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July 4, 2023

The Patriot Act and Islamophobia in the US after 9/11

PART I: Literature Review

This literature review aims to evaluate contemporary literature on Islamophobia in the US to discover whether the Patriot Act has contributed to the rise of Islamophobia culture in the US post 9/11. Notably, modern literature was reviewed through the lens of media representation, law enforcement, and racial profiling.  Several authors have studied the impact of the Patriotic Act on the Islamophobia culture in the US after the 9/11 events.

Postpositivism School of Thought

The aim of the study by Bukhari et al. (2019) was to examine the mechanism by which Western nations, including the US and their non-Muslim partners, propagate Islamophobia. Social constructivism theory was used to describe and process data (Bukhari et al., 2019). The research employed trivial data in written research papers, media articles, discussion papers, and speeches by prominent world leaders to create a case demonstrating how anti-Muslim feelings, bigotry, and hostility against Muslims were propagated in the West following 9/11.

Bukhari et al. (2019) observed that Islamophobia originated during the crusades when Christianity confronted Islam. Following the World Trade Center assault, the West twisted the idea and socialized its citizens about the fear and danger posed by Islam, which does not exist because radical Islam or a small number of non-practicing Muslims are not reflective of entire Muslim states (Bukhari et al. 2019; Aziz, 2011). As a result, America has developed the appearance of a police state, with government surveillance extending into almost every area of life.

Mir and Sarroub (2019) undertook an investigation of Islamophobia in US education. They reviewed news media outlets between 2015 and 2017 regarding Islamophobia and schools and discovered fifty-five documented cases of Islamophobia in the US and sixty-one cases in North America. They observed that media outlets had fueled general hatred, mistrust, and hostility against Muslims.

Similarly, Hamdan (2019) undertook a study to examine public dialogue on Islamic extremism in support of government control, discriminatory immigration protocols, and other deprivations of the US citizens’ statutory rights. The study evaluated culture conflicts, threatened legal protections, and Islamophobia conceptual rhetorical frameworks through the lens of Lakoff, Lyotard, and Said’s postmodern theories. Hamdan (2019) states that in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, politicians and broadcast experts used Islamophobia as a panic tool to validate public strategy creation. The article’s results indicated that supporters of the USA Patriot Act framed the debate around a Clash of Civilizations, pitting Western democracy advocates against extreme Muslim fanatics in campaigns for social reform.

Bazian (2018) acknowledges that Islamophobia arises from the conceptual forces of the Clash of Civilizations, not simply as a result of media stereotyping, representation, and overemphasis on the Muslim issue. It is perpetrated by the state’s institutions and apparatus, the right-wing, which includes the anti-jihad group, the opinionated movement, the universal Zionism campaign, and various progressive factions such as the left-wing and the new heathen activism.

Beydoun (2017) asserts that the rising Islamophobia is based on politics encouraged by deeply entrenched statutory and governmental frameworks in the US constitutional, media, and governmental structures.  These structures fabricate Islam as un-democratic and Muslims as assumptive national safety risks. Second, it is facilitated by the extension of current legislation and strategy, which labels Islam as an authoritarian belief capable of extremism (Beydoun, 2017). Therefore, Esposito and Kalin (2011) are correct to observe that Islamophobia did not emerge overnight in the aftermath of 9/11. In several cases, 9/11’s trauma aided in bringing the issue to light.

The issue transcends 9/11 and the United States. Following the 9/11 events, US President Bush’s government chose to play the Islam card, focusing subsequent election efforts on a war on terror (Esposito & Kalin, 2011).  Bush was always associating the Muslim world with terrorism and portraying it as a danger to the national safety of the American people.

According to Hassan (2017), Islamophobia is a well-documented characteristic of the Trump Administration. Trump expressed a national security issue through this Islamophobic lens, operationalizing a clash of civilizations rhetoric. Domestically, this manifested itself in ambiguous signs of creating a Muslim registry alongside unequivocal demands for a complete closure of Muslim immigration to the US. Trump sought to actualize these fears while in office by actively securitizing Islam (Hassan, 2017). Under the guise of Statutory Order 13769, safeguarding the country from overseas Terrorist Entry into the US, the Trump government attempted to impose a three-month travel embargo on citizens of seven Muslim-dominated nations.

