The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is spreading fear across the world. ISIS’ impact is especially strong in global centers. The possibility of an attack in New York has shaken some NYU students, who have fear rooted in historical precedent.
In several NYU Secrets posted on Sept. 27, students revealed concern. “I don’t know how to feel safe here anymore and I don’t know how to protect myself,” read secret #7169. In secrets #7172 and #7167, two Muslim students expressed fear of ISIS and the Islamophobia that would follow an attack. While fear over the social consequences of a terrorist strike are warranted, especially given the negative attitudes and hate crimes against Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11, the actual potential of an attack is still low. Commenters blamed the media for hyping up the danger. But NYU students, and New Yorkers as a whole, need not panic over baseless threats.
During a press conference last Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio assured New Yorkers that they will be safe on the streets and the subway. The New York Police Department is putting considerable effort into protecting New Yorkers by placing more police patrols on the streets. Security checkpoints at subway entrances, where NYPD officers randomly check bags, are among the increased security measures. The plan to strengthen overall safety was implemented immediately after de Blasio’s remarks. At Derek Jeter’s final home game that same night, the NYPD placed hundreds of additional cops with dogs to sniff out explosives around the stadium — an encouraging start.
De Blasio took to Twitter on Thursday to assert New York’s security, tweeting: “We are convinced that New Yorkers are safe. We are convinced that people should go about their normal routine.” Other New York City officials reaffirmed the mayor’s confidence. NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton said: “We do not have any confirmed threat directed against New York City or its subway system.” So long as authorities are right that there is specific threat, there is no reason for NYU students to behave differently. New Yorkers, known for their temerity, are more resilient than ever.
Though most local sources discount the possibility of an imminent ISIS attack, it should be comforting to NYU students that extra precautions are being taken nonetheless. De Blasio’s Thursday address was confidently given at the 14th Street-Union Square Station. During his speech, the mayor reminded residents that panic, though understandable, benefits no one. “Terrorists want us to live in fear. We refuse to live in fear.”
A version of this article appeared in the Sept. 30 print edition. Email the Editorial Board at [email protected]