While the authors' claims are true since the backlash between the two communities or groups are incomparable, Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans have experienced a fair share of backlash after the 9/11 attack.
The group has continued to experience severe backlash after these attacks since many Americans consider Middle Easterners and Muslims as the major threat to national security. The backlash has been fueled by the treatment of the attack as terrorism by the United States government. While it's still debatable whether the 9/11 incident was an act of terrorism, the Bush Administration effectively treated it as such. Therefore, the Administration instituted war on terror in attempts to fight global terrorism and enhance homeland security. The war on terror is not only conducted internationally but also domestically (Bakalian & Bozorgmehr, 2009, p.33).
The war on terror can be considered as the major reason for the backlash that Middle Easterners and Muslim Americans have experienced because the United States has mainly targeted the Islamic world and Middle Easterners in their efforts to fight terrorism and enhance national security. This is evident in the fact that the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq as part of war on terrorism though these attacks did not yield much result in the fight against global terrorism. Furthermore, most of the individuals arrested within the American society in the war on terror are Muslims and Middle Easterners. These initiatives have contributed to the increased consideration that Middle Easterners and Muslim communities are the main perpetrators of terrorism acts. Consequently, the increased view of Middle Easterners and Muslim communities as major perpetrators of terrorism has continued to increase the severity of the backlash after the 9/11 attacks.
Muslims have particularly faced severe backlash despite of the consideration of the religion as an integral part of the American society. Muslims have continued to proactive their religion openly in the United States and sustained their traditions and cultures based on the ideals of American pluralism. However, together with Middle Easterners, Muslims have experienced severe backlash leashed against them after 9/11 terror attacks. The actual extent of the backlash may not be noticeable because these people have used legal, institutional, and cultural American strategies to fight against the backlash and prove their determination to be part of this society. Nonetheless, there has been an increase in cases of anti-Muslim hare crimes, violent assault, and arson throughout the country since the 9/11 attacks (Poros, 2009, p.334).
The second shortcoming of the book is the research methodology that has been used to gather information on the topic. The authors have mainly depended on the findings of interviews of Middle Eastern/Muslim community-based organization leaders and other informed sources like organizational websites and Listservs. While these leaders and informed sources have provided reliable information regarding the backlash and mobilization, they have not enabled a compete exploration of these incidents. Even though the authors examined alternative research designs before choosing the interviews and informed sources, their analysis could have provided a clear historical perspective of backlash by examining 1972 Operation Boulder.
The extent of the backlash and the effect of these events on the communities could have been fully explored and documented through extensive research on these communities rather than interviews only. The need for an extensive research on the issue is because the Middle Eastern immigrant population has an astounding complexity because it consists of several religious faiths. As a result of the government's backlash, these immigrants became fearful and could not fully explain their experiences because they wanted to remain part of the American society. The research methodology failed to effectively capture the experiences of non-citizens who suffered deeply from the backlash. Actually, citizens and non-citizens were subjected to profiling though non-citizens suffered the most, particularly from detention, voluntary interviews, special registration, deportation, and rendition. Therefore, the documentation of these incidents would require extensive research in order to obtain adequate information about the experiences of these people.
Backlash 9/11: Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans Respond is a book of its kind since it's the first to explore the experiences of these communities after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. In addition, the book provides a model for evaluation of backlash and mobilization during times of crisis. While the book does not provide a complete exploration of the demonization and suspicion of these communities, it offers a strong sociological foundation that other authors can build on. Even though the book remains a valuable and ground-breaking piece of literature, it has some shortcomings including the fact that it undermines the severity of the backlash and uses an inefficient research methodology.
Bakalian, Anny, & Bozorgmehr, Mehdi. Backlash 9/11: Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans