Osama's Dead: Will Things Get Better for U.S. Muslims?
There's been quite a bit of talk over the past couple of days about Democrats and Republicans -- and, by some accounts, all Americans -- being unified by Osama bin Laden's death. But according to ColorLines' Seth Freed Wessler, not everyone is actually included in the "we're all one" narrative. Muslim Americans are still dealing with a "homeland security" infrastrucure that vilifies them and a persistent "clash of civilizations" worldview. While everyone is celebrating, he says, they're left to wonder about what happens next.
Read some excerpts here:
Ten years after Sept. 11, 2001, the animating target of the war on terror is dead, his body cast into the sea. A chapter is closed. Yet, in many communities here in the United States, it seemed the target was never just Osama bin Laden. For Arabs and Muslims in the U.S., and for those lumped carelessly together with them, the war on terrorism has not been an abstraction waged in far off lands, but a fight that's engulfed communities right here at home.
In the long decade since Al Qaeda accomplished the unthinkable, slaughtering thousands and ushering in a global war that's taken countless more lives, the U.S. has massively expanded anti-terrorism operations within our own borders. The homeland security infrastructure quickly erected in the attack's aftermath regularly targets men and women who have nothing to do with terrorism, while making racial profiling and mass deportation a regular feature of life.
... Muslims in the U.S. became the most ominous threat, by policy. The Department of Homeland Security created the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), commonly called "Special Registration," which functioned as a deportation net specifically for Muslims.
... All of this is the legacy of our government's hunt for Bin Laden. Now that U.S. forces have killed him, Muslim communities in the U.S. are left wondering what happens next.
"This is a time for closure for the victims of 9/11 and in fact for all victims of terrorism all over the world," said Hassan Jaber, the director of an Arab American social services organization in Dearborn [Minnesota] called ACCESS. "The conversation after 9/11, that there is a clash of civilizations, really that was never the case and that theory did not work in real life."
There are sadly few signs, however, that the internal security apparatus constructed to meet that post-9/11 view of the world will die with Bin Laden.
Read more at ColorLines.
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