Innocent Until Proven Muslim
Islamophobia, the War on Terror, and the Muslim Experience Since 9/11
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Available August 31, 2021
On September 11, 2001, nineteen terrorists hijacked four airplanes and carried out attacks on the United States, killing more than three thousand Americans and sending the country reeling.
Three days after the attacks, President George W. Bush declared, "This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace." Yet in the days and years following, Muslim Americans--equal victims of the 9/11 terrorism--became targets of violence and hate crimes conducted in the name of patriotism.
These acts of discrimination, denounced publicly by our nation's leaders, were given unspoken license with the launch of the US military and intelligence campaign known as the War on Terror, which demonized all Muslims as terrorists. In 2009, President Barack Obama said, "America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace"--a message that did not prevent, but indeed fueled, the marginalization of Muslim American communities. And the Islamophobic rhetoric from Donald Trump's campaigns and administration continued to stoke the fire.
In Innocent Until Proven Muslim, scholar and activist Dr. Maha Hilal tells the powerful story of two decades of the War on Terror and the hate toward Muslims that has ensued. Hilal offers not only a chronological overview of the many policies created under the umbrella of the War on Terror, but also accounts of the lived experiences of Muslim Americans, from stories of what it means to live as part of a "suspect" community, to the reality of surviving hate crimes. Along the way, this marginalized community gives voice to lessons we can all learn from their experiences and to what it would take to create a better future.
Twenty years after the tragic events of 9/11, we must look at its full legacy and move toward a United States that is truly inclusive and unified.