Sept. 11, 2001, marks the day when four coordinated terrorist attacks on the United States were launched by the terrorist group al-Qaeda in New York City, Washington D.C, and Stonycreek, Pennsylvania. It has been 13 years since this happened, but it has not been forgotten.
Since then airports worldwide have made major changes in security. The US Congress immediately passed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act and created the Transportation Security Administration. TSA has implemented stricter security screening for passengers and luggage. However, while the US focused on ensuring safety for their citizens, they did not ensure safety for all.
After the September 11 attacks, the Islamic population in the United States faced horrible, unnecessary consequences. Innocent Muslims that would pass through TSA would often be targeted and accused if wearing a hijab (headscarf for women that covers the head and neck) and burka (full face and body coverage). The association between Muslim and terrorist would soon be a stereotype many Muslims around the world would have to live with.
In the past month the world has stood in shock once again after the release of videos by the al-Qaeda influenced group, ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). These videos showed the gruesome decapitation of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Both videos were sent to President Obama in response to launched airstrikes by the US military on ISIS.
“A message to America” was the first video released by the terrorist group on Aug, 19, 2014, which showed the beheading of James Foley. The second video titled “A second message to America,” was released on Sept. 8, 2014, revealing the beheading of Steven Sotloff. The dates that these videos were released are notably close to what would have been the 13th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
In the first video it is apparent that James Foley’s last words were from a script his executioners had written for him, a script blaming the US for his execution.
“I call on my friends, family, and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the US government. For what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality.”
Not only does he deliver a statement condemning the United States military action in Iraq, but he concludes with saying that he, “wish[es] [he] wasn’t American.”
The actions taken by this terrorist group that is strongly affiliated with a religion results in consequences for others not involved that happen to share the same religion.
The media’s portrayal of religious extremists can influence students on stereotypical views. Students need to be aware of the power of media, and to understand that a small group of religious extremists do not represent the millions of peaceful people who share that faith.
Students Adithi Jagannath, Natalie Ryan, and Christopher Chan interviewed students on their views of stereotypes associated with ISIS.