REACTION TO THE
2001-SEP-11 TERRORIST ATTACKS:
Remains of the World Trade Towers; tomb of thousands
Very shortly after the horrendous attacks on the principal
financial and military centers of the United States -- the World Trade
Center in New York City and the Pentagon near Washington DC
placed a message at the top of our home page. It began:
"First, we extend our thoughts and prayers to all those who are
directly affected by this massive tragedy.
All humanity must condemn the attacks by what was
probably a group of 12 to 20 suicidal fanatics. Ironically, perhaps by design,
it occurred on the United Nations Day of World Peace."
At the time, we didn't identify the persons responsible as
extreme, radical, Fundamentalist Islamic terrorists, because the identity of the
perpetrators had not been established at the time.
It concluded with some predictions:
||That the motivation of the terrorists will be found to be
intense religious hatred. (All indications are that this was precisely their
||Essentially all "attention will be paid to revenge and
stomping out terrorism." The root cause -- the teaching of
hatred by religious and cultural groups, worldwide -- will be
largely ignored. (So far, this has come true).
||"...there will be a backlash within the U.S. against
Muslims, Jews, and even foreigners in general -- people who had
nothing to do with this tragedy." (Sadly,
has come true).
A sampling of Emails received at our web site:
We get lots and lots of letters:
||Some people appear to have looked up "Islam" on their favorite search
engine, found this web site's essay in Islam, assumed that we were an Islamic web site, and
vented their anger at us via Email.
||One person seems to blame the tragedy on a mythical
||Many Emailers seem to believe in the concept of collective
responsibility: that since 18 terrorists who attacked New York City and
the Pentagon were probably Muslims, that therefore the Muslim down the
street is equally responsible. People did not say that all Christians
share a collective guilt for the bombing of the Murrah Building in
Oklahoma City, simply because the persons responsible were Christians. But
some people seem to change the rules when other religions are involved.
||Other Emails contained comments that were more positive.
We do not feel free to publish all of the Emails that we have received,
because most are inflammatory, obscene and abusive. Some
of the more presentable Emails are listed below:
||"When will you EVIL dogs stop trying to pertray [sic] yourselves as
holy. Your murder of innocent people for your EVIL agenda has proven to the
world what a hypocritic [sic] sosciety [sic] you are all involved in..
[inflammatory sentence deleted]...I will always be reminded to mantain
[sic] a perpetual hate for the like of you and to continually work toward your
demise. After all, we are now at war."
||"To whom it may concern, Your
organization is soooooo awful, all of you need to be shot and killed, or
maybe even hung, or how about dragged behind a f--kin truck!!! You all
suck s--t and all of you need to go to f--kin hell, and we all as whites
hope and pray you all die and go straight to f--kin hell thats [sic] where all
of you belong!! Maybe one day a bomb will be dropped on each and every one
of you all God knows you all deserve to die and rott [sic] in HELL!!!! F--K EACH
AND EVERY F--KIN ONE OF YOU SONS OF B--CHES AND THE F--KIN HORSE'S [sic] YOU ALL
RODE IN ON!!!!!!"
||"GO HOME!!!! You cowards, murderers!!!!"
||"See what is the future for Islam. Shame on you all."
||"you people are pathetic and oppose Christianinty [sic] in America."
||"F--K YOU, YOU COMMY BASTARD. YOU WILL BURN IN HELL. I CAN ONLY
REST WELL TONIGHT KNOWING THAT YOU WILL SOMEDAY MEET ST. PETER AT THE
GATES OF HEAVEN AND BE JUDGED."
||"Your religion, you say, is growing. Is this because Muslams [sic]
are killing off the other religions by acts of terror?"
||"Hey, I'm about as religiously tolerant as anyone, but considering
recent decades, culminating in the events of yesterday, September 11, 2001, a
day which will forever be associated with world Islam, I think you all ought
to rethink your commitments."
||"AND HOW IS THIS DEVILISH RELIGION HELPING THE NEEDY AS THIS
COUNTRY IS ATTACKED and preparing for WAR? It is coming down GET A
GRIP!!!!!! Nothing is new under the SUN. Your whole site is in error. Why
would this site be considered truthful? There is NO honor among thieves
||"SHAME on you for attempting to hide the truth!!!!"
||"I cheer Bush as he will kill many many Muslims!"
||"In my office, I have regularly heard references to "ragheads" and
how we (meaning the US) should just go ahead and bomb them all. Of
particular disgust were the images of Palestinians celebrating the
attacks, which prompted streams of obscenities as well as racial and
ethnic slurs. In the media coverage (at least what I have seen), there
have been painfully few attempts to quell these attitudes and to properly
inform the populace on the attitudes of other, non-extremist Muslims."
||"Thanks for being a voice of reason in these troubled times."
||"This is not a war of religions, it is a war against extremists;
and extremists in any religion are a danger to the world. We have seen
that throughout history."
||"There will always be ignorance and those who write of hate and
death. I will simply pray for all of this to be a galvanizer of strength
for all people who do not condone such events as September 11th."
||"As a devote Christian, I'm disgusted and appalled by the treatment
of the arab-american and Islamic community in the past few days. I hope
and pray that everyone will treat our fellow americans (and muslims around
the world) with the love and respect that they deserve as human beings."
