Deviance and Crime


Deviance in the context of sociology is a description of behaviors or actions that go against cultural values and norms or rules which have been enacted formally like crime together with the informal contraventions of social norms like rejecting mores and folkways. Psychologists, criminologists, psychiatrists and sociologists study how such norms and the way they were created, how they change over a time period and the manner in which they are reinforced. In the recent past, there has been a controversy on whether to build a Mosque at the site of 9-11 or not. It is true that the United States is a country of freedom of religion but deviance is not a solution to the crimes being done to humanity. The 9-11 site is where many people died (Celeste, 2010). Thus, this essay seeks to asses the usefulness of functionalist approaches to our sociological understanding of crime and deviance based on the construction of a mosque at the 9-11 site through a primary study.

There has been a big controversy between the Muslim culture and terrorist groups. There is much communication therefore needed that highlights the differences and appreciate the Muslim faith as a way of exercising the provisions made in the United States constitution. Therefore, this primary research is important and seeks to get the views of people on the perception they have on the idea of constructing a mosque at the Septmeber11 site.  This essay will therefore highlight at the way functionalists have made it easier and clearer for Americans to comprehend the reasons deviance and crime is required for the American society and more so as regards the  September 11 bombing and the building of a mosque at that site. There is much that is needed in promoting a collaborative atmosphere of members in the society and enhancing harmonious living. The society needs more than policy. It needs practical instruction and the appreciation of others which is the essence of applied humanity (Celeste, 2010).



In getting the information required to address the issue of constructing a mosque at the September 11 site, the essay seeks to gather information form secondary and primary sources. Secondary sources will comprise reviewing literature materials discussing on crime and deviance and how different theories have tried to explain such issues as evident in the September 11 case. Again, a quantitative primary study will be conducted to assess the validity of the information gathered from secondary sources and help in coming with a robust argument. The main purpose of this quantitative case study wasto explore perception of Americans on building a Mosque at September 11 site, identifying their knowledge of the perceived views with the construction and their experience perception towards Muslim culture and values. In arriving at this purpose, the research design seeks to establish: 1) how the construction of the Mosque will advance the knowledge of Muslim and differentiating it from terrorism; 2)   how the September 11 incident has affected the construction of the Mosque? And; 3) how the September 11 incident has affected the perception of Muslim cultural values and norms?

Secondary Sources

It is very evident that deviance and crime play an imperative role in the modern society and form the un-ordinary actions that occur as a subsequence. Crime like that which happened in September 11 is an all-round term that people know and is believed to take into account a breach of laws which authorities have implemented and consequently leads to punishment and convictions for the people involved in the criminal action. All the same, deviance is a description that yields a lot of difficult in terms of particular definition, although the closet description were described by Rock and Downs who asserted that deviance could be regarded as controlled or banned behavior which has high chances of attracting disapproval or punishment (Stark, 2007).

Scholars have made an effort of bringing out the difference between deviance and criminal behavior (Stark, 2007). The Muslim community and cultural values are being criminalized through a deviant group, the Alqaeda. The construction of the Mosque was gaining an upper hand with people of the same perception like the President of The United States, Barrack Obama who was in support of the move. To some extent, friends and family are found to exert a considerable influence on the actions and consequently led to the emergence of “Strain and Sub-cultural Theories.” A subculture is a distinct culture present in a particular culture practiced by some group of people. So, the values and norms of a subculture like the Alqaeda differ from the majority Muslim culture and may not necessary be a representative of the culture thought deviant by many Americans.

Preventing the construction of the Mosque at the Ground zero is thus a misconception of the sub cultural group held by many Americans to the entire Muslim fraternity.  Sub-cultural analysis and theories were founded entirely to explain deviant behavior based on subculture of a bigger social group. These theories began in the society of Americans in the early 20th century to assist in studying deviant groups. These deviant groups have proved to have norms and values different from the rest of the Muslim community. Based on this Robert Merton, a sociologist established an desire to study this deviant behavior further which led to the emergence of anonymous results with strong grounds of argument (Featherstone & Deflem, 2003).  This was conducted within a functionalist perception in the 1930.

With such information as found in sociologists, tackling the problem of constructing a mosque at the September 11 site would be enhanced. It is now clear to establish a good cause of wither going ahead with the plans or not. Merton had the conviction that deviance takes place in our society as a result of strain existing between the goals which are socially embraced by the society and the approved societal means of attaining the anticipated goals.  The strain theory has thus found a lot of application as founded by Merton. The assertion made through strain theory is that all societies take into account particular goals and the socially embraced methods to reach the goals. This is a state that has resulted between Americans in New York and the proposal of constructing a Mosque at the September 11 site. Merton makes reference to the ordinary functional point of “value consensus” where all society members have the same norms and values (Featherstone & Deflem, 2003). However, this would be infringing the rights of other people in the group who have different values from other religions in America. The perception held to a terrorist group affiliated to the Muslim culture is deemed a denial of rights to freedom of religion and worship as stipulated in the American constitution.

