Bakalian and Bozorgmehr offer a study of the post-9/11 backlash based on seventy-five in-depth interviews with major Middle Eastern and Muslim advocacy organizations and other experts. They address one of the unexpected consequences of the September 11 backlash against Muslim Americans: the fact that, instead of retrenching in order to avoid being identified as “enemies” of the state, they mobilized. Refusing to capitulate to hate crimes/bias incidents and a series of government executive orders, initiatives, and legislation that targeted Arab/Muslim immigrants, Muslim American activists and advocacy organizations rallied their constituents to defend their civil rights and encouraged their political integration into America’s mosaic. The civil rights laws of the 1960s, the development of rights-oriented community-based organizations that monitor government actions and excesses, and the transformation of the larger society in the last quarter-century into a more multicultural polity together created opportunity structures that enabled Muslim Americans to respond quickly to the backlash. The authors show how, by invoking historical precedents, Muslim leaders framed their claims in terms of civil rights and used their pre-existing networks, such as Islamic centers and grassroots organizations, to jumpstart activism. They pushed for societal accommodation of their faith, with the goal of making American Islam one of the core religions in the United States, alongside Christianity and Judaism, and mobilized their followers to become active in civic and political processes, encouraging them to vote in local and national elections.


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pp. 7-43
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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