Public opinion poll:
Gallup International Surveys conducted a world-wide poll on people's
opinion on what the American government should do when the identity of the
terrorists becomes known. The survey was taken between SEP-14 & 17; three to six
days after the attack. The two options given were:
||To launch a military attack on the country or countries where the
terrorists are based, or
||To try to extradite the terrorists to stand trial.
The spread in responses were remarkable. 6 They are listed
below in order of decreasing support for attacking the countries responsible:
* Excluding Northern Ireland.
A sampling of Muslim news releases and comments:
||SEP-11 @11:18: American Muslim Political Coordination Council (AMPCC):
"American Muslims utterly condemn what are apparently vicious and
cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all
Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the
perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral
||SEP-11 @14:27: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR):
They called "on Muslims nationwide to offer whatever assistance they
can to help the victims of today's terrorist attacks in New York and
Washington, D.C. In an alert to the American Muslim community, CAIR
suggested that the following actions be taken:|
||Muslim medical professionals are asked to go to the scenes of the
to offer aid and comfort to the victims.
||Muslim relief agencies should contact their counterparts to offer
in the recovery efforts.
||Individual Muslims should donate blood by contacting the local
the Red Cross. (Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.) They should also send donations
those relief agencies that are on the scene of the attacks."
||SEP-11 @20:34: A joint letter to President Bush from nine American
Muslim groups: "American Muslims, who unequivocally condemned today
terrorist attacks on our nation, call on you to alert fellow citizens to the
fact that now is a time for all of us to stand together in the face of this
heinous crime. It is not the time for speculative accusations and
stereotypical generalizations that can only serve to harm the innocent and to
endanger our society and its civil liberties."|
||SEP-11: BarlowFriendz Internet mailing list: Libertarian John
Perry Barlow sent a message to almost 1,000 subscribers. It said, in part:
"This morning’s events are roughly equivalent to the Reichstag fire
that provided the social opportunity for the Nazi take-over of Germany. I
am not suggesting that, like the Nazis, the authoritarian forces in
America actually had a direct role in perpetrating this mind-blistering
tragedy.... Nevertheless, nothing could serve those who believe that
American 'safety' is more important than American liberty better than
something like this. Control freaks will dine on this day for the rest of
our lives....And, please, let us try to forgive those who have committed
these appalling crimes. If we hate them, we will become them."
He received one death threat and some extremely ugly Email.|
||SEP-14: Local Muslims react in Yakima, WA:
||Aziz "Roy" Awad, is a Muslim who has lived in the U.S. since the
early 1970s. He owns a Quick Stop Minimart. He said: "We live here.
We're Americans. Why would anyone blame us?"
||Mahmoud Mouhmmd is also a Muslim who manages a Minimart. He said: "I
like this country. I'm an American citizen. I'm a Muslim and I like
American people and I feel very bad for what's happened...We started
crying for what happened It's honest people (who died). It's very
bad...We feel for the victims and for the victims' families."
||Miriam Gabrou, 68, of Yakima WA came to the U.S. 12 years ago from
Sudan and is now an American citizen. She said: "I was very shocked,
and prayed that God would help these people because the United States
has opened its arms to all the world. "If this were a hurricane it would
be the hand of God. If it were a tornado, it would be the hand of God.
But since it's from people, it's the hand of the devil and we must pray
for our country."
||SEP-15: Prayer services in Catonsville, MD: Imam Adam El-Sheikh
told several hundred worshippers: "Muslims all over the world are
condemning this act. Killing human beings is a heinous crime and is
punishable by Islamic law and also by the judgment day." 2|
Undated: Statement by the Institute for the
Secularisation of Islamic Society: Their web site contains a note of
sympathy: "The board and members of the Institute for the
Secularisation of Islamic Society wish to extend our heartfelt condolences
and sympathy to the victims, and the families and friends of all those who
lost their lives in the horror of 11th September 2001. All Muslims of
goodwill will join with us in condemning the actions of those who
perpetrated this evil, and utterly condemn those who led them to it. We
deplore the use of the Holy Koran to justify violence against the
innocent. Religion must be interpreted in terms of our common humanity."
This discussion continues on the next
Related essays on this web site:
Other web sites to visit:
Jane Gargas & Andriana Janovich, "Local Muslims react,"
Yakima-Herald, Yakima WA, at:
Eric Siegel & Laura Vozzella, "MD Muslims condemn attacks, collect
funds at prayer services," SunSpot.Net at:
"Jerry Falwell Apologizes," at:
http://www.falwell.com/ (The original apology has been removed and
replaced by a new one dated 2001-SEP-18.)
"Recent Broadcasts," Focus on the Family radio program, at:
http://www.family.org/fmedia/bcpast.html For a few days, you can
listen to a recording of this program. However, a audio tape of the program can be ordered from the Focus on
the Family web site at http://www.family.org
Look for the broadcast dated 2001-SEP-17.
The Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society has a web
site at: http://www.secularislam.org/
Peter Ford, "Why do they hate us?" Christian Science Monitor at:
Copyright © 2001 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2001-SEP-12
Latest update: 2001-DEC-10
Editor: B.A. Robinson