The Bush administration's tactics of keeping the fear, anger and resentment triggered by the 9/11 catastrophe alive so as to advance the conservative agenda combined with frustration of American goals in Iraq and a sense of being at war with Muslim extremism has made many Americans increasingly hostile towards Islam and Muslims. Polls conducted in the US suggest that while 38% Americans hold very negative views about Islam and Muslims, only 2% have anything nice to say about them [survey conducted by CAIR Survey, November 2004] and over 44% of Americans are willing to deprive Muslims freedoms and rights available to other Americans [A survey by Cornell University, Dec 2004].
The war on terror and its attendant consequences has created extremely difficult circumstances for American Muslims in particular and Western Muslim in general. The changing political and legal environment in Western countries across the board has undermined the quality of life of Western Muslims. Many face discrimination in the work place, are victims of racial and religious profiling, businesses are failing, international travel has become difficult and risky and Islamic institutions, and particularly mosques and Islamic charities face harassment and unnecessary scrutiny.
While a vast majority of Western Muslims have the same basic desires as others (material well being, cultural acceptance and the opportunity to practice their faith without social and political intimidation—some wish to use their geographic location as an asset in their war against the perceived enemies of Islam. The argument that Western Muslim communities hide in their bosom many secret sleeper terrorist cells is patently false and such claims must be seen as racist and religiously bigoted. No community has been so closely scrutinised as Muslims in America and no widespread threat has been uncovered. The 9/11 Commission fully exonerated the community of any connection to terrorism.