By Lenah Hassaballah
America’s stereotype of Muslims is clear:
scary looking Arab terrorists who walk
around screaming “Allah” in every other
sentence. And oh yeah, they may blow
something up at any given moment. If you
believe that, this one’s for you.
Before we go any further, let’s first
address the elephant in the room—
terrorism. Thanks to 9/11, Americans most
closely associate this term with turbanedmen on airplanes, a prejudice that has opened the door for unfair stereotyping here at home. Muslims really are Americans, but sadly, many closed-minded people see them solely as an unwanted threat.
Back in 2003, the New York Police
Department began showing a film called
“The Third Jihad’’ to its officers in training.
The film conveys only the threat of “radical Islam.” But with its suspenseful music and image of the Muslim brotherhood flag flapping dramatically in front of the White House, the piece argues that all Muslims want to take over the U.S. with their “terrorist” religion.
Propaganda like “The Third Jihad” only further complicates acceptance for post-9/11 Muslim Americans. Author Mustafa Bayoumi writes of this in his 2008 novel How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America. In one particularly jarring section, Bayoumi tells of the NYPD dragging a Syrian family out of their New York City home in the middle of the night because of their suspected involvement in terrorist activity. Did I mention the family included three young children? Ultimately, the suspicions proved false, based on nothing more than an inaccurate hunch, possibly formed with “The Third Jihad” in mind.
Let’s remember—America is home to many Muslim Americans, and they interact with this country just like every other citizen. They bust their asses out work, get degrees, and, at the end of the day, put food on the
table. So, think carefully before you jump to conclusions about someone of another ethnicity or faith, because believe me, you
do not want to feel the wrath of an angry Muslim wife or mother—that’s the worst terror of them all.