Immigration has radically changed a religion picture in the United States. At the present time people with their unique culture, specific habits and traditions participate in our society. America is their home as well as ours. To live in peace together we have to understand, communicate and integrate with each other. But sometimes unforeseen events happen and crash the whole global hope for productive cooperation.
On September 11, 2001, the tragedy in the USA shocked the whole world. It was the message to the US government that something had been wrong with national security. At the beginning of the 21st century, we are facing a problem called terrorism which is too close with the clash of civilizations. Afterwards, the bitterest enemy was Al-Qaeda, Islamic terror group.
On September 11, an attack included three main targets the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the White House, and the last one was failed. To achieve their goals, the terrorists skyjacked four airliners with passengers. Two of these planes they directed towards towers of the World Trade Center. In the consequence two buildings were damaged. The third airliner was directed to the Pentagon. Both these operations were successfully carried out, but the last was unfinished. And the fourth airplane was directed to the White House, but its passengers made an effort to intercept one from the terrorists management, and the plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania (usatoday.com).
The reaction of President George J. Bush was immediate. He was straight, calm and called for everybody not to panic. He focused attention on the state that there was not a war with Muslims but with terrorist organizations. In his report he said Islam is peace. Its a faith upon love, not hate. But after this incident many Americans were afraid of communication with representatives of Islamic civilization and for some time any speech of any statesman didnt give those credentials for peaceful life in the USA. It was hard to explain people that the reason of terrorist attack is Al-Qaeda, not the whole Muslims.
9/11 was a black day for the US that called the whole world for definite actions in the struggle against terrorism.
Since 2001, the attitudes toward the Muslim people, their religion and culture have radically changed. According to the statistics, perceptions of Islam as a friendly religion in American society had changed from 33% in 2002 to 45% in 2006. It means that a large number of people who believe Islam as friendly religion have become less than ones who believe this religion as hostile. Moreover, after poll in 2010 the index increased to 53% (cbsnews.com). Nobody before could imagine Islam as a threat for Americans. Comparing two periods, before 9/11 and after, it is worth to say that before the incident people were more open to Muslims and did not express hatred against Islam. The United States has been open to every immigrant, but after this tragedy the country became suspicious of something unusual and aggressive, and began checking every visitor more attentively.
From year to year, the conflict between the Christian religions and the Muslim ones has been heated. After the 9/11 incident, the population became more afraid of Islam and expressed their anger regarding it. Thus, for the first time after tragedy there was a paranoid fear of every sound, and every action among Americans. During the first months after the terrorist attack, the FBI reported about more than 400 attacks on Muslims all over the country (splcenter.org). For example, one of the first one was fixed in Ronkonkoma, New York on the same day. Brian Harris, 29, was accused of a religious hatred crime after he held an Arab American at gunpoint while making anti-Arab threats. Also, almost immediately after explosion in the World Trade Center in New-York, the unknowns penetrated into the old mosque in Washington and set on fire a plate informing about the beginning of a new building construction.
Analyzing the reaction of society, it is incorrect to consider that the only Christians affected after terrorist attack. Negative reaction of many people towards Muslims was inadequate and sometimes unreasonable. That is why the majority of Islamic people tried to be isolated from other religious groups in the USA, but the biggest problem is that most Americans considered all Muslims as terrorists, which in fact were wrong. People are different, and at first we have to get to know the person better in order to understand whether its a tourist or a terrorist.
Against the background of adverse events and the opposition between the two world religions in the USA, it is worth to mention support of different religious groups including the Christians towards Muslims. The spokesman of ADAMS-Center, the biggest Muslim community in the country, Rizwan Jaka told about one incident after the setting fire in the mosque, when his community received support of other ones. Many people offered to put guards nearby the mosque and to accompany women on their way to Center to guarantee them security in the streets.
