On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks shook the American nation to its core. Nineteen individuals associated with al Qaeda coordinated to hijack four passenger jets and use them as weapons of mass destruction. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 claimed approximately 3,000 lives, including all 256 passengers on the four planes, 125 people at the Pentagon and more than 2,600 people at the World Trade Center.
The global community watched the destruction and devastation with horror. Law enforcement agencies focused attention on detecting and preventing further terrorism on American soil, while news media scrambled to collect, synthesize and present an enormous amount of information in a remarkably short period of time. Photos and videos of the destruction flooded the news media, and these representations characterized the terrorists responsible for the attacks as fitting a Muslim, Arab or Middle Eastern profile. As a result, Islamophobia began to sweep across the nation.