All the same, Merton states that the people that are positioned in the lower-class group were restricted highly in making such a comparison to the people who have a position which is much higher than the structure of the society. Muslims are much lower in the American social structure and this could be the reason of such opposition to the construction of the mosque.  Such social structures as seen in the society give opportunity to the limited people; all the same, the majority of Muslims for instance could be suffering as a result of their failure to achieve their societal goals of advancing into America. This has led to such deviant behavior like the Alqaeda group who many have used to define the Muslim culture which in essence is not the case.

Merton incorporates the anomie perception held by Durkheim to further expound on the deviance amongst the lower class in the society of the Americans.  This anomie concept has been impacted based on crime and deviance making reference to the perception of Durkheim that people are no more controlled by a code of morality. Such generalization may be applicable in some scenarios but in the case of a Mosque at the Ground zero, injustice could be realized for the minority Muslim group. The anomie source has not stemmed from a temporary absence of regulation in the society but instead the recurrent contrast between the persistent inequality in the economy and the American dream. Merton stated five methods where people reacted to the goals of success in whatever they are doing. These included: ritualism, innovation, rebellion, retreatism and conformity. These were the kinds which individuals applied legitimate approaches in accomplishing success, in this case “building the Mosque at Ground zero.” Strain theory was of great influence in the society with a huge attempt of explaining the deviance of some class of people and led to the raising of a lot of curiosity in the society members (Marco, 1983).

The move to build the Mosque has been held with a lot of skepticism by the American society. Most Americans are curious in establishing the all the reasons behind the construction of the Mosque. All the same, critics have denounced the strain theory stating that it is completely unacceptable to make an assumption that there can be “value consensus.” The critics of the theory had the belief that every individual is making a commitment to a specific thing and in this case “propagating their beliefs, cultural values and norms.” Different people always view the same subject different. Well this should not be felt a dishonor if the efforts made by somebody are rejected at some point. “Value Consensus” will appear to undermine the rights of the Muslims. The view made by critics is that there are many goals and ambitions that different people anticipate to accomplish in a particular time (Stark, 2007). Therefore, the generalization that comes from a deviant group cannot be used to define every other member in the society. The minds of Americans are preoccupied by the actions of the Muslim deviant group and thereby forgetting the whole reason for the existence of the Muslim culture.

It is true that sociologists have stated that not all individuals were in agreement with the goals and objectives of the American dream and such objectives are spread widely to account for the deviance in the society lower-class. This shows some disillusions in the way of correcting the theory by Merton.  Sub-cultural theories have been previously used to explain deviance by the working class. In this case, sub-cultural theories form an important aspect in highlighting the differences in opinion following the proposed construction of a mosque at the September 11 site. Offending behavior does not only take place based on deficiency in economy but merely because of the “thrill” gotten from the act of deviance. Such behavior as portrayed by the deviant Muslim group designates the rejection of the values and norms of the wider society and is not necessarily the opinion held by the larger group. The domination of values will certainly cause many problems because there cannot be “value consensus”.

The ambitions of any particular group of people should not seek to engage in activities that override the interest of the nation. The interests of a country are clearly stated in the constitution of the United States. One of the interests as integrated in the constitution is to see fair treatment towards the choice and freedom of religion. Muslim should be treated as any other religion. Crimes committed by deviant groups is not reason enough to disregard the efforts made in constructing the Mosque at the ground zero. This protest by a number of Americans is a collective instead of a personal response.  The attempts by the Muslim community to build the Mosque ahs led to what is commonly referred to as “status frustration.” It is true that the deviant group has searched for any means to bring the Americans down but that has been too costly for the Muslims who now face accusations as a result of the bad actions of the deviant. Deviant groups realize that it is not possible to apply legitimate efforts to achieve their goals. As a result, they pull out of the society partly while the values and norms held by the larger group still remain. Every religion has its flaws and deviant groups (Bartle, 2007). A small group of deviant fellows thus should not be used as a reason for denying the Muslims such an opportunity in building a mosque at ground zero.

Durkheim’s Theory

Durkheim analyses deviance and crime showing the way the two are inevitable and the way they are required as the society conducts its main crucial positive functions: maintaining boundaries and change and adaptation (Bartle, 2007). The maintenance of boundary as discussed by Durkheim is when the society responds to crime and cohesion is promoted in the society in general.  This makes a society condemn the criminals and punished provided by the agencies of the society as a method of reaffirming the shared rules of the society and reinforcing the solidarity of the society (Marco, 1983). Sidelining the Muslim community by denying them the chance of constructing the Mosque is thus never a solution. National cohesion needs to be promoted at all cost. For Durkheim, change and adaptation is when a person gets the idea which is apparently deviant by the entire society members. Fighting and challenging the existing values and norms of the Muslim community based on the deviant group is basically what is revolving around the idea of constructing the Mosque.

