Document Type



Master of Arts


American Studies

First Adviser

Ambar, Saladin


The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were one of the most traumatic events experienced by the American people on their soil. In the aftermath of 9/11, and in the context of the War on Terror, Islam and Muslims became associated with and suspected of terrorism and anti-Americanism. While the political rhetoric of the Bush administration described the situation in terms of "us" against "them", and the enemy as "evil", conservative and anti-Islamic media sources increasingly depicted Islam as a threat to America and to the notion of freedom. Stereotypes of Middle-Eastern, Muslim terrorists were reinforced by the entertainment media, in movies and television shows. The political and social context encouraged popular and academic interest in Islam, and as Islam was said to be growing, so was the number of white American converting to Islam. In this context, why have tens of thousands of Americans embraced Islam?