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Islam Can't Escape Blame for Sept. 11
Wall St Journal Op Ed | October 24, 2001 | Amir Taheri

Posted on 10/24/2001 10:39:29 AM PDT by BenF

"This has nothing to do with Islam," British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently told a delegation of Muslims at a meeting at 10 Downing Street, referring to the Sept. 11 attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Mr. Blair was echoing a view, popular both in Europe and the U.S., that it is impolite, not to say impolitic, to subject Islam to any criticism. Yet to claim that the attacks had nothing to do with Islam amounts to a whitewash. It is not only disingenuous but also a disservice to Muslims, who need to cast a critical glance at the way their faith is taught, lived and practiced.

Even worse, the refusal to subject Islam to rational analysis is a recipe for further fanaticism. Unless we believe those who claim that the Sept. 11 was organized by Israel, we have to assume that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were responsible. And since there is no mechanism for excommunication in Islam, bin Laden and his gang have every right to describe themselves as Muslims.

***
Al Qaeda did not materialize out of thin air. Nor have they been operating in a vacuum. Bin Laden belongs to a prominent Yemeni-Saudi family that makes much of its Islamic credentials. He began his militant career in 1984 as a fund-raiser for Afghans fighting the communist regime in Kabul in the name of Islam. He had offices in a dozen Muslim countries, none of which regarded his activities as un-Islamic.

In 1993 bin Laden was divested of his Saudi passport but was warmly welcomed in Sudan where a fundamentalist regime is in power. Later, bin Laden was the star of an international conference of Muslim fundamentalists organized in Khartoum by the then-strongman Hassan al-Turabi. He was elected a member of the Supreme Council, whose task is to promote a radical brand of Islam throughout the world. That gave him the right to call himself a "sheik" and issue religious fatwas, or edicts. Again, since there is no clerical hierarchy in Islam, there was no reason why bin Laden could not claim such authority.

Once bin Laden was forced to leave Sudan (under U.S. pressure), he was welcomed in his ancestral homeland of Yemen, another Muslim country. From there he went to Pakistan, the world's second most populous Muslim nation, where he was welcomed not only by the army but also by virtually all of Pakistan's Islamic parties, which continue to support him.

From Pakistan, bin Laden shifted to Afghanistan, where the Taliban had established what they claimed to be "the only truly Islamic government." The Taliban continue to shelter bin Laden to this day, even in the face of U.S. attacks. To say that bin Laden has nothing to do with Islam and Muslims, therefore, requires a big leap of imagination.

When pressed hard, some Muslim leaders admit that bin Laden is "part of Islam," but try to minimize his place. Dalil Boubakeur, a French Muslim leader, says that bin Laden does not represent more than 1% of Muslims. Some comfort. That 1% means almost 13 million people.

There is more. All but one of the world's remaining military regimes are in Muslim countries. With the exception of Turkey and Bangladesh, there are no real elections in any Muslim country. Of the current 30 active conflicts in the world no fewer than 28 concern Muslim governments and/or communities. Two-thirds of the world's political prisoners are held in Muslim countries, which also carry out 80% of all executions each year.

Anyone familiar with textbooks in most Muslim countries would know the twisted view of the world they propagate and the hatred they promote. Anyone who follows the media in the Muslim world would know that the verbal version of the Sept. 11 attacks is an almost daily fare. Go to the Internet and check the editorials of virtually any Muslim paper on Sept. 10 and see what they were saying about the West in general and the U.S. in particular. Anyone listening to a sermon in virtually any mosque, including many in the West, would be shocked by the vehemence of the anti-Western, especially anti-American, sentiments expressed.

It is both dishonest and dangerous for Muslims to remain in a state of denial. And yet a state of denial is what we have. When Iran's Khomeinists burned 600 people alive in a cinema, the whitewashers said that it had nothing to do with Islam. When the same gang took the American diplomats hostage in Tehran, again the whitewash party insisted that had nothing to do with Islam. And when the suicide bombings bloodied Beirut we were told that Islam had nothing to do with them.

