For centuries now, the United States has been known as “the melting pot,” because it is home to people descending from all around the world, which provides the country with character and creates a unique culture. America is not only diverse in race, but also in people’s religious practices and beliefs. The United States prides itself on being founded in the Constitution that Americans have religious freedom. But in reality, everyone doesn’t accept these ideals. In America today, there is discrimination that exists against minority religious groups, such as Muslims. Following the events of 9/11, many Americans now have a negative perspective of Muslims, which has lead to discrimination against them in their everyday lives.
Many Americans have a fear of Muslims because of their foreign appearance, although a high majority of Muslims in America were born in American and American citizens people tend to relate them to the specific occurrence of 9/11 where a small group of RADICAL Muslims committed a terrorist attack. But as a group within American society people shouldn’t judge them off the acts a small sect of their religion, just as Christians aren’t judged by the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church. Islamophobia in America has negatively influenced many Americans and their actions reflect on their narrow perception of Islam.
Many people would like to believe that this discrimination and stereotypes that exist against Muslims are mainly coming from Americans who are not fully informed and are therefore making irrational assumptions. However, corporations in the United States are also contributing to furthering the Muslim discrimination.
Muslims are tagged with labels everyday, not only by citizens but also by major corporations. The image of workers instead of the qualifications of the worker is an unfortunate value of some major corporations. As seen in the prezi there was three different major corporations all being sued/challenged for religious profiling.
The Media’s Portrayal of American Muslims
In the most recent decade, technology has made rapid, significant advancements, which has greatly affected society. One of the results of theses advancements is the creation of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Social media sites are not only geared towards teens and young adults as they started out, instead, they are used by people of all ages and even companies and job firms have accounts. When searching and applying for jobs, many people have been told to make sure the information that they provide on their accounts is appropriate and employer friendly. However, how many people would look at their profile and view their religious orientation as a potential red flag to certain employers? Not many, right? Wrong. When companies are going through the hiring process, they tend to take potential candidates’ religious background into consideration and sometimes it can even cause them to remove them from the hiring mix altogether.
A recent study was conducted by Carnegie Mellon University where the researchers created four fictional job candidates that came across as being U.S. born, male Caucasians. They then constructed social networking profiles that displayed whether or not they were of the Christian or Muslim faith. Besides the online profiles, which were not mentioned in the applications, the four candidates had identical resumes. The resumes were then sent out to over 4,000 employers nationwide who had jobs available. The study showed that mainly in the Republican states, 17% of the Christian candidates received a call back for interviews, whereas only 2% of the Muslim applicants did. It’s shocking how the identification of one’s religion can be considered detrimental to their career, but for Muslims that’s their reality. However, you’d think maybe that once they’re finally hired, the discrimination would stop there, but once again that’s not the case. In 2012, Huff Post wrote an article discussing the discrimination and harassment towards Muslim American in the work force. They went on to talk about how in the last decade over 6,600 Muslims have filed complaints with the federal government due to discrimination and harassment they experienced from their employers based on their religious beliefs. After looking deeper into this topic, it is evident that many Americans are casting the blame for 9/11 where it doesn’t belong. We all know, or at least we should realize, that 9/11 was the result of a small group of radical Muslims, not ALL Muslims. Therefore, not all Muslims should have to take the blame and suffer through undeserving discrimination in everyday life.
Security or Religious profiling?
The aftermath of 9/11 increased the security in airports. Years after the incident Muslims and people from the middle east have been consistently racially profiled at airports, airport security has been targeting this group and due to the large about of people that fly through the United States each day this group is highly watched and screened if they “look” like could be a threat. As for women who wear the hijab, this choice of clothing is modest because their religion preaches that dressing modestly is the proper attire for females but when at an air port women are being profile because of modest clothing they are wearing.
Different instances in national security have effected Muslim Americans. At airports, US boarders, and banks are all seen as locations that have negatively profiled Muslims. The defense is made the biggest concern is security. The traditional Muslim clothing was seen as a threat to bank security as stated in the video of the Valley National Bank. Many individuals were singled out at boarders and airports because of their appearance. The issue is broader than national security, the distinct group of people being singled usually defined as racial/religious profiling, but in these instances they ignored that aspect. The general impressions of Muslims are negative in areas like boarders and airports because people link their appearance to the look of terrorists. There is a fine line between random security checks and security checks directed to a specific group of individuals. American Muslims are continuing to be profiled in these security locations because of the clothing norms of their religion.
Well it seems Muslims surely have been religiously victimized in many different forms from the media, security, and workforce. Americans practicing Islam have been subjects to this religious profiling, with no way to escape. That snowball began to roll down the hill with the terrorist attack in NY then the media got a hold of the image of the terrorists. Then there was no turning back negative media attention has a lingering effect. Muslims are experiencing this discrimination and the perception of this religious group is being molded into Americans minds. The attitude in the media then seeps into the workforce as discussed above and alongside these forms of discrimination, security also has a select target group resulting in American Muslims having an extremely difficult time staying away from all of this negative religious profiling attention.
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Neha Sahgal, “Study: Muslim job candidates may face discrimination in Republican states,” Pew Research Center, 11/26/2013 http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/11/26/study-muslim-job-candidates-may-face-discrimination-in-republican-states/
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By: Shelbie & Mel Sorensen