September 11, 2001 was different for everybody. But it’s safe to say that U.S. Muslims bore a significant burden. As soon as it was announced that the hijackers were Arab and Muslim, it seemed we’d inevitably be associated with the hereto-unpronounced “tribe.” After all, wasn’t that how America thought of us anyway?
In her book Homeland Insecurity, Louise A. Cainkar argues that the idea that all Muslims were somehow connected to 9/11 was easily accepted because of the preexisting isolation of Arab American community; the idea of Arabs and Muslims as “other” for the most part went unchallenged. The national policy espoused by then-president George W. Bush only furthered the notion that Arab Americans and Muslims were different from the average American. All Muslims, especially women, felt the ramifications.