The events of the September 11, 2001 had a profound effect on average "mainstream" Americans and also on many members of ethnic groups that call America their home. In the days, weeks and months following the events, anger of millions of Americans turned against those who were perceived to be responsible for or in some way associated with the individuals who had hijacked airliners and crashed them into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Since all 19 hijackers were identified as Muslims, anger of many Americans turned against members of this ethno-religious group. Muslims in the Middle East, Afghanistan, as well as American Muslims, many of whom resided in this country for generations, became the object of resentment and often outright hate. Public anger was directed not only against Arabs and/or Muslims, but also against anyone who could remotely be associated with people from the Middle East including Indians, Pakistanis, and people from South East Asia.
Muslims had been the targets of discriminatory acts long before the events of September 11. Ongoing conflicts with Arab countries, military engagement of the United States in some, mostly Muslim states, and past terrorist attacks contributed to unfavorable attitudes many members of the American public shared toward this ethnic group. In the 1990s Arabs and Muslims in general were the target of increased discrimination including profiling at universities and in other public domains (Nimer, 2001). Scientific and media sources have reported discrimination in the job market (Nimer, 2001; Sachs, 2002), schools (Associated Press, 2001; Nimer, 2001), public settings (Sachs, 2002), homes (Khan, 2002), and personal businesses (Walkup, 2001). Similarly to other ethno-religious groups, difficulties experienced by Muslims in other life domains have been widely researched and documented. However, discrimination encountered in leisure settings appears to have been completely overlooked. This lack of research is particularly unfortunate given the fact that treatment received during leisure engagements significantly contributes to a person's quality of life and has an effect on the adjustment of ethnic groups in the new country (Rublee & Shaw, 1991; Stodolska & Jackson, 1998).
It is well established in the literature that members of ethnic and racial groups are the targets of persistent discrimination in leisure settings (Blahna & Black, 1993; Floyd & Gramann, 1995; Gobster & Delgado, 1993). Research studies began to systematically trace, report, analyze, and explain the incidents of discrimination in leisure in the late 1980s (West, 1989) and the continued interest in this topic has been present in our literature ever since. Considering the fact that other ethnic groups have been shown to experience negative treatment in leisure settings, and that Muslims have been known to experience significant difficulties in other domains of their life, it seems unlikely that their free time activities would be free from encounters with discrimination. Consequently, the objectives of this study were twofold. (1) First, we intend to give an account of the discrimination American Muslims have been subjected to during the first year following the events of September 11 and to establish how these experiences have affected their leisure behavior. (2) Second, our study is intended to analyze people's responses to discrimination and the strategies that American Muslims use to overcome adversities and to deal with obstacles to their leisure participation.
The goal of this research was to focus on experiences of people who could be singled out as members of the "target group" (i.e. someone of the same ethnicity/religious background as people involved in the September 11 attacks). Evidence points to public resentment against a broad range of minority groups that extends beyond those associated with Middle Eastern geographic region or with the Islamic faith. However, in order to put manageable boundaries on the project, the target population was limited to Muslims who, judging by their racial (physical appearance) and/or ethnic characteristics (dress, cultural patterns, language), could be identified as being of non-U.S. ancestry. Consequently, African American members of the Nation of Islam and Caucasian American Muslims were excluded from the sample.
Muslims in Contemporary America
Muslims, in general, can be described as an ethno-religious group. Islam is not a religion of one race or class, but rather a doctrine and a way of life of all who desire to follow this faith (Al-Islami, 1964). There are two basic beliefs in Islam: submission and belief in one God (Allah) and Muhammad, Allah's last and greatest prophet (Kidwai, 1998; Maqsood, 1994). Muslims believe that the Qur'an, Islam's holy book, is a compilation of the revelations from Allah given to Muhammad over the years 610 to approximately 623 AD (Husain, 1998). The Qur'an instructs Muslims to perform five pillars of faith--Faith and bearing witness, Prayers, Fasting, Charity, and Pilgrimage (Kidwai, 1998, Maqsood, 1994). Muslim population in the United States is estimated at between 6 and 9 million, out of which about 1 million live in California (Hasan, 2001). Other large populations of Muslims are located in New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, and Maryland (Hasan, 2001). About 78% of the Muslims residing in the United States are immigrants. Over a quarter of all Muslims come from the Middle Eastern Arab countries such as Palestine, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan, slightly over a quarter from South Asia (Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India), slightly over a quarter are African-Americans, and approximately 10% come from non-Arab Middle Eastern countries (Turkey) (US Department of State, 2001). The Muslim community in the United States is not limited to individuals of Middle Eastern, North African and South/South East Asian descent. Specifically, proliferation of Islam among American Latino communities has been a growing phenomenon in recent years. Moreover, there are between 10,000 and 100,000 African American members of the Nation of Islam, often referred to as "Farrakhanism" (Hasan, 2001).
