Similarities between the Position of Arab-American after September 11, 2001 and the Position of Japanese-Americans after December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor)


Prior to 9/11, Arab-Americans had a similar experience like other immigrants in the United States.  Studies shows that before the 9/11 incident, Arab-Americans were recognized for being economically, politically, and spiritually diverse group (Katherine, 2010). However, following the 9/11 attack that was carried out by radical Al-Qaeda terrorists, fear, sorrow, and anger of the attack led many non-Arab Americans citizens to associate Arab-Americans with the 9/11 attack (Katherine, 2010). As a result, barely a year after the attack, over 700 violent incidents targeting Arab-Americans were reported in the United States; a typical indication that the 9/11 attack the relationship between Arab-Americans and other races in the United States. .


Similarly, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941 led to souring relationship between Japanese-Americans and non-Japanese Americans. For instance, in February 1942, barely two months after the attack, President Roosevelt issued an order which led to the relocation of Japanese-Americans, both citizens and aliens (Morella, 2012). Such order was meant to protect Japanese-Americans from attacks by Americans who had developed anti-Japanese attitudes.


The 9/11 attack led to discrimination and anti-trust towards Arab-Americans. Studies show that approximately 65% of Arab-Americans reported incidences of embarrassment (Katherine, 2010). The 9/11 attack created a scenario where Arab-Americans were referred to as extremists and terrorists. Such discrimination and anti-trust towards the Arab-Americans (Muslim) made them to be denied permission to build a mosque near ground zero on the basis that they may cause more harm to Americans (Katherine, 2010). Similarly, the December 7, 1947 attacks led to embarrassment and discrimination against Japanese-Americans (Morella, 2012). In fact, within weeks all Japanese-Americans were sent to permanent relocations centers outside restricted military zones because they were considered to be a security threat.  


Differences between the Position of Arab-American after September 11, 2001 and the Position of Japanese-Americans after December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor)


Whereas after the December 7, 1947 tragedy Roosevelt President ordered more than 117, 000 persons of Japanese descent to be relocated to military restricted center (Morella, 2012); for instance, Persons of Japanese ancestry in Western Washington State were relocated to Puyallup Fairgrounds near Tacoma, this differed from the December 7, 1947 incident, because the 9/11 terrorists attack did not lead to relocation of Arab-Americans. For instance, Muslims enjoyed freedom of movement and religion within the US even after the terror attack as evidenced by the fact that they were granted permission to construct a mosque in New York despite that they were denied such capacity immediately after the terror attack. As evident in the 9/11 tragedy, terrorism affects everyone. Depression afflicted many people both Americans and non-Americans. Such experience also portrayed America as vulnerable and that terrorism is the fact of life for everyone. In addition, the December 7, 1947 tragedy called for a different attitude about war and giving to the war. Moreover, although war is not part of culture, war is the culture, that is why people’s way of life changes radically following war.

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