A witch hunt is historically defined as a search for and subsequent persecution of a supposed witch. In The Crucible the witch hunt is persisted by the main character, Abagail, in order for her to get revenge on those who have previously wronged her. The modern witch hunt that will be compared to The Crucible is the persecution of Muslims after 9/11. After 9/11 Muslims were exploited and faced extreme cases of inequality. There is a commonly shared belief that all Muslims are terrorists. The Crucible, fear controlled the citizens and caused many people to persecute and discriminate against Muslims. The Crucible can be seen as relevant to today’s times by comparing its witch hunt to the persecution, discrimination, and the apprehension Americans felt towards Muslims after 9/11.
In The Crucible, persecution of the alleged witches was the main task for those on the court and in the community. Muslims after 9/11 faced a similar persecution. Due to the fear 9/11 instilled into America’s society, many associated the terrorism shown by radical Islamic groups with the Muslim religion. This association swiftly began the persecution. A study conducted by the FBI in 2001 showed that after 9/11 hate crimes against Muslims jumped from 28 cases a year to 481 cases a year. These rates have yet to return to how they were before the attack (Keng Kuek Ser “Data: Hate crimes against Muslims increased after 9/11”). In The Crucible, the alleged witches had to either endure both falsely confessing and living with the label of a witch when they were not one or if they denied it and refused to confess they were sentenced to death by hanging. This makes The Crucible still relevant due to the fact that Muslims live a life where they are either constantly labeled and stereotyped as terrorists, or they make an attempt to stand up for themselves and risk being the victim of a hate crime. In Dearborn, Michigan a 57-year-old man violently assaulted a 19-year-old Muslim woman who was checking into the same hospital he was in. As she was checking in he came behind her and punched her in the face, she fell to the floor before he attempted to get on top of her and continue attacking her. The security footage shows hospital staff rushing to her aid as security detains the man. The Dearborn man pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault. The judge issued him to 97 days in prison and he was released several days early on good behavior, the community felt the charge was too light and the sentence too short (Perkins “Man who attacked Muslim woman in hospital was released on time served”). This hate crime happened simply because she was wearing a hijab and much worse has happened for the same reason. Young Muslim women have been raped and murdered and the cause of some of these crimes is still “undetermined” when it is almost quiet clearly a result of racial bias. This persecution of Muslims after 9/11 is an example of why The Crucible is still relevant to today’s society.
Not only did Muslims and alleged witches experience persecution, but they also endured discrimination from the community they lived in. In The Crucible, people were often accused of being witches because they were different from the rest of the community. They had contrasting values or norms which made the community see them as weird outsiders and a threat to the way they were already living life. Muslims suffer a similar situation; they are seen as a threat to American society because of the stereotype that all Muslims are terrorists. This causes them to face severe instances of discrimination. In a lawsuit filed against a Walmart in Knoxville, Tennessee a Muslim woman named Fadumo Sardeye was discriminated against and fired from her position. Sardeye accused her co-workers and managers of harassing her for the religious accommodations she requested. The incidents listed in the lawsuit include the staff initially denying her request for vacation during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and demanding she shows where in the Quran where it said she cannot touch pork products or alcohol. Sardeye also included an accusation against her managers for retaliating against her after she contacted Walmart’s corporate office to report the discrimination (Meyer “Muslim woman sues Walmart for religious discrimination after being fired from Knoxville store”). In The Crucible Tituba is accused of witchcraft because she comes from Barbados, this is an example of discrimination because they think just because she comes from a different place that she’s more likely to partake in witchcraft. Sardeye experienced an almost indistinguishable situation when she was discriminated against for being born in Somalia and practicing a different religion. This is just another reason why The Crucible is still relevant to present society.
Furthermore, Americans felt a great deal of apprehension towards Muslims after 9/11, much like the town of Salem felt apprehension towards alleged witches. People from the community of Salem were terrified of being accused of witchcraft so they usually tended to keep their distance from the alleged witches. A majority of Americans are terrified of Muslims because of the terrorist attack carried out by the radical Islamic group Al Qaeda. Though Al Qaeda has different values and does not represent the Muslim religion, some Americans made the association anyway. This association led to the stereotype that all Muslims are or support terrorists, which led to the apprehension many Americans feel towards them. Islamophobia is the dislike of, apprehension towards, and prejudice against Islam or Muslims. Cases of Islamophobia directly associated with cases of discrimination against Muslims. This all concerns The Crucible because alleged witches went through cases where they were discriminated against and the town felt an extreme amount of apprehension towards them, like with Elizabeth Proctor. The entire town was frightened of her because she was mislabeled as a witch. They then proceeded to question the people who were around her like John Proctor and Mary Warren. This caused the entire town to disassociate with her and her family. This led to the town forming their own opinions about the family and it all resulted in the apprehension towards alleged witches and their family. This is the same situation that Muslims have to endure and that is the final explanation on why The Crucible is still relevant to modern society.
Overall, it may be said that The Crucible is still relevant to today’s society by comparing its witch hunt to the discrimination, persecution, and apprehension Americans felt towards Muslims after 9/11. Muslims today face a life where they must live under false labels and negative stereotypes much like alleged witches from The Crucible. The apprehension that Salem and America have shown towards its citizens is another reason why The Crucible is still extremely relevant. Both The Crucible and the lives of Muslims after 9/11 represent the persecution, discrimination, and apprehension their own community felt towards a misrepresented group. The behavior that the community of Salem showed towards its citizens is not one today’s society should follow.