A deep-seeded stereotype regarding followers of Islam existed in the American popular culture long before first Muslim immigrants settled in this country. Muslims, and particularly Arab Muslims, have often been portrayed as being wealthy and anti-Jewish supporters of terrorism (Faragallah, Schumm, & Webb, 1997). Arabs, specifically, have been attributed with having violent tendencies, oppressing women, and opposing the West. Muslim immigrants have been traditionally subjected to levels of discrimination rarely observed among other ethnic/racial groups (Kulczyski & Lobo, 2001). The severity of anti-Muslim sentiments can be attributed to their racial and cultural distinctiveness combined with the history of conflict between the United States and Arab countries. Militant Islamic groups constantly receive intense media scrutiny, which in turn promotes the stereotype of a militant fundamentalist Muslim that is being proscribed to all followers of Islam (Kulczyski & Lobo, 2001). One source of these stereotypes has been the tension that exists between Arabs and Jewish immigrants caused by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Much of this feeling is being reinforced by Hollywood movies that tend to portray Muslims and Arabs, in particular, in a negative light (Hanania, 1996; Naber, 2000).
When the Unites States is in conflict with an Arab country, negative opinions and views of Muslims tend to intensify. Different types of violence against Muslims were reported at the time of the United States-led bombing of Libya in 1985. Many Muslims and particularly Arab and Muslim immigrants were physically assaulted, their homes vandalized, and mosques bombed (Naber, 2000). When the United States went to war with Iraq in 1991 and 2003, the violence against Muslims in the United States increased. They became the target of violent attacks, which included arson, bombings, physical assaults, vandalism, hate calls, and murder (Naber, 2000). The first attack on the World Trade Center fueled a wave of negative images of Muslims in the popular media. However, it was the events of September 11 perpetrated by nationals of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Lebanon that had created the most extreme wave of negative reactions toward the Muslim minority in the United States' history. Texas mosques have been shot at, Arab-owned businesses have been burned and news agencies reported threats, firebombs, and name-calling (ABC News, September 16, 2001; BBC News, September 26, 2001; CNN, October 25, 2001). In Texas, a mosque was firebombed, in Wyoming, an angry group of shoppers chased a woman and her children from a Wal-Mart store, a man drove his truck into an Islamic Center in Tallahassee, Florida, while in Huntington, N.Y., an elderly man tried to run over a Pakistani woman in a parking lot of a shopping center (ABC News, September 16, 2001; CNN, March 26, 2002). In an ABC NEWS/Washington Post poll conducted three days after September 11, 43% of Americans said they thought the attacks would make them "personally more suspicious" of people who appear to be of Arab descent (ABC News, September 16, 2001).
Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities
It is a well documented phenomenon that not only Muslims or Arab Americans, but also members of other ethnic and racial groups experience a significant degree of discrimination in settings such as workplaces, public offices, housing or even during casual encounters (Bonacich, 1972; Farley et al., 1994; Feagin, 1991; Hirschman & Wong, 1984; Li, 1987; Pearce, 1979; Yinger, 1986; Yu, 1987). Beginning with the seminal article by West (1989) who observed that expectation of negative treatment caused African Americans to avoid parks in predominantly White neighborhoods, a large body of research in leisure literature had developed that dealt with discrimination issues. Over the last 13 years, numerous research studies reported minorities to experience discrimination in leisure settings such as parks, campgrounds, recreation areas, pools, beaches, golf courses and forests (Blahna & Black; 1993; Chavez, 1991, 1992; Gobster, 1998; Gobster & Delgado, 1993; McDonald & McAvoy, 1997; West, 1989). Discrimination has been shown to affect quality of recreation experience, to prevent people from frequenting leisure places of their choosing, and to force people to isolate themselves during their leisure engagements (Blahna & Black, 1993; Gobster, 1998; Johnson, Bowker, English, & Worthen, 1998; McDonald & McAvoy, 1997; Stodolska & Jackson, 1998). As recently as in 1999, Phillip argued that "many, if not most, leisure activities have embedded racial 'information' associated with them in some way" (p. 397). In other words, not only racial minorities are forced to take into account physical spaces where their presence is allowed and tolerated, but also activities in which they are "expected" to participate. Stodolska and Jackson (1998) observed that ethnic Whites might experience less discrimination in leisure settings than members of easily distinguishable racial minorities. It has been argued that while at work the ethnicity of an employee is largely known to his or her co-workers, in leisure settings people's identification is largely restricted.
Negotiation of Leisure Constraints
At the beginning of 1990s the foundations of the concept of leisure constraints underwent a major challenge, which resulted in the assumption that constraints prevent people from engaging in leisure activities being largely abandoned. The early studies that pointed out that people's participation in leisure is not always determined by constraints they face, and that people who do participate in leisure activities are often as constrained as those who refrain from participation were those by Kay and Jackson (1991) and by Shaw, Bonen, and McCabe (1991). This research found that constraints are not insurmountable obstacles to participation, but rather that they can be successfully negotiated. Similarly, in his 1991 study on constraints associated with contract bridge, Scott identified several negotiation strategies employed by players. They included acquiring information, altering schedules of games in response to …