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Conclusion The job of a romance novel is to feed hope in the world—the hope that those we see as our enemy can also be our friend. sHeiK roMance novelisT lucy Monroe (reardon, 2006) T he al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, have had an enormous impact around the world. Two wars in Central Asia and the Middle East have resulted, embroiling the United States, Britain, Australia, and other members of the “Coalition of the Willing” in long-lasting battles, producing massive numbers of coalition casualties, and leaving thousands of Afghani and Iraqi men, women, and children—combatants and the innocent—dead, wounded, radicalized, or as refugees from the war on terror. In the United States, Americans have endured mounting body counts from these wars; erosions in civil liberties and modifications to habeas corpus (Giroux 2003); inconveniences from increased security, especially in air travel; and fear of further terrorist attacks. It no longer matters that until the World Trade Center bombing of February 1993, the Reagan and George H. W. Bush years were characterized by terrorist attacks from organizations other than Muslim ones, according to FBI statistics: Puerto Ricans, 72 attacks; left-wing groups, 23 attacks; Jewish groups, 16 attacks; anti-Castro Cubans, 12 attacks; and right-wing groups, 6 attacks (FBI 1995). An analogous pattern can be seen with regard to antiU .S. terrorist attacks abroad: In 1994, 44 took place in Latin America, 8 attacks in the Middle East, 5 in Asia, 5 in Western Europe, and 4 in Africa. (U.S. Department of State 1995, 67; quoted in Gerges 80) « 296 » Desert Passions In the years following September 11, the terrorist became synonymous with the Muslim/Arab extremist. The effect of this on Arab Americans , Muslim Americans, and others mistaken for them—especially South Asians—has been profound. On September 12, 2001, an angry mob of largely white Americans, partially armed and sometimes shouting “kill the Arabs,” marched to a predominantly Arab mosque in Chicago, and 125 police had to be called to protect the mosque and the surrounding Arab-American homes from being stormed by the mob. On September 15, 2001, Sikh-American Balbir Singh Sodhi was gunned down outside his gas station in Mesa, Arizona, with the killers bragging that they were going to “kill the ragheads responsible for September 11.” On the same day, Pakistani-American Waqar Hasan was shot in his convenience store in Texas by Mark Stroman, who then went on to murder Vasudev Patel and blind a Bangladeshi man. After he was caught, Stroman boasted to police: “I did what every American wanted to do after September 11th but didn’t have the nerve.” Also on September 15, Adel Karas, an Egyptian Christian, was killed at his grocery store in San Gabriel, California. On September 21, a Yemeni American, Ali Almansoop, was murdered in his Detroit home. In October, Swaran Kaur Bhullah, a Sikh, was stabbed in the head while waiting at a traffic light in California. He survived only because the attackers fled the scene when another car pulled up. By the end of the year, the Chicago Commission on Human Relations had recorded more than one hundred hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims, including Muslim women being spat at in the streets and having their hijabs violently torn off. On October 5, 2003, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab in Springfield, Virginia, was stabbed in a supermarket parking lot. The white male teenage assailant allegedly shouted out, “You terrorist pig!” before fleeing. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) recorded 1717 reports of “bias incidents and hate crimes” against Arabs and South Asians in the first six months after September 11—an increase of more than 1600%—with another 325 incidents in the following six months. Mosques as well as Assyrian churches have been repeatedly vandalized or subjected to arson attempts. As of 2008, more than 3000 hate crimes had been committed against Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, or people who simply looked “Middle Eastern” (Cainkar 2004, Bakalian and Bozorgmeh 2–3). Government initiatives enacted to respond to the real threat of Islamist terrorism have also affected Arab and Muslim Americans inordinately. As Louise Cainkar (2004, elucidates, conclusion « 297 » measures have included mass arrests, secret and indefinite detentions, prolonged detention of “material witnesses,” closed hearings and use of secret evidence, government eavesdropping on attorney-client conversations , FBI home and work visits, wiretapping, seizures of property, removals of aliens with...


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