U.S. Muslim poll: 9/11 led to increased Islamophobia

An American Muslim. Editorial credit: a katz

A poll of American Muslims has revealed that 69% have personally experienced one or more incidents of anti-Muslim bigotry or discrimination since 9/11.

The poll by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was part of a report which documented and analysed how the aftermath of the September 11th attacks changed the American Muslim community over the past 20 years.

CAIR conducted the online survey from August 12 to September 3 and received a total of 1,053 completed responses.

The report said: “September 11, 2001 sparked an immediate and deadly rise in hate crimes across the United States that has yet to fully subside twenty years later. Although the attacks themselves sparked a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment, Islamophobia became a tool of manipulation used by politicians and media voices to instil and escalate fear of Islam and advance disastrous government policies against Muslims here and overseas. Over the past 20 years, their rhetoric has come at a deadly cost and resulted in a number of hate crimes against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim.”

The 9/11 attacks. Editorial credit: Anthony Correia

Key findings of the poll include:

  • 40% of respondents said they are frequently stopped for extra screening or questioning at airports.
  • 79% said they have either witnessed or experienced increased anti-Muslim bigotry triggered by the 9/11 attacks. 69% said that they witnessed or experienced it after President Trump’s Muslim Ban, and 51% said they witnessed or experienced it after the invasion of Iraq.
  • 34% said that anti-Muslim rhetoric in the years since 9/11 has had an impact on their mental health.
  • 63% believe that American media coverage of Muslims has not become more accurate in the years since 9/11.
  • 72% of Muslim women have personally experienced one or more incidents of anti-Muslim bigotry or discrimination since 9/11, compared to 67% of Muslim men. Muslim women also reported feeling less accepted in American society [56%] compared to Muslim men [65%].
  • 95% of Muslims said that when they hear negative comments about Islam and Muslims, they always [45%] or sometimes (50%) speak out.
  • 63% of Muslims report that their mosques have engaged in increased interfaith work since 9/11.

The report said that after September 11, 2001, the government instituted several programs that eroded civil liberties and targeted Muslims in America, including the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), the Patriot Act, the no-fly list, the watchlist and the Muslim Ban.

CAIR said: “Overall, the results show that American Muslims have suffered unique, significant and ongoing harm as a result of the attacks and subsequent events over the past two decades. However, the report also shows that many American Muslims have met and overcome those legal, political and societal challenges. In addition, American Muslims tend to report significantly different post-9/11 experiences based on gender and ethnicity, particularly for Muslim women and African-American Muslims…

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“Despite the challenges of a post 9/11 world with institutionalised Islamophobia, American Muslims continue to thrive in all aspects of society. These areas include philanthropy, activism, media and entertainment, and civic engagement.”

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