***
The Muslim world today is full of bigotry, fanaticism, hypocrisy and plain ignorance -- all of which create a breeding ground for criminals like bin Laden. The principal victims of these criminals are Muslims, who are prevented from developing a modern political culture without which they cannot reform their societies and rebuild their economies.

What I am saying is not meant as critique of Islam as a belief system; that's an issue for theologians, and people should be free to believe whatever they like. What is needed is a critique of Islam as an existential reality. The Sept. 11 tragedies should trigger a rethink of the way Muslims live Islam. We should start with condemning those attacks without "ifs" and "buts." Sadly, the way we Muslims live Islam today is a far cry from the way our ancestors lived it in the golden age when Islam was a builder of civilization, not a force for repression, terror and destruction.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: clashofcivilizatio; islamicviolence
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1 posted on 10/24/2001 10:39:30 AM PDT by BenF
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To: veronica; dennisw; Lent; Nachum; jonatron; Israel; NorthernRight; TrueBeliever9; neutrino
FYI
2 posted on 10/24/2001 10:40:37 AM PDT by BenF
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To: Thinkin' Gal; dennisw; Magician; exodus; cdwright; STD; Goldi-Lox; monkeyshine; DistantVoice
FYI
3 posted on 10/24/2001 10:40:59 AM PDT by BenF
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To: twills; zamzoomin; newwahoo; angelo; Sabramerican; American in Israel; Tigen; Yehuda; vrwc54
FYI
4 posted on 10/24/2001 10:41:29 AM PDT by BenF
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To: BenF
Bump.
5 posted on 10/24/2001 10:45:35 AM PDT by veronica
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To: veronica
Bump!
6 posted on 10/24/2001 10:49:26 AM PDT by In mourning for six years
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To: BenF
An exellent article.

Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown

7 posted on 10/24/2001 10:49:35 AM PDT by harpseal
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To: BenF
Thanks for this post. Anyone who looks at the Muslim critically would come to this conclusion. Look at the way women are treated. 'Nuff said.
8 posted on 10/24/2001 10:52:46 AM PDT by Sunshine Sister
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To: BenF
Great post. Did you type this in yourself? I can't find it on the free Opinion Journal website.
9 posted on 10/24/2001 10:54:06 AM PDT by untenured
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To: BenF
Wonderful editorial. He's absolutely right, if the Muslims of the world don't wake up, they will find themselves marginalized, despised, and isolated. We can only do so much, they have to do the rest.
10 posted on 10/24/2001 10:57:55 AM PDT by McGavin999
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To: untenured; BenF
Good article.

The article was only available to WSJ subscribers, but a copy of it was sent to members of the Freeman Center e-mail list.

11 posted on 10/24/2001 11:13:56 AM PDT by vrwc54
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To: BenF
A great article, except for the very last line:

"Sadly, the way we Muslims live Islam today is a far cry from the way our ancestors lived it in the golden age when Islam was a builder of civilization, not a force for repression, terror and destruction."

Sadly, since the time of Mohammed, Islam has spread precisely through violence, conquest, and terror.

Other than that, an outstanding article.

Regards

12 posted on 10/24/2001 11:16:33 AM PDT by Northeast
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To: BenF
To most of us following this topic, there is no news here.
The question becomes, why have we as a nation turned a blind eye to the obvious and allowed things to deteriorate to the point of sacrificing 5000+ fellow citizens?

And what is being done presently to change this complicity?

13 posted on 10/24/2001 11:21:24 AM PDT by Publius6961
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To: BenF
"This has nothing to do with Islam," British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently told a delegation of Muslims at a meeting at 10 Downing Street, referring to the Sept. 11 attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Maybe Mr Blair - If Muslin countries have separation of Church and State (anyone know)? - might some of the States take umbrage after years of Clinton bombing and British and US support of puppet regimes? "ABOVE ALL THINGS, TRUTH BEARETH AWAY THE VICTORY"

14 posted on 10/24/2001 11:22:12 AM PDT by ex-snook
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To: BenF
BTTT
15 posted on 10/24/2001 11:25:53 AM PDT by Fiddlstix
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To: Northeast
Sadly, since the time of Mohammed, Islam has spread precisely through violence, conquest, and terror. Other than that, an outstanding article.