Notably, digital scrutiny became a policy pillar of the local counterterrorism policy after 9/11 and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) development. The country’s Patriot Act sidestepped the Fourth Amendment in the interest of national security to promote the Bush government’s unparalleled inspection and religious characterization schemes (Beydoun, 2017). It did so by significantly limiting Muslim Americans’ First and Fourth Amendment protections. Surveilling Muslim targets and facilities such as mosques or neighborhood centers was an appropriate ancillary cost for the state to achieve specified national security objectives.

The majority of this group of authors belong to the far-right wing because their work more or less defends the American community from idealistic reforms or projects the idea of getting rid of previous reforms (Claassen et al., 2015).

Transformative School of Thought

Diamond (2007) explores the increasing fear and bigotry directed at Islam and Muslims in the US today. The paper focused primarily on the role that the mass media in the United States has played in either rising or decreasing Islamophobia among the American public in the post-9/11 era. The study drew data from political science publications, dispute resolution, international relations, psychology, anthropology, and personal interviews. Following 9/11, the mass media in the United States has continued to contribute to the growth of Islamophobia (Diamond, 2007). While it is unknown the medium has the most significant influence on the development and dissemination of derogatory perceptions about Muslims, Arabs, and the Islamic faith, it is clear that the mass media has a substantial impact on projecting and covering particular images and stories.

According to Beydoun (2016), nearly bisection of the Muslim US population is trapped amidst deprivation and Islamophobia. It is an intersection that exposes impoverished Muslim Americans to poverty-related struggles, the dangers posed by private and community Islamophobia, and the aggravated damage caused when the two collide. Poverty and Islamophobia do not exist in different rooms but rather coexist to wreak havoc in America’s most impoverished neighborhoods.

In a further analysis of Islamophobia, Istriyani (2016) observes that Islamophobia can be seen from two distinct perspectives: sociological and psychological, concerning the role of media. The media became the focus of analysis due to its dichotomous nature. The media can become the catalyst for the emergence of Islamophobia manifestation (latent duty). Contrary, the media is an information agent that serves as a conduit for education and social change (manifest functions) (Istriyani, 2016). Thus, the media may serve as a tool or tactic for overcoming Islamophobia by bringing together government, Islamic organizations, and higher education institutions.

Moreover, a growing number of Muslim people are displaced and seek refuge in the United States and elsewhere due to ongoing wars and conflicts in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and North Africa. It is all the more critical to dismantling persistent anti-Muslim sentiment, intervention, practice, and policy to introduce domestic and international solutions (Mir & Sarroub, 2019). Notably, education for all as a policy can keep operating in the United States only if democratic values governing education and human wellbeing are enacted, endorsed, and applied daily and across political and ideological divides.

Choudhury (2015) notes that, while right-wing Islamophobia is more visible and destructive, and progressives often criticize the conservative faction for their excessive discrimination, reformists engage in their forms of anti-Muslim bigotry that share fundamental roots. According to Choudhury (2015), becoming a Muslim in the new millennium means confronting multiple angles of individuality through imperialism, neocolonialism, and ethnicity, gender, and religious dissertation. She noted that Islamophobia portrays all Muslims’ input to the globe as a glorified classical history in sharp divergence to the current state of chaos.

The article by Akbar (2015) discusses the federal administration’s attempts to engage with US Muslim populations as a section of a broader framework for policing militancy and countering violent extremism (CVE). While the federal authority portrays society involvement as a gentler option to policing, the truth is much more coercive (Akbar, 2015). Community participation activities are staged against the backdrop of radicalization dialogue, counter-radicalization efforts, and CVE services.

According to Claassen et al. (2015), this group of authors can be categorized as liberals who want to keep things as they are and be free to change policies as and when due.

Pragmatism School of Thought

According to Samari (2016), Islamophobia’s recent growth necessitates a public health viewpoint that considers the designated nature of US Americans and the wellbeing consequences of Islamophobic prejudice. Samari (2016), using a context of reproach, bigotry, and wellbeing, extends the conversation about the advancement of Islamophobia to include an exchange of how Islamophobia impacts the wellbeing of US Americans.

