The Islamophobic discourse change after 9/11

Research Question

This dissertation seeks to answer the research question on what ways did the Islamophobic discourse change after 9/11?

Research context, relevance, and Novelty

There is a growing body of literature that attracts attention as to how Islamophobia is both being shaped and how it is shaping both the domestic and foreign policy in the United States following the September 11 attacks. A vast number of scholars have taken a mandate to interrogate the politics of the fear around the face of Islam that has spread throughout the nation. This is a critical topic to be studied. This is because, since the 9/11, the lives of the Muslim community living in the United States has changed. With policies that have been advanced by Donald Trump, they seek to ensure that the Muslim community has been banned in the US; which has undesirable outcomes for women and children as well as the Islamic students in the US. Just a few days after the 9/11, the then-president George W. Bush addressed the Muslim community by arguing that the acts of violence that they undertook against the innocent people are a violation of the fundamental stipulations of the Islamic faith.

Sixteen years later, dramatic changes have occurred. The current president of the US has demonized Islam; spreading false rumors that the Muslims were in celebration after 9/11, accusing the Syrian refugees of being terrorists and making policies to curtail the immigration of certain Muslim countries to the US. Since 9/11, there has been a general acceptance that the Muslims are a significant threat to the nation; and this has been made without any justification or proof that would be necessary if that charge was levied against another member of any other ethnic or religious group. Research conducted by Pew Research Center found that about 50 percent of the Muslim community in the US reported that their religion was making their lives more difficult. This dissertation will thus be taking a proactive approach in examining the background of Islamophobic discourse in the united states and evaluate how this changed after the 9/11. The changes to the Muslim community ranging from anti-Muslim policies and the discriminatory rules that have been fathomed against them will be evaluated among any other issues related to the 9/11 that rose to affect the Muslim community. Understanding Islam from the perspective that most of these people are harmless would help in reducing the discriminatory tendencies that have been directed towards them. The women in some cases have mandated to put down the Hijab such that they would get a chance to survive in the US economy. Even the media activists have been against most of the Muslim countries and misinformation about Islam has been spread in the United States, and most leaders have hinged on sowing distrust towards the Muslim community.

As the researchers in the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive society examined, they found that Islamophobia has also begun getting baked into the legal system in the United States. There are sharia laws that have exacerbated the problem. Islam has become a demonized religion in the United States, and this has been creating a spectrum of manage that does not exist. Through this research, an understanding of the Muslim community and what their religion stands for will be evaluated. This will help in providing a powerful critique of the Islamophobic fears and motives and counter-terrorism. It will offer a perspective that will change the way the westerners have regarded the way the Muslims and Islam have been blamed for radicalization and extremism. The research will situate Islamophobia as a means of structural racism and as a primary tool for shaping the practices of the war on terror and in particular the discriminatory US national security policies toward the Muslim community. Looking at the hate crime statistics by the FBI, it is evident that the crimes against Muslims have increased in the last decade. For example, the year 2010, this was called the year of ground-zero mosque controversy that led to public participation in leading anti-Muslim campaigns in the mainstream media. This has increased the rate of Islamophobia in the United States, and a series of anti-Muslim attacks have sufficed on both media and in the streets. The Muslim community is made to feel quite unsafe, and this necessitates research to understand Islamophobic tendencies and uncover the Islamic community to minimize discriminatory policies against them.

Theoretical framework

Extensive literature has been diverting attention and focus on connecting anti-Muslim rhetoric in politics with a touch of taking an overview of the Muslim foreign policy decisions. Most readings have argued that the violent interventions and the war on terror in the Muslim-majority nations, as well as offering support for the Muslim regimes, has been an extension of the Islamophobic policies. The 9/11 terror attacks in the USA made an impact that led to changing the core of fear in the country. The western intelligence acquired a new enemy that the United States could blame for the attacks. Islamophobia is a concept that is somewhat controversial in the way it is used in different fields. It is possible to postulate that this term has both psychological and sociological perspectives. Sociologically, this term refers to the discrimination and the intolerance of the Muslim community. It is a strong dislike of Islam. From this definition, it is clear that from the literature, Islamophobia is a subject of hate, and it is often related to sociological issues or racism. According to Moten (2012), a psychological definition can be provided for understanding Islamophobia. He states that Islamophobia can be described as a phenomenon whose “manifestations include prejudice, stereotyping, hostility, discriminatory treatment, denigration of the most sacred symbols of Islam, and non-recognition of Islam and Muslims by the law of the land.” (Moten, 2012: 156).

In the wake of the 21st century, the rise of hate crimes and discrimination were on the rise. Since the 9/11, the way the United States perceive these Islam is very different. In the United States, research by () argues that after the 9/11, the Muslims became isolated from society. The threat theory can be used in understanding the experiences of the Muslim community. People do not want them as neighbors or colleagues. The racist’s attitude and the prejudice against the Muslim community are so deeply-entrenched in the united states to the extent that even Barrack Obama was once attacked using this racial ideology. According to the research by (), discrimination and prejudice against the Muslims by referring to the Hamburg mosques. Since the 9/11, the mosques have been described as dangerous places. This is because, despite the mosque that an individual visits, one could easily find themselves or their families being on a police watch for the rest of their lives. This is a situation that has helped increase Islamophobic tendencies among the westerners, and it has made them regard the Muslims community as enemies.

The growing Islam population in the United States has also been another important cause of the rise of Islamophobia. For many centuries, the Muslims had been living in the western countries; but their population density experienced an increase in the wake of the 1960s economic boom. More Muslim groups entered the United States as migrant workers, and with this kind of increased population, the Muslim community has built their own culture inside western societies. They are starting from restaurants, schools, mosques, and even cemeteries. This research is backed up by () who finds that many westerners have not accepted Islam as a religion/ethnic group mainly because these people are conservative of their way of life and they cannot be easily integrated into the western culture. The growing Islamic population in the western nations and Europe included has brought fear, and a rising conspiracy has been formed against the Muslims to be secretly terrorists.