Such assistance shows the support, temperate cooperation between the two different worlds, and cultural understanding. There was a difficult problem with intolerance in the USA. Thus, after the 9/11 tragedy, people divided into the two groups the ones who distinguish Islamic terrorists and ordinary people, and the ones do not perceive Islam as a friendly religion at all.
If the American society has undisguised negative emotions towards Muslims, government tries to be more tolerant and calls not to panic. Certainly, since 2001, security measures have become more reliable and strong, and to prevent future terror attacks, the Pentagon has been struggling against Al-Qaeda and has had successful operations. In the consequences of the 9/11 tragedy, George J. Bush made a decision to establish a new governance body, the United States Homeland Security Council. It was found on September 15, immediately after Al-Qaeda attack. Presidents officials created this body following the principles of the National Security Council. Nevertheless, despite the whole obstacles the role of this Council is undoubted. In this regard, the government has made considerable efforts to safeguard national security. Additionally, before the 9/11 tragedy the USA focused attention on the economic development strategy, and after it the government changed their position. The confrontation between Christians and Muslims urged them to reconsider conceptual foundation of national security protection and recognition of international terrorism as a global danger in the USA.
According to the statistics, in comparison to other religions in the USA, Islam is a minority. In total it is 0.9% in the whole country. The highest percentages are observed in New Jersey (3%), New York (2%) and Arkansas (2%) (pewresearch.org). At the present time, we have the right to say that this percentage will be increasing. It can be explained by multiple factors. At the current stage of Islam development the Muslims have stronger family traditions than Christians. When analyzing these two world religions we have to compare two demographic pyramids which are also well-distinguished.
An understanding between the two world religions is difficult. Speaking about Muslims in the United States, it is hard for them to integrate into the democratic society. It is too different and another world for them. For this reason there are a lot of conflicts between Islamic and Christian worlds. That is why we can bravely say that the governmental policy of the Melting Pot has failed miserably. It is impossible to join different peoples. Each of them will protect their culture and religion declaring proudly their motherland and origin.
Otherwise, many people are cautious with regard to them after the 9/11 accident. As shown by the statistics, relations between the Christian and Muslim worlds are tense. According to the research, the majority of Muslims consider that after the 9/11 tragedy professing of Islam became more difficult for them. Besides, 52% respondents suppose that government defines them as a group which has to be monitored (pewresearch.org).
The government talks about pluralism. But what does it mean? John Kennedy said that America is a nation of immigrants. The term pluralism has a lot of different meanings. In religious science, it means religious movement striving for the unification of all world religions for the sake of religious dialogue. This theory calls for throwing away fanaticism, intolerance, narrowness, religious pride, and division of people into the Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hinduisms, Jews, etc. It is like a Melting Pot in religion.
Almost every national minority has its own district in the USA where they can feel like home. Many of them do not strive for integrating with American society because it is unnecessary for them.
Describing the problem from the side of a Native American citizen, after 9/11 he became be more careful towards immigrants, especially Muslims. Of course, everything depends on associations and life events. But the Al-Qaeda terror attack was a significant occasion in the American history that changed the vision of the multiculturalism forever.
Since 2001, the National Security Council and the Homeland Council have been trying to reduce the probability of a Muslim attack recurrence. The governmental bodies, it is necessary to notice that activity of both Councils has more declarative and analytical character. These governmental think tanks examine different issues and present methods for their accomplishment.
Anti-Muslims Incidents Since Sept. 11, 2001. SPLC Southern Poverty Law Center. 29 March 2011. Web. 12 December 2015.
Eck, Diana L. A New Religious in America. United States. HarperCollins. 2009. Web. 29 November 2015.
Hoar, Jenifer Poll: Sinking Perceptions of Islam. SBCNews. 12 April 2006. Web. 29 November 2015.
Generational cohort by religious groups. 2014. PewResearchCenter. Web. 29 November 2015.
Prothero, Stephen Column: How 9/11 changed religion in America. 10 September 2011. USA Today. Web. 29 November 2015.
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