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Quick Note: Reactions

August 26th, 2010

Interesting that after the horrific 9/11 attacks, our attitudes toward Muslims was much more conciliatory and restrained than it was after a peaceful sect tried to set up a mosque two blocks away from the attack site nearly a decade later.

What does that say?

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  1. Leszek Cyfer
    August 26th, 2010 at 16:23 | #1

    It was the Bush decade…

    That about sums it up :(

  2. K. Engels
    August 26th, 2010 at 23:16 | #2

    Uh, in West Michigan, where I was at in September 2001, there were very real, very serious wishes to kill every Arab and/or Muslim in the world. The current mood is actually less severe.

  3. Matthew
    August 26th, 2010 at 23:47 | #3

    Before 9/11 a lot of people probably didn’t know a whole lot or care about Islam that much (which could have been at least part of the reason why the original backlash towards Muslims and Islam wasn’t as bad), but then again I was only 12 the time so I could be wrong. As time has gone on however, and Islam got thrown more into the spotlight as more attacks from these extremists came, the original anger from 9/11 that was originally restrained has been building up. Add onto that the constant trumpeting by lots of politicians and political bloggers, etc…that these muslim extremists want to destroy America, coupled with pictures of angry Muslims rioting and holding signs that say things like “Death to America” and people saying Islam is evil and is trying to take over all other religions (by force if necessary) and you have a nice recipe for hatred of Muslims and Islam that wasn’t there before. Then again I could be wrong.

  4. Geoff K
    August 27th, 2010 at 08:00 | #4

    I agree with K. Engels (Wow! first time for everything I guess). In Japan, people may have been restrained, but in the US, people were screaming for blood. When the video came out in December of Bin Laden gloating over how well the attack went, people were fit to be tied.

    As for why the Ground Zero mosque has reignited people’s anger, that’s pretty obvious too. It’s a blatant and deliberate provocation. If they want this to be “something that brings Muslims and non-Muslims together” than it’s already failed spectacularly.

  5. Luis
    August 27th, 2010 at 09:40 | #5

    Hmmm… There is definitely a need for, if not revision, then definitely clarification of the original statement. What I was referring to is a mixed bag, more in some places and less in others; let me see if I can make what I was referring to a bit more clear.

    The main distinction I would make is the difference between private, unspoken fears, as opposed to open, outright expressions, and the targets of those feelings. In the weeks after 9/11, there was definitely much more and definitely sharper, deeper anger inwardly in response to the 9/11 attacks. At that time, a few people singled out as being Muslim were actually killed, many more were attacked (like the Muslim cabbie in NYC recently). There was a lot more general fear in the air.

    However, the target of the antipathy was less at American Muslims, and more toward the vision of terrorism or terrorists themselves. The anger and fear were there–but far more prevalent back then was an open, public, and general sense of support for the Muslim community in the U.S., instead of growing fear and loathing of it.

    For example, take this excerpt from an article published October 1, 2001:

    While the Council on Islamic American Relations has called upon President George W. Bush and other elected officials to make more and stronger statements against anti-Muslim bias, many Arab groups have praised the support they have received.

    In a newspaper column, James J. Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, wrote, “The president has spoken out against this [anti Arab] bigotry, as have almost all other public officials. The Department of Justice has been active in organizing a national outreach program to combat hate crimes against Arab American and American Muslims.” He added that the emails his offices received have been “20-to-1 supportive of our community.”

    There have also been strong local demonstrations, both symbolic and practical, of support for Arab Americans and Muslims in the city in recent weeks. Programs have been set up to escort Arab students to school, political and religious leaders of many faiths have visited mosques and Muslim leaders, and rallies for inter-ethnic unity have been held across the city.

    On October 6 in Flushing Meadows Park, a group of students from 50 schools will meet to speak out against hate and paint a large mural dedicated to unity between immigrant and non-immigrants in the city. “It’s a way to give young people a creative outlet in response to the bias attacks,” said Bryan Pu-Folks, president of New Immigrant Community Empowerment, one of the groups that helped organize the event.

    Even local Middle Eastern restaurants like Zaytoons in Boruem Hill, Brooklyn have seen small signs of support from neighbors. When Zaytoons re-opened several days after the attack, the owner Ahmad Samhan found a stack of letters and notes from neighbors. “When you reopen, I will be the first one in line for chicken shwarma,” one patron wrote. “You are an important part of this neighborhood.”

    I guess that the best way to express it is the difference between the dark fears in individuals versus the overall sense of the community.

    Back in 2001, the dark fears in individuals were definitely more pronounced and violent than they are today.

    But–and this was what I was thinking of in the post above–the overall sense of the community towards Muslims in America was more supportive back then than it is now.

    In 2001, in private and in the dark alleys, it was more normal than it might be today to express that visceral anger to anyone who even seemed Muslim; but in public, in groups, and on the streets in the light of day, it seems far more normal for Americans today to express loathing of Muslims and American immigrants than it was back in 2001.

    I could, of course, still be wrong. Please give me more feedback on this, I am very interested to hear people’s reactions. Thanks for the comments so far!

  6. K. Engels
    August 27th, 2010 at 09:55 | #6

    In light of Geoff’s response, I would like to change my answer to something else. =P

  7. Troy
    August 27th, 2010 at 11:00 | #7

    I felt this:


    sums it up well. This is your basic political theatre to rile up the roilable.

    The noise sucks up all the attention the public has for policy debate.

    When the right attacks, it does not have to worry about defense.

  8. August 30th, 2010 at 10:42 | #8

    How on earth is a religious group wanting to build a community center a “deliberate provocation”? What are they trying to provoke?

    There are a bunch of Muslims in NYC. There are a bunch in Manhattan.

    A very moderate leader, one who has embraced both Jews and Christians, one who has been officially sent to other parts of the world on behalf of the United States, wants to build a community center in a building to serve their community.

    He condemned the 9/11 attacks as un-Islamic, he praises the freedoms of the United States, and (gasp) he thinks maybe the US needs to re-examine its policies in the Middle East and Islamic world.

    How is that a “provocation”?

    This is all political theater. The people bitching about this are just doing it to make political gains. They are un-American by trying to suggest that these folks be denied their right of freedom of religion.

    Guys like Gingrich should be ashamed of themselves.

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