Islamophobia can have a detrimental effect on wellbeing by disorganizing multiple structures, including particular systems via stress responsiveness and identity cover-up and relational systems via social connectedness and socialization. Similarly, organizational strategies and media consideration impact structural processes (Samari (2016). Islamophobia is deserving of thinking as a cause of adverse health effects and inequalities in health. Future public health studies should examine the multifaceted connections between Islamophobia and population health.

The study by Dauda (2020) discusses the patterns, triggers, consequences, and solutions of Islamophobia and religious bigotry on global peace and peaceful coexistence. It is based on content analysis of secondary data sources. Among the proposed remedies is the immediate need for religious leaders and adherents to change their attitudes (Dauda 2020). Global interfaith dialogue should be considered urgently, in which lingering problems concerning religion and the crises connected with it’ will be thoroughly addressed and significantly resolved.

Additionally, the United Nations and its Human Rights Council must be strengthened (Dauda 2020). Similarly, the media companies must be held accountable for normalizing Islamophobia, encouraging religious bigotry, and spreading false narratives about Islam and Muslims. The government must categorically condemn Islamophobia and religious intolerance.

According to Mir and Sarroub (2019), numerous student groups face prejudice, marginalization, and the genuine fear of being singled out as possible security threats. Young Muslim people in the United States of America who are still in school are often seen as a national security danger.  Esposito and Kalin (2011) view education as vital in our colleges, universities, and seminaries (not just madrasas), as well as in our churches and synagogues, as it trains the next generation of policymakers, religious leaders, educators, and citizens.

In 2011, the Obama Administration launched a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiative to address the root causes of domestic and international terrorism (Aziz, 2017). However, the Trump Administration announced in January 2017 that it would rename the program “Countering Islamic Extremism.” It reflects his administration’s plan to focus solely on massacres perpetrated by persons alleging to be Muslim while ignoring destruction perpetrated by others, such as white chauvinists (Aziz, 2017). Trump’s behavior merely confirmed what program opponents have been claiming all along. These CVE initiatives are inherently flawed for three reasons: ineffective, wasteful, and a waste of public funds.

Gould (2020) considers the unintended implications of current demands in the UK Parliament for a government-backed concept of Islamophobia. She claims that in conjunction with other attempts to control hate speech, the formulation and application of a government-sponsored term would result in unintended consequences for the Muslim community.

This group of authors can be categorized as leftists. They want to reform how power and wealth are distributed in society (Claassen et al., 2015). The majority have socialists and communist ideas of reforms through social economic and democratic means.

Conclusion of the Literature Review

Several significant points emerge from this literature review. The recent years has been a change in the essence of political commentaries in the United States about the Middle East and Islam. The pragmatism school of thought is selected because it details the right track towards solving policy implications of system-based Islamophobia. It ranges from those who avoided the cultural clash description and its Islamophobic ramifications. In the other schools of thought, government officials used fear of the Islamic rebel to garner popular support for their strategic agendas. Such constructs were transmissible in that they were centered on subjectively permeated rhetoric and hollow metaphors rather than on any relation to rational threats or detailed depictions of Islam.

PART II: Research Methodology

This research aims to understand if there is a link between the patriot act and the rise of Islamophobia post 9/11 attack. The study also purposes to link negative media representation, biased law enforcement, and a rise in racial profiling to Islamophobia witnessed post 9/11 attacks. The study will adopt a qualitative approach to evaluate US political rhetoric about Islam and Muslims in the post-9/11 era. Qualitative methods are most effective when the study objective represents the topic in a particular context instead of the universal or abstract generalizations that arise from quantitative statistical analysis.

Research Design

This research will employ a grounded theory research design, a formal methodology in the social sciences for developing theories through systematic data collection and analysis (Creswell, 2014). Unlike the scientific method’s hypothetical-deductive model, this method will employ inductive reasoning. Research using this approach is likely, to begin with, a query or even the collection of qualitative data (Creswell, 2014). As researchers study the concepts, recurring ideas, data collected, or items that have been derived from the data set become apparent and are coded. As more data is collected and analyzed, codes can be grouped into concepts and then classified.

. Notably, the narrative analysis approach will be used as well. This approach entails recreating the information provided by respondents by taking into account the context of each case and the unique circumstances surrounding each respondent (Creswell, 2014). The research will be carried out by using coding, which can be described as the grouping of data. 

