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Shadow of al-Qaeda

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When the events of 9/11 surged through the 50 states, it affected all Americans one way or another. When the identities of the hijackers were released, people started pointing fingers at the Arabs, including the ones that were US citizens. Suddenly, Arabs or any Muslim became our enemies. Ten years have passed, and tension has lightened up due to countries trying to forget and terrorists becoming more diverse in ethnicity. However, Arabs still suffer from discrimination because of the war, the actions of al-Qaeda, and a biased media. It’s just not right to let factors that are so easily manipulated and misunderstood to create the general image for a group of people.

Starting off with the war, the battle played a grand part in polluting the image of Arabs. The fact that they were the ethnicity of our enemies gave citizens mixed feelings about them. Arabs were fighting our troops, so they became the enemy among citizens as well. However, nobody ever asked why al-Qaeda, decided to initiate 9/11. A little known fact is that US soldiers were already in Saudi Arabia before the attack. The soldiers had absolutely no right to be stationed there. When the US refused to withdraw forces, this deeply offended the Muslims by impairing their sovereignty. Al-Qaeda, the organization that planned 9/11, resorted to terrorism. Terrorism is the way a smaller or weaker country fights back against a stronger state. The series of hijackings and bombing of important US buildings was al-Qaeda practically telling the US that it cannot control everybody. When the attacks took place, everybody forgot about the conflict in Saudi-Arabia, and Ex-President George W. Bush declared war on terrorism. While the enmity between US soldiers and Muslim soldiers were great, it was the only cause of Arab discrimination.

Another reason for the negativity of Arabs is the actions of al-Qaeda. Everything it did, US citizens thought was brutal and savage; and it was. In the early phases of the war, al-Qaeda raided towns, forced people to support Osama bin-Laden and forced men to join their military. During the active periods of war, the organization plotted attacks against neighboring cities and the US. On occasion, al-Qaeda would capture Americans and execute them on live television. In one particular video, US reporter Nick Berg was tied to a chair in prisoner’s clothing by his captors. After giving a speech in the Arabic language, they decapitated him. Al-Qaeda’s offenses deeply shocked US citizens. The actions were indeed cold, but we cannot let them be the judge of the Arab image because obviously, not all Arabs feel the need to kill someone to make a point. The organization was acting out of their war. Many people in their military were citizens who were forced to join. Because al-Qaeda was the enemies’ leader, some misinformed US citizens believed that whatever the will of the organization was the will of Muslim society. However, the strongest force of Arab discrimination is about to be addressed.

The last reason for Arab discrimination is the American media. The media is an extremely powerful and potent weapon, especially in crucial times. During the war, the news would constantly be flooded with updates about how many Marines were killed on that day or what they achieved. Every time the US took a blow, the media put so much emphasis on it, it made Arabs look evil. However, nobody mentioned the thousands of innocent Arabs killed and oppressed by our soldiers; that was never on a headline. Our media seeks out every opportunity to make the US look like the good guys. Because of this, it tends to take facts and mix it with just the right words, thus creating an article that would boil the blood of Americans. As Rami Abushhab once said, “If you kill an Arab you’re a hero. If you kill an American, you’re a monster.” No matter what, the media will attempt to make America look good.

On May 2, 2011, Osama bin-Laden was killed in a firefight against US Navy Seals. Osama was the orchestrator of 9/11. When it hit the news, Americans rejoiced and celebrated. Some described it as one of the greatest achievements in US history. Al-Qaeda’s ringleader had died, yet it changed nothing. I still hear people making jokes about their Arab friends committing suicide and bombing themselves. I believe this was because there were so many other things that made them look bad. So, that is why we cannot judge upon a certain group of people on things are so easily misunderstood or manipulated.





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