You are right. So is the writer. The Golden Age he refers to represents a time when Islam was supreme throughout a wide area and had little or no competition. In that circumstance only, Islam is able to show its "good" side, since all are in "submission". But whenever there are competitors in their midst or on their periphery, Muslims are duty-bound to participate in and foment "struggle" (jihad). Obviously, we are seeing the struggle in our time, and it is inevitable. And now that civilization has passed Islam by, it is inevitable that they will lose.

Lastly, I want to honor this Muslim writer for being so forthright; but I wouldn't give you two cents for his chances of living out the year. What he has done, while refreshing to us, is not permissible in Islam.

16 posted on 10/24/2001 11:36:20 AM PDT by Migraine
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To: Migraine
You underestimate Taheri's survival chances. He was the editor of "Teheran Times" under the Shah. He also wrote a good book about US relationships with Iran.
17 posted on 10/24/2001 11:39:42 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic
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To: Migraine
Well said, no arguments here!

Regards

18 posted on 10/24/2001 11:45:16 AM PDT by Northeast
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To: BenF
Anyone listening to a sermon in virtually any mosque, including many in the West, would be shocked by the vehemence of the anti-Western, especially anti-American, sentiments expressed.

It's too bad we can't find these published somewhere...or can we?

19 posted on 10/24/2001 11:50:19 AM PDT by Petronski
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To: BenF
Good article...thanks for the flag!

Amazing, isn't it, that islam gets away with advocating things which would result in any other group being branded with all manner of unsavory titles!

20 posted on 10/24/2001 12:05:06 PM PDT by neutrino
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To: Petronski
You can find the translations of the Arab press and sermons here:

The Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI)

Explore The Middle East through its own media.

Welcome to the website of The Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI), an independent, non-profit organization providing translations of the Arab media and original analysis and research on developments in the Middle East.

21 posted on 10/24/2001 12:28:11 PM PDT by vrwc54
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To: Petronski
CNN, Ted Kennedy, Al Sharpton, Schumer, Hillery......Yale, Harvard, State Dept.....
22 posted on 10/24/2001 12:34:11 PM PDT by Leisler
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To: Migraine
"Lastly, I want to honor this Muslim writer for being so forthright; but I wouldn't give you two cents for his chances of living out the year. What he has done, while refreshing to us, is not permissible in Islam."

Agreed. He is indeed courageous...look what happened to Salmon Rushdie for publishing something the Moslems considered controversial.
23 posted on 10/24/2001 12:56:22 PM PDT by cloud8
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To: Migraine
I wonder if the folks in India would agree about the "golden age of islam" when they invaded india and committed tons of carnage, destroyed hindu temples. I wonder if the Armenians enjoyed the "Golden Age" when the turks committed tons of atrocities.

What gets my goat, is that the muslims living today act like they wrote the book on oppression. Let's look at russia who lost 20 million in world war 2, or the jews and holocaust, or the armenians... I mean these folks are still OK in the head. they are not running around hijacking planes.

24 posted on 10/24/2001 10:14:58 PM PDT by LeftToRight
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To: BenF
Bumped and bookmarked
25 posted on 10/24/2001 10:17:51 PM PDT by pgkdan
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To: LeftToRight
bump
26 posted on 12/25/2001 11:51:43 AM PST by timestax
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To: McGavin999
bttt
27 posted on 12/25/2001 8:30:35 PM PST by timestax
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To: Publius6961
bttt
28 posted on 12/26/2001 10:21:59 AM PST by timestax
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To: BenF
"This has nothing to do with Islam,"

Interesting to hear some Muslims now saying things like, "Jihad is an error, it is not the correct path."

The more they sound like Buddhists, the better they sound. Perhaps they can convert to a modern religion such as Buddhism or become Moonies. There are worse things.

If bin Laden actually believes his own line of trashtalk, he would have been on one of the suicide missions himself by now. Too bad if he is dead of pneumonia, --not a surprise given his delicate health and the stress of living in caves under bombardment--, because he won't get his 70 virgins and he won't get any of his family into heaven either.

