Terrorism and Migrants
Many people will be surprised to hear that the Middle East and Northern Africa is a region that sends the largest number of migrants to all across the globe. In fact, statistics in the past few years show that countries in the region have had significant increase of the number of people leaving the country to work abroad, with the States as the main destination. Interestingly, many of those immigrants are Muslim.
After the 9/11 tragedy, some started to see Muslims immigrant differently, that often put those immigrants in jeopardy. More and more countries put a tighter control on those Muslim immigrants. This is mainly due to people's stigma that associates terrorism with Muslims.
Let's look at this issue even further...
So, what is the definition of terrorism?
Broadly, terrorism can be defined as an act that is intended to create fear (terror) among the society. It is often done by a group of people to intrude their wants and to influence the society or the state. What differentiate terrorism and war is the fact that terrorism is unlawful as it usually happens to be sudden and random. Thus, most of the victims in a terrorist attack are usually innocent civilians.
In 1994, the General Assembly of the United Nations defined terrorism in their resolution as:
"Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them."
The United States has defined terrorism under the Federal Criminal Code as follows:
"...activities that involve violent... or life-threatening acts... that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State and... appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and... (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States... [or]... (C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States..."
Terrorists: are they the same as extremists?
People often equal terrorists with extremists. In fact they are two different groups of people. In order to reach their goal, terrorists often use violence while extremists generally use no violence when they try to challenge an ideology or political situation. An example of terrorism would be the 9/11 tragedy that was designed by Al Qaeda, and what Ayatollah Khomeini did when leading the Iranian Revolution in 1979 can be considered as an extremist's act.
Treatments for Muslim immigrants and migrant workers
Shortly after 9/11, we often heard many bad things happened to Muslim immigrants and migrant workers in many parts of the world. Harsh treatments that many of them received were actually also due to an escalating scale of tensions of other world's events. The long-time Israel-Palestine conflict, EU's efforts to restrict Muslim immigrants to come to the European countries, as well as the classical Western-Islam dichotomy all contribute to make things worse for Muslim immigrants.
It is true that in some cases, Muslim immigrants are the ones who steal and destroy public facilities. However, it is important to note that they might do that because they are just too frustrated to see that they are treated differently, often as the second-class citizens, and that many of the facilities owned by Muslims are damaged.
Fortunately, in the last couple years, we can see how things have been reverted back into a more relaxed, peaceful condition. People can see that not all Muslims are terrorists and that many of them are actually high-talented people who work in all kinds of profession. Muslim immigrants and migrant workers who were afraid are now going back into their full-swing rhythm of lives. Areas such as Little Pakistan and Little Arab in many countries in Europe and America have thrived again, as usual. They are ready to live a better life.