Georgetown University academic says Muslims viewed as ‘security problem waiting to happen’
Muslims in America became a “security concern” after the 9/11 terror attacks, according to a professor at a prestigious U.S. university.
“The primary existence of the Muslims in the United States and the Muslim community in the United States is as a security concern,” Jonathan Brown, an associate professor at Washington’s Georgetown University, told a conference in Istanbul on Tuesday evening.
“You are not a citizen, you are not a person, you are not a religious being, you are not a man or a woman or a son or a daughter,” he said. “You are... a security problem waiting to happen.”
Brown’s comments were delivered at a conference titled Islamic Movements in the U.S.: from 9/11 to the Trump Era.
The Sept. 9, 2001 attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania killed nearly 3,000 people after al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airliners.
Brown said the attacks had led to the targeting of Muslims and Islamic organizations by the government.
“One of the first thing the United States government started to do was to basically start shutting down Muslim organizations and Muslim charities,” Brown, director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, said.
The administration of President George W. Bush particularly targeted the finances of groups and charities, he added.
“They want to start controlling any transfer of money from Muslims in the United States to any Muslim organization abroad and they want to basically cut American Muslims off from the global Muslim community financially.”
However, under the presidency of Donald Trump, Muslims have come to the fore in organizing against far-right and white supremacist groups.
The anti-Trump movement gave a “tremendous opportunity” for Muslims to find their place in American society, Brown said.
On the day Trump took office, Linda Sarsour, a hijab-wearing Palestinian woman, was one of the main organizers of a massive march for women against Trump, who had been dogged by allegations of misogyny during the campaign.
The march turned into the largest one-day protest in American history, drawing around 500,000 people to the streets of Washington.
“The reason is everybody who doesn’t like Donald Trump supported the thing Donald Trump hates the most, which is a Muslim woman who wears hijab,” Brown said.
Since Trump was elected last November, documented cases of Islamophobia and a broader anti-minority and anti-immigrant sentiment have been on the rise.
The intensity and frequency of hate attacks in the last nine months have been even worse than in the post-9/11 environment, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the U.S.
The fight against “radical Islamic extremism” has been a cornerstone of a campaign run by Trump, who has pledged to bar Muslims from entering the U.S. and implement policies to profile American Muslims, the group added.