Whilst the American society is not accustomed to Muslim cultural values and norms, allowing changes in the society permit the progress of the society and its evolvement. Criticism has been there for theories explained by Durkheim on what amount of deviance and crime is needed for a society to sail through well. The functionality of the Muslim Culture has been limited to some considerable amount of deviant cultures of terrorism. Many researchers seem to agree with the opinion that the Muslim culture should not be condoned at some stages as it is affiliated to terrorism sub-cultures. The causes behind crime must however, be established. Durkheim therefore needs to elaborate further on the benefits of crime and how it serves the society forgetting important aspects of the effects it has on societies around the world. Well, with this information, it may be hard at some point to distinguish the opinions of the larger society and the deviant group if Durkheim’s theory is to be established (Marco, 1983).  All the same, the Muslim community has not gone beyond that stage and their cultural, beliefs and values still hold. A minority deviant group of fellows cannot be used to pass judgment on entire Muslim society henceforth.

Primary Research

Quantitative research of description takes into account either making an identification of the characteristics of an observable fact or may be making an exploration of the possible relations that exists between several observable facts or phenomena according to Leedy and Ormond (2005). This quantitative correlation study of research included both empirical data generation on the perceptions of Americans on the construction of the proposed Mosque at Ground zero as well as making a determination of any correlation existing between the perception of the general society of the Muslims and terrorism in regards to crime and deviance. According to Creswell (2003), quantitative methods are in most cases suitable when the matter in question is making an identification of the factors influencing a result, an intervention utility, or even gaining the knowledge concerning outcome predictors.

In getting the perception of individuals, the survey instrument (Appendix A) will be used to come up with a solution to this issue. Deductive analysis, testing of hypothesis together with the use of standardized instruments like the one in Appendix A is all characteristic of methods of a quantitative nature according to Creswell (2003). These kinds of methods are both useful and most appropriate to any data that is observable, measured as well as analyzed in a numerical way.  The perceptions of whether people want a Mosque at the site of 9-11are quantifiable and would help in determining a general view of the wider society.


Based on the information found in the secondary sources on functionalist approaches to our sociological understanding of crime and deviance, building a mosque at ground zero seems to get an upper hand. The opinions of a number of theorists and sociologists express ideas that find no problem in building a Mosque at the site of September 11. Humanistic approaches and the provision made in the constitution of America do not support the denial of building a Mosque at the ground zero. The nation of America is a free country that promotes the rights and freedom of its members, religion matters inclusive. It is therefore considered not an issue with the construction of a mosque at the site of 9-11. The generalization of the cultural norms and values of a particular society, Muslim in this case, cannot be drawn from a deviant group like the Alqaeda forces. The nation of United States of Africa thus should seek to protect the rights of all in the entire American society.

It is true that deviant groups will always emerge in a society set up. Again it is true that there are flaws in each and every society but these should not e let to override the interests of all in the society. It is with this argument that building a Mosque at the ground zero must never be thought a taboo. Many Americans seem to be tamed with philosophies and theories that highlight some several aspects of a particular group and generalize the group based on those aspects. It would be a great insult to the pride and honor to the nation of America if it defies its own laws that it has for years tried to defend and that have made it a nation of integrity. The only way to promote national cohesion and healing in the aftermath of crimes from deviant groups is through disregarding the deviant group and embracing the wider community. Whatever it is, it is never an option to throw away the proposal of constructing a Mosque at the site of 9-11.

Most of the respondents to the survey instrument (Appendix A) inclined to the idea that nobody would like to live in a nation that does not permit them to voice out in matters that they have value in or believe in. This has been the America considered the land of the freed people and the home of the bravest. There is therefore no way through which such pride would be flashed into the toilet because of a minority deviant group that tarnished the name of a bigger society. It is a baseless argument to plea for the denial of the proposal to build the mosque at ground zero. The respondents expressed much affiliation to the rights and freedoms of religion and speech and stated that the opposition to build the Mosque is baseless. Telling a particular ethnic group that they cannot practice their religious beliefs is not only illegal but wrong as viewed by respondents. This was regarded the worst crime of all times.