Data Collection

This study draws on primary and secondary sources such as interviews, observation, published research documents, news stories, conference papers, and comments by prominent world leaders (Creswell, 2014). Interviews will be conducted in an informal and structured manner. As part of my study, I will use an organized Skype interview with a political analyst. The interview will be taped and then transcribed, allowing the researcher to take notes while the interview continues uninterrupted. Moreover, it makes all data available for later study.

Data Analysis

This study will employ discourse analysis as it will aid in examining all forms of written text. Discourse examination is a type of study that concentrates on the connection between written or oral language and its social connotation (Creswell, 2014). It aims to gain an awareness of how language is used in everyday situations. A researcher’s investigative and critical thinking skills are essential in the analysis of information.


Akbar, A. (2015). National Security’s Broken Windows. UCLA L. Rev.62, 833 http://www.uclalawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Akbar-final-article-5.29.15.pdf

Akbar, A. (2013). Policing Radicalization. UC Irvine L. Rev.3, 809. https://www.ispu.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Policing_Radicalization.pdf

Aziz, S. F. (2017). Losing the War of Ideas: A Critique of Countering Violent Extremism Programs. Tex. Int’l LJ52, 255.https://scholarship.libraries.rutgers.edu/discovery/delivery?vid=01RUT_INST:ResearchRepository&repId=12643404870004646#13643520480004646

Aziz, S. F. (2011). Caught in a preventive dragnet: Selective counterterrorism in a post 9/11 America. Gonz. L. Rev.47, 429


Bazian, H. (2018). Islamophobia, “Clash of Civilizations”, and Forging a Post-Cold War Order!. Religions9(9), 282.https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d4e1/99b6fd27fef1532bb576c2e354fcb512d93c.pdf

Beydoun, K. A. (2017). Muslim Bans and the Re-Making of Political Islamophobia. Immigr. & Nat’lity L. Rev.38, 37.


Beydoun, K. A. (2016). Between Indigence, Islamophobia, and Erasure: Poor and Muslim in War on Terror America. Calif. L. Rev.104, 1463. http://www.californialawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/3-Beydoun.pdf

Bukhari, S. A. U. Z. H., Khan, H., Ali, T., & Ali, H. (2019). Islamophobia in the West and Post 9/11 Era. International Affairs and Global Strategy78, 23-32. https://core.ac.uk/reader/276531566

Claassen, C., Tucker, P., & Smith, S. S. (2015). Ideological labels in America. Political Behavior37(2), 253-278.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). A concise introduction to mixed methods research. SAGE publications.

Choudhury, C. A. (2015). Ideology, identity, and law in the production of Islamophobia. Dialectical Anthropology39(1), 47-61. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10624-014-9357-y

Diamond, M. M. N. (2007). Islamophobia and the US Media.


Dauda, K. O. (2020). Islamophobia and Religious Intolerance: Threats to Global Peace and Harmonious Coexistence. QIJIS (Qudus International Journal of Islamic Studies)8(2), 257-292. https://journal.iainkudus.ac.id/index.php/QIJIS/article/view/6811/pdf

Esposito, J. L., & Kalin, I. (Eds.). (2011). Islamophobia: The challenge of pluralism in the 21st century. OUP USA.


Gould, R. R. (2020). The limits of liberal inclusivity: how defining Islamophobia normalizes anti-muslim racism. Journal of Law and Religion35(2), 250-269.


Hassan, O. (2017). Trump, Islamophobia and US–Middle East relations. Critical Studies on Security5(2), 187-191.https://core.ac.uk/reader/84340814

Hamdan, L. (2019). Framing Islamophobia and Civil Liberties: American Political Discourse Post 9/11. https://core.ac.uk/reader/217235887

Istriyani, R. (2016). Media: Causes and strategies to overcome Islamophobia (psychological and sociological study). QIJIS (Qudus International Journal of Islamic Studies)4(2), 201-217.


Mir, S., & Sarroub, L. K. (2019). Islamophobia in US education. https://core.ac.uk/reader/220153027

Samari, G. (2016). Islamophobia and public health in the United States. American journal of public health106(11), 1920-1925 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5055770/