Terrorism by Muslim, Christian & Jewish extremists
Who is to blame for terrorist acts?
The perpetrators, or people who look
like or believe like the perpetrators?
Who should be held responsible?
In this essay, we attempt to show that a terrorist act should be blamed on
the people who committed the deed as well as their teachers, financers,
facilitators, and leaders. However, an individual who is not involved in any way
with the terrorist act but who happens to be of the same gender, or religion, or
skin coloring, or national origin, etc. should be assumed to be innocent.
Consider the most serious terrorist act in U.S. history: 9/11. On 2001-SEP-11, 19 terrorists hijacked four planes. Two were flown into the
World Trade Center's North and South towers in New York City, collapsing both
buildings and causing a third building (7 WTC) to fall as well. One was flown
into the Pentagon. The other was intended to target the Capitol building when it
crashed in Pennsylvania due to efforts by the passengers. 2,993 people died;
many more were injured. "All of the fatalities were civilians except for some of the 125 victims in
the Pentagon." 1 They ranged in age
from 2 to 82.
About the 9/11 terrorists:
|Fifteen of the 19 terrorists were Saudi Arabians, two came from the
United Arab Emirates, and one each from Egypt and Lebanon.|
|Four of the terrorists were pilots and were ultimately responsible for
using the planes as weapons.|
|Most were well educated.|
|Most came from middle or upper class backgrounds.|
Who should be held responsible?
|Most suggest that the 19 terrorists are ultimately responsible for the
thousands of deaths, injuries, and loss of property.|
|Most would agree that the leadership of Al Qaeda shares in the
|However, some North Americans went further and retaliated against people that
they believed were Muslim, or Arab, or even people that vaguely looked as if they
were from the Middle East: |
Wikipedia reported that shortly after 9/11:
"Numerous incidents of harassment and hate crimes were reported against
Middle Easterners and other 'Middle Eastern-looking' people, particularly
Sikhs, due to the fact that Sikh
males usually wear turbans, which are stereotypically associated with
Muslims in the United States. There were reports of verbal abuse, attacks on
mosques and other religious buildings (including the firebombing of a Hindu
temple) and assaults on people, including one murder; Balbir Singh Sodhi was
fatally shot on September 15. He, like others, was a Sikh who was mistaken
for a Muslim." 1
The firebombing probably referred to a Hindu temple in
Hamilton, ON, Canada that was attacked by an arsonist five days after 9/11. Hinduism, of course, has little
in common with Islam. Ironically, "... the City of Hamilton once 'recognized
the Hindu Samaj venue as a historic site in [the] fight against hate
Blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few
Arabs is illogical because most Muslims are not Arabs. Blaming all persons
of Middle Eastern ancestry, or all who wear turbans, or all Saudis,
etc. are examples of assigning collective responsibility -- blaming
an entire group for the actions of a miniscule percentage of persons within that
group. We suggest that this is illogical and unethical.
About collective responsibility and group punishment:
All too often, we are willing to blame an entire religion, for a criminal
act that was performed by a single person or a small group of individuals of
that faith. This is the concept of collective responsibility. It is also seen
when all people of a single race, or gender, or nationality, or sexual
orientation, or sexual identity, etc. are held equally responsible for an evil
act committed by a single individual or small group.
This leads obviously to the concept of group punishment: punishing
an entire group for the actions of one or a few people.
"This concept is found mostly in the Old Testament (or Tanakh), some
examples include the account of the Flood, the Tower of Babel and Sodom and
Gomorrah. In those records entire communities were punished on the act of
the vast majority of their members, however it is impossible that there
weren't any innocent people, or children too young to be responsible for
their deeds. ..." 6
Perhaps the most odious example of group punishment
has been the blaming of Jews for the execution of Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a.
Jesus Christ). This started in the early Christian movement and continued until
the 20th century. According to the biblical story, a group of Jews in Jerusalem
circa 30 CE urged Governor Pontius Pilate of Judea to
execute Yeshua. The Christian church has historically blamed:
|Those Jews who allegedly
formed the mob in front of Pilate, and |
|All the Jews in the rest of
Jerusalem at the time, and |
|All the Jews in the rest of the Roman Empire at the time,
|The above Jews' children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren etc. down through
about 80 generations until the 20th century. |
The Roman Catholic Church was one
of the last major Christian denominations to repudiate this belief. That
the mid 1960s at Vatican II.
Similar to the concept of collective responsibility is another belief: that
of the transfer of sin and punishment from the
guilty to the innocent. The Bible has many examples of this,
in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, in
the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures, and in the
Christian Scriptures (New Testament).
The concepts of collective responsibility and transfer of sins are now
considered immoral by both religious and secular ethical systems.
In the weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attack, there were hundreds of
attacks on Muslims and mosques in the U.S. and Canada by people who were
applying the principles of collective responsibility and group punishment.
Human Rights Watch issued a news
release on 2001-SEP-24 stating:
"These shameful acts against men, women and children targeted
because of their religious beliefs, ethnicity or national origin violate
basic principles of human rights and justice. Misguided violence at the
hands of a few dishonors the nation's legitimate anger and shock
over the immense loss of life and destruction from the September 11
attacks in the United States. Since Sept. 11, monitoring groups around the
country have received several hundred complaints alleging crimes
apparently motivated by bias and hate. A shooting rampage in Mesa, Arizona, left
one Sikh man dead, with additional shots fired at a Lebanese clerk and the
home of an Afghan family. An Egyptian-American grocer was shot and killed
near his store in San Gabriel, California and a storeowner from Pakistan was
shot dead in Dallas, Texas. A gasoline bomb was thrown into the home of a
Sikh family in California."
"Beatings and other violent assaults were reported across the country, as
were death and bomb threats. Mosques and Sikh temples have been shot at,
vandalized, and defaced, and bricks were thrown through the window of an
Islamic bookstore in Virginia. At several U.S. universities, foreign
students from the Middle East and South Asia have been targeted for attacks,
and some have chosen to leave the country because they feared additional
attacks. Throughout the country affected community members have been afraid
to leave their homes, go to work or wear traditional clothing for fear of
possible hate crimes against them." 7
George W. Bush, during a visit to the Islamic Center in Washington DC on
"...those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow
citizens to take out their anger don't represent the best of America, they
represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of
The following information sources were used to prepare and update this
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"September 11, 2001 attacks," Wikipedia,
Haneef James Oliver, "The Innacurate Reporting of John
Hooper and Brian Whitaker. Were the Sept. 11 Hijackers Salafis/'Wahhabis'?"
from the book "The Wahhabi Myth." Online at:
Book excerpt: "The Wahhhabi Myth," at:
Haneef James Oliver, "The Wahhabi Myth (2nd Edition) - Dispelling Prevalent
Fallacies and the Fictitious Link with Bin Laden," Trafford Publishing,
reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
Balvinder Singh S Bal, "Hope for Canadian temple that was
hit after 9/11," SikhNet, 2006-NOV-07, at:
"Collective responsibility (doctrine)," Wikipedia,
"Stop Hate Crimes Now," Human Rights News, Human Rights Watch,
Copyright © 2007 by Ontario Consultants on
Originally posted: 2007-OCT-02
Latest update: 2007-OCT-02
Author: B.A. Robinson