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How 9/11 Has Changed Americans' Views On Islam And Muslims

2032 words - 8 pages

The Declaration of Independence, a document that was written by people who believed every person had “unalienable Rights” that no government or person could take away. These rights include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These words were written by Thomas Jefferson and other in 1776. They were so important to Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers that they were rewritten by Thomas Jefferson and others in 1787 as the rights of “life, liberty, and property” in the United States Constitution. Fast-forward about 235 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. You are now in New York, the date is September 11, 2001. You hear something that doesn’t sound normal and look at your watch. It is exactly 8:46 and you have to be to work in 14 minutes so you continue walking as taxis fly past you and honk their horns. All the sudden, you hear something that has changed every American’s life forever. You turn around and see smoke pouring out of World Trade Center Tower 1. This moment changed American lives forever, but did it affect Americans, as a whole, more or the people of the religion that hijacked that airplane? Did this moment take away, or at least limit, the rights that Thomas Jefferson and others described in both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution? Television since 9/11 portrays Muslims in a negative way that makes Americans discriminatory toward them.
Amir Hussain, professor of Theological Studies at Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at Loyola Marymount University, says that many of his students came into the Spring 2002 semester with, what they believed, was an immense amount of knowledge about Muslims. Most of their knowledge, though, came from the television. He came to the conclusion that “the controversial and the provocative are privileged over the thoughtful and accurate” (Hussain 57). Many studies have been done and have all concluded that the media portrays Muslims in a negative way (Hussain 58, Emery). The media, since its start, has used stereotypes to entertain people, even if these stereotypes are not true (Emery, Tutt 1). Much of the media links “the Islamic faith with male supremacy, holy war, and acts of terror, depicting Arab Muslims as hostile alien intruders, and as lecherous, oily sheikhs intent on using nuclear weapons” (qtd. In Ramji). Throughout time, though, a stereotypical Arab has also “been depicted as a murderer, rapist, religious fanatic, oil-rich and ignorant, and abuser of women” (Ramji). Much of these views are portrayed through television and movies.
People should keep in mind that when they see something in television shows, such as Lost and 24, there may be a misrepresentation because television shows do not have to tell the truth. For example, Naveen Andrews plays Sayid Jarrah on ABC’s Lost. When in Iraq, Sayid was an officer in the Iraqi Republican Guard. When the plane crashed, he was thought to be responsible for its crash. Later on in...

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