Due to the wake of September 11th, Middle Easterners from all over the world have come under particular scrutiny, especially those in the United States. Americans consider the events of September 11 to be a historical event that transformed the conveniently targeted acts of aggression toward the Middle Eastern community.
In this case, through the argument of Puar and Rai that ‘Queery-ing’ Arab-Muslim subjective is ‘central to the creation of certain knowledge of terrorism’ this argument is able to conceptualise racism within the post-9/11 environment (Naber,2006). The argument is that propaganda displayed throughout midtown Manhattan a few days after the attacks articulate the ‘turbaned caricature of bin Laden being anally penetrated by the Empire State Building’ (Puar and Rai,2002). The posters' citation further read ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘So you like skyscrapers, huh, bitch?’ Other forms of aggression were explored through the use of media and websites, virtual propaganda and aggression led to a ‘series of weapons at the disposal’ of White Nationalist. This resulted in higher numbers of Arab and Muslim victims, contributing to the ongoing racial profiling and discrimination faced. A mass number of Arabs and Muslims were attacked and harassed due to the media's perception of what a terrorist is. The media was able to manufacture images of Middle Easterners and Muslims with cartoon bombs that had Muslim turbans (Bowman,2006) as well as suicide bombers, aeroplane hijackings such as the 9/11 terror attacks and skyscraper terrorism (Aswad,2013). Through the article by Susan M. Akram “The Aftermath of September 11th 2001” she was able to expose to the media that ‘39% of white Americans had harboured some form of prejudice against the Arabs and Muslims after 9/11’ (Akram,2002). Akram (2002) further explored the impact on Arabs and Muslims stating that those interviewed revealed their ‘fear of heat crimes, threats of their safety and future, isolation and loss of community and stigmatization.’ This ultimately, revealed that the White Nationalist had a great impact on the perception and depiction of Arabs and Muslims throughout the United States.
Similarly, the Middle Easterns in Europe are facing the same issues as the Middle Easterns in the United States. Professor Peter Mandaville states that: “For many Muslims in Europe, Islam is indeed an important reference point for self- identity, but one whose strength and meaning are contingent on circumstance rather than fixed” (Mandaville,2009). In many circumstances, just like the United States, stereotypes have continued to circulate to the European countries which had led to the hate-motivated violence toward Middle Easterns, In the United Kingdom alone, 193 anti-Arab crimes have been recorded, from murders to attacks against Mosques (Abdelkader,2017). Both the United States and Europe had a significant role to play after the terror attacks of 9/11 leading to the significance to people of Middle Eastern backgrounds who reside in Western Countries.
How were Middle Easterners treated due to the subsequent rise of white nationalism?
Through the years post 9/11, the rise of White Nationalism has become more prominent, identifying and exploiting that through White Nationalism White Supremacy has also risen to lead to the rise of Islamophobia. This is evident as Steven Salaita states that; “Islamophobia appears to be the equivalent to Muslims of what anti-Semitism is to Jews, at least in its current usage” (Salaita, 2006).
In response to the September 11 attacks, there was a rise in nationalism, White Nationalism was the term that had originated from white supremacists. From time to time white supremacists had tried to recognise the meaning further by highlighting the term white nationalist as; “a country or region by white racial identity and which seeks to promote the interests of whites exclusively, typically at the expense of people of other backgrounds” (Ruben,2019). After the attacks of 9/11, reports have depicted that white nationalists have eliminated more victims than any other type of extremists. However, white nationalism is not a current occurrence, Eren Waters has stated that; White nationalists and white extremists are deeply rooted into the American political system as well as their social construct (Waters,2019). However, due to the media delving deeper into the ‘political polarization’ white nationalists are experiencing the feelings of distrust and fear among their victims (Waters,2019).
The Klu Klux Klan had also played a major role in making sure no Middle Easterner or Muslim were safe, fearing for their lives. The Klu Klux Klan is a group of white supremacists who had spread terror, they were founded during the time of the Civil War and lasted till 1877 till they had regained power back in 1915 and still remain present till this day. In October 2018, eight individuals had posed in Ku Klux Klan uniforms outside of an Islamic Mosque during the weekend of Belfast (Weaver,2018). Iman Atta states that: “Standing outside a mosque with KKK hoods sends a message that Muslims are not only unwelcome but that they should beware. The police need to find these individuals and haul them into court to send a message that such hate will not be accepted” (Atta,2018).
However, it is not just White Supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan who have racial tenancies, due to the evolution of White Nationalism and the attacks of 9/11, racial slurs such as; Sand Nigger, carpet pilot, firecracker, towel head, rag head, sand rat etc. Most of the racial slurs such as ‘carpet pilot’ had circulated after the terror attacks of 9/11. Ilir Disha, James C. Cavendish and Ryan D. King had conducted research on the impact of 9/11 and their findings had included that hate crimes such as racial slurs have increased by 1,600 per cent since the terror attacks in 2001(Disha, Cavendish, King, 2011).
As can be seen through the points above, the significance of the September 11th attack has resulted in the issues faces by Middle Easterns such as discrimination and stereotypes. Labels such as ‘terrorist’ and ‘enemy’ have also become more prevalent throughout the Western Countries. The growth of racism toward the immigrants of the Western world had also become more prevalent, revealing the perception and depiction of Arabs and Muslims. The use of media and websites, virtual propaganda and aggression of White Nationalists towards Arabs and Muslims had increased, resulting in higher numbers of Arab and Muslim victims, contributing to the ongoing racial profiling and discrimination faced. Finally, the significance of the treatment of Middle Easterns due to the subsequent rise of White Nationalists.