As a result of the study, there were many proponents of the construction of a Mosque at the ground zero. The reasons of supporting the construction of the mosque formed a wide scope. First, Americans have not set a particular religion which must be followed. That means that an American citizen whether Christians, Muslims or pagans can practice their religion given that it does not conflict with the interests of the national and its people. The move to construct a Mosque at Ground zero was an idea that was welcome by the majority of the respondents. The country practices the freedom of religion and speech. According to the constitution, this is what the law dictates. The location of the mosque apparently was of major concern to some of the respondents of the survey instrument. This was felt as a way of bringing about the difference between the real Muslim community and the deviant group that seeks to fulfill its own selfish ends through terrorism.

The respondent agreed to the idea that there is a great difference between the true Religion of Islam and the deviant extremist group that are terrorists.  The construction of a Mosque at the site of 9-11 was thought by a good number of respondents that it will assist in spreading the distinguishing knowledge between the culture of Islam and the terrorists of Alqaeda. In 1787, a group of people met in Philadelphia to make up a document that was destined to change the history of the United States of America. This document which serves as the constitution of America and has underwent a number of amendments. One among the first amendments asserts that the congress will never enact any law that respects a religion that is established or preventing the free exercise of religion or abridging the freedom of the press, or freedom of speech; the people’s rights to assemble peaceably, and to petition the federal government for grievances redress.

Such laws as discussed above were affirmed by most respondents stating that opposing the move to construct the Mosque was doing injustice to the nation of America.  The decree made by the initial amendment is very clear that people cannot be dictated on what to do in matters concerning their religion. It was felt like an infringement of the rights of the Muslims and the entire society. Therefore, it was made clear through the survey that the United States in its uniqueness advocates for religion practice based on individual preference. The federal government cannot therefore dictate on the actions of any religion as long as those actions do not conflict the interests of America and the people of the United States.

The September 11, 2001 was a lousy period in the history of the Americans that cannot be forgotten easily. The real site of ground zero is a sacred place and is a sensitive matter to many Americans 10 years later. The thought of Muslim putting a Mosque on that site is a great infuriation to many Americans and even deemed by most of them as insensitive and an open “slap directly on to the face.” All the same, the same number of people does not realize that the site of 9-11 would indeed be built two city blocks away. The construction is not to be done on the site of 9-11. The building was not to occupy any part of the ground on which the Twin Towers were constructed. The ideas presented by respondents expressed much concern on the way the cultural values and norms of the minority were given a bitter perception.

The Mosque was to be built along with other recreation facilities and be used as a cultural and community center. Many respondents expressed dissatisfaction with opposition felt amongst the Muslim community saying that this was elevated levels of injustice. Finding fault with the proposal of the Mosque which would be built along with an auditorium, day-care facility, basketball court, cooking school, restaurant and swimming pool was unbelievable with respondents. The public would gain access to the Mosque although not visible by the people from outside. The Mosque was to be constructed right at the center. This was felt like taking America back to the times of racial discrimination. Opposing the building of the mosque is showing discrimination against the Arabs and the entire Muslim community.

Views expressed the idea that Americans face the challenge of refraining from stereotyping and racial profiling. Indeed, not many people have any interest in learning concerning the culture or even knowing about its content. The impression that the media sources has put on the Muslim community has been adopted as the true picture of the Islam cultural norms and values. Muslims have been presented as terrorists and that alone people have used to sideline the efforts of Muslims in propagating their beliefs and faith. The major point in this essay is that Alqaeda is not a representative of the entire culture of Muslims. Many Americans stereotype the people from Middle East as terrorist. These perceptions have dictated the way Americans think and see things. Therefore, it is true that there is no problem with the erection of a Mosque near the site of 9-11.


Theabsence of knowledgehas contributed tofailure in some areas of the American society. This is more evidently in the way it has reacted to the proposed construction of the Mosque at the site of September 11. This has further spread America’s ignorance. The construction of the center is initially a proof that America holds on to the things she believes in without the reserve for any. Again, the construction of the center would very imperative in taking away that perception Americans have had over the Muslim community for generations. This knowledge is considered important in stopping the ignorance of the Americans. If studied well and considering where the Mosque will actually be constructed, there is a lot to be desired in the opposition that the construction is facing. Well some of the opponents have different perception and think that this is a disgrace to the people of America if the Mosque is constructed at the ground zero (Celeste, 2010). What we fail to understand is that going against the country’s constitution and laws that govern the United States of America is the worst disgrace of all times.

In conclusion, allowing the mosque to be built in the site of 9-11 is thought to work on well for the American society. This will promote national and international cohesion where nobody feels disadvantaged by the process. No threats hence should be felt with building this Mosque. It will be a very positive gesture if America accepts this Mosque to be built and be a proof that in spite of September 11, 2001, American yet can firmly stand on their principle of promoting freedom of speech and freedom. Sub-cultural theorists play a very huge role in t explanation and understanding as to why deviance and crime takes place in our society and thus widening us to many changes which need to be handled carefully.

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