With the eight year anniversary of 9/11 mere hours away, the Associated Press has written a very moving, very emotional piece, focusing on victims who fear leaving the house on that day, victims who will never view that day as routine, victims who get a sick feeling in their stomach when the anniversary arrives each year - Muslims.
While nobody is promoting discrimination against any group of people based on the actions of a maniacal few, one has to question if the alleged terror experienced by Muslims on this anniversary warrants a focal point? On a day in which Americans take time to remember the devastation and the loss of life on 9/11, we are encouraged by the AP to feel sorry for those who might receive strange stares, or may 'feel' less safe on this day because they are Muslim.
Yet there is little mention of Americans themselves who feel a little less safe on 9/11, because we remember being attacked on that day, we remember watching over 3,000 of our friends and family dying that day, we remember the screams of the heroes on Flight 93, the screams of women and men, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, who desperately made an attempt to take back a plane scheduled for a suicide mission which surely would have killed many more.
A quote from Sarah Sayeed attempts to capture the anxiety of the day as she wonders, ‘should I go anywhere?' An appropriate question, but perhaps more so for Americans who asked themselves the same question weeks, months, and even years after the tragedy. There is no attempt to capture the anxiety of those who still give a quick glance up to the sky each time the sound of an airplane fills their ears.
The elaborate sob story comes on the heels of another AP article which covers a recent survey indicating that Americans believe Muslims are a significant target for discrimination. The survey, provided by the Pew Research Center, shockingly finds that 58% of Americans, when questioned less than one month prior to the anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil, find that Muslims tend to be highly discriminated against.
The AP would have you believe that the fear of backlash against Muslims ‘builds each 9/11'. Yet the Pew Research Center poll indicates that the American view of Islam as a violent religion has actually fluctuated over the last several years, and in fact has declined from 45% to 38% over the last two years. Meaning, tucked neatly away from the focus of the poll, is the fact that a majority of Americans do not currently view Islam as more likely to incite violence than other major religions - hardly a discriminatory mindset.
Further breakdown of this survey indicates that younger people especially, believe Muslims face a high level of discrimination, with 73% of those aged 18-29 having this opinion. That's 73% of people who were between the age of 10 and 21 years old at the time of the attacks, feel that Muslims are discriminated against. Of course, this skews the numbers a touch. From a recent Newsweek article, millennial author Neil Howe states that children falling in this age range have taken the horror of 9/11, and transformed it into the fear that "strange people with motives we don't understand could be lurking among us."
The discrimination against Muslims poll also found that the percentages were skewed by one particular political group with a significantly higher number - 80%. The group? Liberal democrats.
All of this seems a bit odd considering the Pew Research Center conducted a similar poll over three years ago in which it was determined that 'Americans view Muslims favorably'.
It seems that on a significant date in American history, the AP would rather focus on manufacturing sympathy for Muslims, than reporting on an actual tragedy for Americans.
Photo Credit: 2001 The Record (Bergen County, NJ)/Thomas E. Franklin