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Remains of the World Trade Towers; tomb of thousands

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Introductory comments:

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 -- we 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:

bullet That the motivation of the terrorists will be found to be intense religious hatred. (All indications are that this was precisely their motivation.)
bullet 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).
bullet "...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, this has come true).

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A sampling of Emails received at our web site:

We get lots and lots of letters:

bullet 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.
bullet One person seems to blame the tragedy on a mythical Jewish conspiracy.
bullet 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.
bullet 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:

bullet "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."
bullet "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!!!!!!"
bullet "GO HOME!!!! You cowards, murderers!!!!"
bullet "See what is the future for Islam. Shame on you all."
bullet "you people are pathetic and oppose Christianinty [sic] in America."
bullet "Your religion, you say, is growing. Is this because Muslams [sic] are killing off the other religions by acts of terror?"
bullet "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."
bullet "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 and liars."
bullet "sanhedran"
bullet "SHAME on you for attempting to hide the truth!!!!"
bullet "I cheer Bush as he will kill many many Muslims!"
bullet "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."
bullet "Thanks for being a voice of reason in these troubled times."
bullet "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."
bullet "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."
bullet "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."

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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:

bullet To launch a military attack on the country or countries where the terrorists are based, or
bullet 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:

Country Favor attack Favor trial Don't know
Israel 77% 19% 4%
India 72 28 0
United States 54 30 16
Korea 38 54 9
France 29 67 4
Czech Republic 22 64 14
Italy 21 71 8
South Africa 18 75 7
United Kingdom* 18 75 7
Germany 17 77 6
Bosnia 14 80 6
Colombia 11 85 4
Pakistan 9 69 22
Greece 6 88 6
Mexico 2 94 3

* Excluding Northern Ireland.

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A sampling of Muslim news releases and comments:

bullet 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 acts."
bullet 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:
bullet Muslim medical professionals are asked to go to the scenes of the attacks to offer aid and comfort to the victims.
bullet Muslim relief agencies should contact their counterparts to offer support in the recovery efforts.
bullet Individual Muslims should donate blood by contacting the local office of
the Red Cross. (Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.) They should also send donations to those relief agencies that are on the scene of the attacks
bullet 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."
bullet 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.
bullet SEP-14: Local Muslims react in Yakima, WA:
bullet 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?"
bullet 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."
bullet 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."
bullet 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." 5

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This discussion continues on the next page.

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Related essays on this web site:

bullet Attacks on Muslims and their facilities after terrorist acts

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Other web sites to visit:

bullet Partial list of those killed or missing in the attack
bullet Picture Galleries:
bullet A collection of pictures of individuals all over the world expressing solidarity with the U.S.
bullet A second collection of photographs from dozens of countries
bullet Communicating to children about the tragedy:
bullet "What do we tell our children?" Thoughts by Rev. Meg Riley
bullet "Helping children in response to today's news," Washington State PTA
bullet "Helping kids cope with tragedy," Mercy Corps
bullet Slide/musical tributes:
bullet By "Ali" at:
bullet "Can'tCryEnough" at:
bullet World Unity: viewing the tragedy from a world perspective; links to news sources, etc.

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References used:

  1. Jane Gargas & Andriana Janovich, "Local Muslims react," Yakima-Herald, Yakima WA, at:
  2. Eric Siegel & Laura Vozzella, "MD Muslims condemn attacks, collect funds at prayer services," SunSpot.Net at:
  3. "Jerry Falwell Apologizes," at: (The original apology has been removed and replaced by a new one dated 2001-SEP-18.)
  4. "Recent Broadcasts," Focus on the Family radio program, at:  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  Look for the broadcast dated 2001-SEP-17.
  5. The Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society has a web site at:
  6. Peter Ford, "Why do they hate us?" Christian Science Monitor at:

Copyright © 2001 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-SEP-12
Latest update: 2001-DEC-10
Editor: B.A. Robinson

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