29 posted on 12/26/2001 10:32:55 AM PST by RightWhale
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To: Migraine
bump
30 posted on 12/27/2001 4:05:16 PM PST by timestax
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To: BenF; *Clash of Civilizatio
bump of civilizations.
31 posted on 12/27/2001 4:07:08 PM PST by denydenydeny
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To: BenF
Mr. Blair was echoing a view, popular both in Europe and the U.S., that it is impolite, not to say impolitic, to subject Islam to any criticism. Yet to claim that the attacks had nothing to do with Islam amounts to a whitewash. It is not only disingenuous but also a disservice to Muslims, who need to cast a critical glance at the way their faith is taught, lived and practiced. Even worse, the refusal to subject Islam to rational analysis is a recipe for further fanaticism. Unless we believe those who claim that the Sept. 11 was organized by Israel, we have to assume that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were responsible. And since there is no mechanism for excommunication in Islam, bin Laden and his gang have every right to describe themselves as Muslims.

OHHHHHHH yea "Islam menas Peace" Tony. Now you and GWB need to have a cup of tea ..or something before you both do a political bow to Mecca

32 posted on 12/27/2001 4:10:22 PM PST by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
bttt
33 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:07 AM PST by timestax
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To: RightWhale
bttt
34 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:08 AM PST by timestax
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To: BenF
bttt
35 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:10 AM PST by timestax
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To: vrwc54
bump for the newbies!!
36 posted on 12/29/2001 12:18:27 AM PST by timestax
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To: BenF
Islam is a gutter religion, founded by a false, self-serving "prophet". One reason why Islamic countries tramp down so hard on Christians is that their religion would begin to die out, or at the very least become a minority religion.
37 posted on 12/29/2001 12:18:30 AM PST by GreatOne
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To: Sunshine Sister
bttt
38 posted on 12/29/2001 7:56:08 AM PST by timestax
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To: GreatOne
One reason why Islamic countries tramp down so hard on Christians is that their religion would begin to die out,

Is that the reason they tramp so hard on Hindus too? It seems Islam is trying to destroy the East and the West at the same time, the Hindus seem about ready to take them out with nukes. It's getting dangerous.

39 posted on 12/29/2001 8:02:01 AM PST by FITZ
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To: Publius6961
bttt
40 posted on 12/29/2001 8:56:23 AM PST by timestax
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To: LeftToRight
bttt
41 posted on 12/29/2001 3:03:46 PM PST by timestax
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To: Northeast
bttt
42 posted on 12/29/2001 8:10:54 PM PST by timestax
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To: Migraine
bttt
43 posted on 12/30/2001 9:00:01 AM PST by timestax
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To: harpseal
bump
44 posted on 12/30/2001 9:33:29 AM PST by timestax
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To: GreatOne
Surely 50% of the residents of the Islamic ummah, that is the WOMEN, would gladly see Islam traded in for Christianity tomorrow!

In the Bible in Daniel 11, the evil King of the North, forerunner and source of antichrist, is said to pay no heed to the wishes of women, but to honour the "god of violence" in preference both to what the women wish, and to his own pre-Allah ancestral traditions...

45 posted on 12/30/2001 9:43:09 AM PST by crystalk
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To: BenF
"What I am saying is not meant as critique of Islam as a belief system; that's an issue for theologians, and people should be free to believe whatever they like. What is needed is a critique of Islam as an existential reality."

What's the difference between a "belief system" and an "existential reality?" They seem like one and the same because ones religion forms the basis of ones world view and how one relates to it.

46 posted on 12/30/2001 9:53:42 AM PST by nightdriver
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To: ex-snook
bump for the newbies
47 posted on 12/30/2001 3:24:01 PM PST by timestax
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To: timestax; Islamic_violence
To the islamic_violence bump list
48 posted on 12/31/2001 6:28:58 AM PST by harpseal
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To: timestax
bttt
49 posted on 12/31/2001 6:56:37 AM PST by timestax
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To: Leisler
bumpo for the newbies
50 posted on 12/31/2001 9:36:10 PM PST by timestax
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