The conspiracy theory argues that misinformation can lead to tainting an image of a community. The media in the west and especially in the United States has escalated the fear through conspiracy and creating an Islamophobic atmosphere both visually and textually. According to the research by (), Islam has been regarded as a source of terrorism, and the western media has managed to showcase the Muslims as a hate-filled group. Whereas this perspective of the freedom of speech was thought to be the main target of the press while showcasing the threats of the Muslim community, it increases to the symbolism of Islamophobia. For example, Hollywood has also been supporting the claims of negative attitudes towards the Muslim community. Most often, they portray the Muslims and Arabs as violent and alien strangers; and especially after the 9/11. After the cold war ended, Hollywood was quick to announce that the world has a new enemy in the name of Islam. This form of hate-filled images that have been produced by the media has created a type of stereotype that even legalize racist’s attitudes towards the Muslim community. The Islamophobic discourse has thus become an essential tool that manipulates fear and the American obsession with Islamophobia as a national security threat has increased, and this has made Islamophobia emerge as a political, social and economic necessity in the western civilization.

Data, Methods, and Research Design

A methodological approach and overview will be required before the researcher has embarked on engaging with Islamophobia and intersectionality of race in the United States. In selecting the most effective research design, the researcher will deploy several methodological tools. This research will strike a clear difference between the phenomenon and context (Islamophobia and race), and multiple primary and secondary sources will be used to provide evidence. This research will be a combination of both non-empirical and empirical studies.

Study design

This research will be qualitative. The qualitative approaches are the processes that help to engage a set of extensive data to get insights into the data analysis and includes data coding. Following a case study approach (critical instance case study method), this research will brainstorm from both primary and secondary sources. This approach will be practical as it will allow the researcher to emphasize on an in-depth content and the researcher will delve deep into data sources to analyze the situations, behaviors, and events that might have led to an increase in Islamophobia after the 9/11.

Assumptions and ethical issues

To complete this research, there will be some assumptions that the researcher will formulate. These assumptions are related to but not limited t, the differences in perceptions about Islam and Muslim communities around different parts in the west. It will be assumed that the notions about Islam community are the same around the world. The researcher will also assume that the Muslim community initiates the media portrayal of terrorism and xenophobic attacks and that the Islamophobia has been on the rise since 9/11. The impact of media and the propagation about the sentiments and the proceeds of the 9/11 will be assumed to have brought about the growth of Islamophobia. Other assumptions will be that the Muslim community has faced discrimination and alienation from the societies they live in and especially in the western countries owing to the negative portrayal by the media and the misconceptions about Islam and terrorism.

Some of the most prominent ethical issues informed consent. Secondly, obtaining informed consent from Muslim groups will also be an ethical challenge. The question of anonymity and confidentiality will most likely affect the research, and this will be closely connected to fear of speaking up about the issues that the Muslim community face owing to the rise of Islamophobic tendencies.

Research methods, Data collection methods and justification

Primary and secondary research methods will be deployed. The case study approach will consist of analyzing content, commencing with analyzing press statements, newspaper articles, and other published articles online. The overall research process will enable the generation of findings and conclusions that will provide answers to both primary and secondary questions. Primary research will involve an in-depth interview. Secondary analysis will pertain to collecting data from different sources, which include government reports, online articles, and media reports. The effectiveness of a secondary source will be identified through coding and sampling. Coding will help the researcher to only research using keywords that are related to Islamophobia after 9/11.

Data collection related to the issues of discrimination and racism and in terms of effectiveness at enabling an enabling comparison between respondents. After analyzing reports from different sources using the case study approach, the researcher will also use an in-depth interview method as the primary data collection method. Through this in-depth interview, this will help in collecting data that will be important in understanding the issues that have emanated relating to Islamophobia after the 9/11. Qualitative research using in-depth interviews and focus groups will help to understand the experiences and the encounters that the Muslim community has had since the 9/11. The survey questions will be situated to facilitate an analysis of the visibility of the Muslim respondents, and this will further help in understanding the situation of the Muslims. In-depth interviews with the Muslim communities, police, and the general society will help the researcher to explore different factors that shape attitudes towards the Muslim community. The use of both the selected primary and secondary data collection method will help in shedding light as to the experience and triangulate the intersectionality and opinions of the Muslim community.

Using narrative analysis, this will help the researcher to reformulate stories that are presented by the respondents and taking into consideration the context of the response and experiences of the respondent. Purposeful sampling will be used to identify and select the information-rich source. In terms of this research, the researcher will sample the selection of materials that are involved in identifying and selecting articles pertinent to the study. Content analysis will be thus used for the chosen, and it will be useful in helping the research collect evidence through matching patterns and acquiring linkages between pieces of information on the experiences of the Muslim community after the 9/11.

Preliminary Timetable

The use of the preliminary timetable helps in providing the direction and framework that will guide the dissertation. It will help the researcher to develop a well-composed, organized modern research. Below is an indication of the research timetable that the researcher will apply

Chapter    Topic     %    Words     Months

1    Introduction     5    1,000    1

2    Literature review     30    6,000    2

3    Methodology     20    2,500    1

4    Data analysis     25    3,000    2

5    Conclusion and implication     20    2,500    2

Total         100    15,000    8


Note: this is a preliminary timetable, and sometimes the estimated time can take longer than the expected period. Additional time will need to be allocated for the starting and the finishing of the project. This timetable also does not commit the researcher to anything. It only helps the researcher to formulate a research preparedness.



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