Book Reading/Signing: Backlash 9/11 – Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans Respond

Wed, April 8, 2009 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Backlash 9/11 – Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans Respond by Anny Bakalian and Mehdi Bozorgmehr

Co-sponsored by AMEJA - Arab and Middle Eastern Journalist Association (

Free and Open to the Public

For most Americans, September 11, 2001 symbolizes the moment when their security was altered. For Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans, 9/11 also ushered in a backlash in the form of hate crimes, discrimination, and a string of devastating government initiatives. From the viewpoint of the targeted populations, the backlash spoke louder than official proclamations to the contrary. Instead of capitulating, however, organizations representing Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans mobilized to demonstrate their commitment to the United States while defending their rights. They distanced themselves from terrorists and condemned their actions; educated the public about the Middle East and the Muslim faith; and actively involved their constituents in voter-registration, know-your-rights forums, and civic and political integration activities.

This book provides the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of the post-9/11 events on Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans as well as their organized response for inclusion in America’s social, religious and political mosaic. Through fieldwork and interviews with leaders of community-based organizations across the country, the authors have researched the unfolding of this process since its inception. Backlash9/11 introduces a new theoretical model of backlash and mobilization during times of crisis.

About the Authors:

Anny Bakalian is Associate Director and Mehdi Bozorgmehr is Co-director of the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (MEMEAC) at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Bozorgmehr is also Associate Professor of Sociology at the City College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Early Praise:

"Bakalian and Bozorgmehr provide a comprehensive account of the processes by which certain American religious and ethnic groups were transformed into scapegoats and objects of hate."—Herbert J. Gans, Robert S. Lynd Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

"The recent history of the United States has taken many strange, unexpected turns, not least of which was the way in which the tragedy of 9/11/2001 triggered a backlash against the Middle Easterners living in the United States, which, in turn, pushed this population into activism and transforming them into full Americans. Bakalian and Bozorgmehr's humane and beautifully written book is the essential window into this process, providing a fascinating, original account of an important aspect of contemporary American life."—Roger Waldinger, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles

"This is the first truly comprehensive look at the challenges faced by the Middle Eastern and Muslim American organizations defending the rights and liberties of their constituents in the aftermath of 9/11."—Muzaffar Chishti, Director, Migration Policy Institute Office at New York University School of Law

"Bakalian and Bozorgmehr cast the post-9/11 backlash unleashed by American society and government against Muslims and Arab-Americans in a comparative historical perspective. This indispensable work concludes, somewhat unexpectedly, that rather than foster alienation, the backlash prompted a mobilization of the targeted groups to seek greater integration in American society."—Aristide Zolberg, Walter Eberstadt Professor of Political Science, New School University

"Bakalian and Bozorgmehr have captured the untold story of how the tragedy of 9/11 altered the landscape for Middle Eastern communities in America. The quality and scope of this research not only documents a critical chapter in our nation's struggle with tolerance and racial profiling, it brings to light the deep impact the backlash continues to have on the ethnic and religious institutions that serve the affected populations. It is a thorough and timely chronicle of the internal and external challenges to American pluralism during the ongoing 'war on terror'."—Helen Samhan, Executive Director, Arab American Institute Foundation

Last updated: 2009-03-19 12:42:02

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