Even though 20 years have passed since the 2001 terrorist attack in America, its widespread impact is being seen around the world.
Prejudice towards Islam was already there but after the terrorist attack, hatred towards it increased in the world.
In 2001, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists carried out an airstrike on the Twin Towers in America.
After the attack, Islam became synonymous with fundamentalism in many countries around the world including America.
After the attack, a new world of surveillance was born in many countries including America, UK, India.
Today marks 20 years of America’s pain. Time may have passed, but the pain of that injury of terror is still fresh in America’s mind. That 9/11 attack had some connection to Islam. Islamophobia in the world did not start with 9/11, but terror attacks and the fight against terror increased the hostility towards Islam.
The magnitude of the attack and the horror of the 19 terrorists turned into hatred for the world’s second largest religion. Islam was seen as the cause, rather than as a reference to fundamentalism and terrorism. It ignored Muslim politics, the nuances of authoritarian rule, and the important role of American foreign policy.
Does Islam give preference to violence?
Through popular narratives and images in the media, Islam was portrayed as a cruel and fanatical religion that prefers violence. The hijab and burqa became the main cause of conflict. Cultural differences became politicised. In the US, the survey shows how views of Islam have deteriorated after 2010. Nearly half of all Americans believe that Islam encourages violence.
Hate crime against Muslims increased across the world
There has been a change in the social fabric of all pluralistic societies. Hate crimes and attacks against Muslims are on the rise across the world, from Norway to New Zealand, Germany to Myanmar and India. Fear and conservatism about Islam has worked to the advantage of right-wing parties in many countries of the world. Of course, there can be a different political view on this like the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ordn. New Zealand’s PM gives more priority to solidarity over fear.
They know all about you
In America, 9/11 gave birth to a new world of surveillance through phones and other devices. After this terrorist attack, the emphasis of facial recognition and biometric increased. Vehicle tracking, DNA technology and CCTV also became a part of the thorough investigation. George Bush allowed the NSA to conduct wiretaps and collect metadata on foreign communications even on US soil. The Patriot Act, in the name of Homeland Security, soon became a vast and unregulated infrastructure for surveillance.
Violation of the privacy of citizens in the US
Meanwhile, digital technology has developed more than ever before and people are living life more freely. People are now doing more activities daily on phone and online platforms. In 2013, US government contractor Edward Snowden uncovered suspicious and illegal espionage. In this, the ‘black budget’ of US spy agencies was exposed at $52.6 billion. In this, the privacy of citizens was violated through programs like Prism and Tempora.
Increased surveillance in India after 26/11
GCHQ also carried out extensive surveillance in the UK. Surveillance programs like NATGRID, NETRA and CMS were started in India after the 26/11 attacks. Through these, every small activity of the people can be monitored. In India, there have also been allegations of running covert operations through Pegasus of foreign private company spyware. However, despite the fundamental right to privacy, there is not much public outrage or resistance to such surveillance.
You don’t know anything about them
The terrorism-industry nexus over the past two decades has created a culture of privilege and secrecy in many democracies. The reason behind this is that the executive like the President in America or the Prime Minister in India or the National Security Council has to be stronger. The legislature and the courts which are meant to hold the executive accountable are not aware of these decisions. Of course the government needs to keep some sensitive information a secret, at least for the time being. But if these actions are never disclosed and even unnecessary information is kept secret, the abuse of this privilege increases.
Air travel has become a fire test
Upon arrival at the airport for air travel, you are asked whether you have packed your check-in bag yourself. Has anyone seen or done this after packing? You have to reach the airport before the flight time. You may have to take off your belt or shoes, have a full body scan.
After 9/11 in America, the experience of air travel has changed at every point. It also includes a list of questions on the visa process and immigration officer. The profiling of air passenger is high. Airlines send complete details of all passengers immediately after check-in-close.
During flight, the cockpit doors were fitted with armored locks and cameras. The pilot needs to see who is knocking to enter the flight deck before unlocking. Air travel has become a discouragement in the last two decades. The reason for this is the fear of terrorism. At the same time, now the fear of Corona has made unusual things the new normal.