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Post-9/11 Anti Immigrant Government Initiatives: The Response of Middle Eastern and South Asian American Organizations Abstract Word Stems Keywords ... Similar Titles
September 11, 2001 is one of those dates in history that will be remembered for a long time, certainly by the millions who witnessed the collapse of the Twin Towers through their television screens over and over again. For Middle Eastern and South Asian Americans, “9/11” will likewise signify a shocking and sad day, but it will also be the milestone that marks the beginning of an era of heightened backlash. For members of these communities, the tragic events ushered in a period characterized by hate crimes, discrimination, profiling and harassment at the hands off the American public. They also experienced feelings of anxiety, fear and alienation generated by the U.S. government’s dragnet aimed to catch terrorists. Purposefully or inadvertently, the series of initiatives singled out Arabs and/or Muslims for profiling.
Immediately after the attacks, individuals who looked Middle Eastern or had Arabic- or Islamic-sounding names, regardless of the accuracy of these perceptions, became the scapegoats of citizens’ anger and vengeance. Hate crimes and bias incidents skyrocketed in the weeks following the terrorist acts and then ebbed, but remained at higher levels than the pre-9/11 period. Murders and other extreme forms of backlash subsided probably due to the calls of public officials, including the President of the United States, who condemned such criminal actions. President George W. Bush visited the Islamic Center of Washington D.C. on September 17, 2001, warning Americans not to confuse terrorists with Muslims and calling for more tolerance and understanding.