For Muslims across northern Texas, 9/11 set off a wave of Islamophobia that has endured to this day
Faizan Syed, executive director of the D-FW chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the advocacy organization saw a sharp rise in Islamophobia immediately after 9/11. But anti-Muslim sentiments receded to pre-9/11 levels about a year after the attacks, he said.
Then, around 2007 and 2008, “we started seeing a dramatic increase in Islamophobia that has lasted to this day,” Syed said. “The reason is that Islamophobia became politicized.”
Conspiracy theories about the birthplace and religion of former President Barack Obama contributed to a second post-9/11 surge of anti-Muslim sentiment, Syed said. The second wave of Islamophobia led to controversy around plans to build a mosque near the former World Trade Center site, and a push in multiple states to pass “anti-Sharia” laws.
In line with Syed’s perspective, the total number of Islamophobic assaults, murders and non-negligent manslaughters spiked from 12 cases in 2000 to 93 in 2001, according to FBI hate crime data.
That number dropped significantly in the years immediately following 2001, but started trending upward after 2008 before peaking in 2016 with a post-9/11 high of 127.