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11th September, 2011, one of the worst terrorist attacks in the history of mankind on New York City’s world trade center, changed the way how Muslim community is seen throughout the world. The attacks carried out by Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda changed the way how Muslims staying in USA, Canada and Europe were treated. Muslim community as a whole was seen with eyes of hated post attacks and many mosques and other religious buildings were attacked. People from Middle Eastern countries and followers of Islam were victims of hate crimes and many instances of vandalism, assault, harassment and threats have been recorded during that time (Thayil, J., 2001). Many people of USA believe that those attacks were religious attacks by Muslims rather than certain individual people who carried out them. As a result, people started creating a negative impression about the entire Muslim community rather than certain individuals who were responsible for such attacks. Because of involvement of certain individuals who belong to a particular religion, the entire community had to suffer.
Post 9/11 attacks, Muslims were forced to change their dressing style as many countries demanded bans on burqua a traditional dress wear for women in Muslim countries. These countries demanded ban on burqua because they believed that terrorist can misuse burqua as women were subject to lenient security checks. Muslims are known for keeping long beard which is part of their religion and definition of a Muslim. But post 9/11 attacks, many Muslims across the world were seen with suspicion for being linked to the attacks and they were easily identified with their long beards. They feared of communal violence and attacks on them and many of them decided not to keep long bears. Security checks were stepped up at the airport for Muslims as part of precautionary measures result of growing hatred and suspicion towards the Muslim community. Even women and children were subject to enhanced security checkups at the airport due to growing suspicion on the community. Muslims were questioned for their religious beliefs, personal lives and culture. Many Muslims were thrown out of their jobs in USA, Canada and Europe because of the suspicion and many were forced to close their business and return home. There was a growing trend of Islamophobia as people were being afraid of Muslims and anyone related to Islam.
Muslims in the sit-coms are also being stereotyped whether a Muslim woman still has to cover her hair, why they are not allowed to vote in general elections and why Muslims cannot haggle with salesman for buying a rug for the prayer. But nowadays, a Muslim woman is shown as strong and unique role model for younger generation who is allowed to pursue her education, career and lifestyle. Also the dressing style has also changed with a Muslim woman seen as a fashion icon whose dresses are religiously appropriate yet stylish and professional.
Muslims in western countries such as Canada, USA and Europe are far more educated and economically well established than their counterparts in predominantly Muslim societies in countries like Iran, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. Traditional Muslim societies are still rigid in their religious behavior and there are many restrictions especially on women who cannot take part in general voting or play any sports. Women in such countries are treated unequally compared to men and they are just confined within four walls of home. While in Canada, now Muslims who are staying for a longer duration have evolved both educationally and economically. They have more freedom culturally and can take part in any activities which is not possible in religiously rigid Predominant Muslim countries. Even women are allowed to pursue education and their desired careers. Muslims in Canada have adopted the local lifestyle, they are becoming highly educated and they are contributing to the growth of the economy. References
Ali, S. (2008). Second and Third Generation Muslims in Britain: A Socially Excluded Group?
Religious Studies and Academic Study of Islam.
Thayil, J. (2001). 645 Racial Incidents Reported in Week After Septmeber 11.