Muslims in Pre- and Post-9/11 Contexts

Md Abu Shahid Abdullah


Muslims have never ceased to be important for the West and have been depicted in vilifying and stereotypical manners in western literature and films. However, after the tragic event of 9/11, a dramatic change has been observed in the world’s focus towards Muslims. Although stereotypes and discriminatory actions were nothing new to Muslims, the post-9/11 backlash was absolutely terrible and heartbreaking. People have started to consider Muslims either terrorists or sympathetic to terrorists, and they have been suspected and distrusted. Lots of books, articles and films have depicted Muslims in a derogatory and extreme manner. Pre-9/11 Hollywood movies True Lies and The Siege explicitly show the stereotypical attitude of the West to Muslims while post-9/11 novels like The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid and Once in a Promised Land by Laila Halaby depict the plight and predicament of Muslims in America. The article aims to depict the stereotypical, vilifying and antagonistic attitudes of the West to Arabs and Muslims in both pre- and post- 9/11 era. It also aims to prove that the depiction is highly motivated by the media, western authorities and the West’s desire for social, cultural and political dominance over the East.

Keywords: Orientalism, Others, Terrorism, Media

Full Text:



Abdullah, A. S. (2014). Ethnic Othering in True Lies. The Criterion, 5 (4), 1-10. Retrieved from: http://www.the

Aguayo, M. (2009). Representations of Muslim bodies in The Kingdom: Deconstructing discourses in

Hollywood. Global Media Journal ― Canadian Edition, 2(2), 41-56. Retrieved from:

Arti, S. (2007). The evolution of Hollywood's representation of Arabs before 9/11: The relationship between

political events and the notion of 'Otherness'. Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, 1 (2), 1-20.

Austin, S. & Cameron, J. (Producer), & Cameron, J. (Director). (1994). True Lies [Motion Picture]. USA: 20th Century Fox.

Bakalian, A. & Bozorgmehr, M. (2009). Backlash 9/11: Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans respond.

California: University of California Press.

Banerjee, M. (2008). “Whiteness of a different color”? Racial profiling in John Updike’s Terrorist. Neohelicon, 35(2), 13-28.

Banita, G. (2010). Race, risk, and fiction in the war on terror: Laila Halaby, Gayle Brandeis, and Michael

Cunningham. Literature Interpretation Theory, 21 (4), 242–69.

Conrey, C. F. (2011). Arab American citizenship in crisis: Destabilizing representations of Arabs and Muslims in the US after 9/11. MFS Modern Fiction Studies, 57 (3), 532-555.

DeRosa, A. (2011). Nationalism and alterity in Laila Halaby and Jess Walter. Retrieved from:

Halaby, L. (2007). Once in a promised land. Boston: Beacon.

Hamid, M. (2007). The reluctant fundamentalist. UK: Penguin.

Obst, L. and Zwick, E. (Producer), & Zwick, E. (Director). (1998). The Siege [Motion Picture]. USA: 20th Century Fox.

Ramji, R. (2005). From Navy Seals to The Siege: Getting to know the Muslim terrorist, Hollywood style. The Journal of Religion and Film, 9 (2). Retrieved From: RamjiIslam.htm

Said, E. W. (1978). Orientalism. UK: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd.

Said, E. W. (1981). Covering Islam: How the media and the experts determine how we see the rest of the

world. UK: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd.

Shaheen, J. G. (2001). Reel bad Arabs: How Hollywood vilifies a people. New York: Olive Branch.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.