Decades of spying and repression: the anti-Palestinian origins of American Islamophobia

June 7, 2024
The Guardian

...After 9/11, everyone – immigrant and citizen, activist and spectator – became vulnerable. And a new category of suspicion fully entered the national imagination: the Muslim American.

The anti-Muslim focus of “war on terror” policies “was built on a pre-existing foundation of hostility to the Palestinian liberation movement”, as a recent report by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal explained.

After September 11, existing programs that targeted Palestinians and Arabs were retooled and expanded, and the category of the Muslim American was made. In doing so, Muslim Americans were not just racialized after 9/11; they were basically invented. The term scarcely existed in the popular imagination before 2001. A Nexis database search of “Muslim American” in news sources from 1 January 1986 to 10 September 2001 finds a scant 437 mentions. Since September 11, there have been more than 10,000, the database’s upper limit.

In short, almost no one talked about Muslim Americans before 9/11. Then everyone did, all the way to Trump and his Muslim ban....

Read the full piece here

Last modified 

June 7, 2024