a tragedy that was imprinted on every American citizen and will forever tint American history.

Fireman leads 9/11 victims to safety photograph. Digital image. No Caption Needed. N.p., 26 July 2007. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nocaptionneeded.com/2007/07/visual-memory-and-911/>.

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Some Americans today blame Islam for the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

The black and white portrait above displays a chalkboard, chalk, and an eraser. On this chalkboard appears to be a math equation, however, it is not 2+2=4; it is an equation calculating the damage and cause of 9/11. On the left of the board, there is a moon with a star that is being added to a drawing of two tall buildings. Under the moon and star, the word “Islam” is written. The two towers, which resemble the North and South towers of the World Trade Center, have the date 9/11 written underneath them.  The two images are added up to equal the number 2,996. This number has the word “murdered” written below it and represents the total casualties of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Underneath the chalkboard, the words “A Refresher Course For Those In Denial” are written.

The meaning of this picture is clear and simple. The artist’s message is that the religion of Islam is the dominant factor in the equation that left 2,996 dead. In an addition equation, you need at least two variables to have an answer. The picture is saying that without Islam, there would have been no 9/11, and therefore, those 2,996 victims of the attacks would still be alive and well today. The words underneath the chalkboard are referring to those who see Islam and 9/11 as two unrelated subjects. The drawing is an equation on a chalkboard to resemble a lesson being taught by a teacher. This lesson would typically be considered as an easy one because there are only two variables in the equation. By this, the artist is trying to say that people who think Islam is not the cause of 9/11 are clueless for not being able to grasp on to such an easy and clear concept. I think the picture is asking, “How could you not blame Islam for the deaths of 9/11? The equation is simple”. The words are trying to remind those who accept and support Islam of the pain and devastation that they think the religion has caused the American nation.

I titled this picture “Islamaphobia” because that is the term commonly used for those who avoid interaction with Islam and Muslims. Those with “Islamaphobia” are scared of the religion and its followers because they view them as terrorists and blame them for 9/11. It is the same anger and blame that produces Islamaphobia that also produces pictures such as this.

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