Impact of 9/11 on Muslims

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Zafar Bangash

Ramadan 22, 1431 2010-09-01

Opinion

by Zafar Bangash (Opinion, Crescent International Vol. 39, No. 7, Ramadan, 1431)

Fear and paranoia have become the new parameters for every policy. While the attacks occurred in the US, other western countries also immediately passed repressive laws that were essentially aimed at targeting Muslims

In the US, and indeed in much of the western world, the attacks of 9/11 have been declared as the most catastrophic event ever to occur in history. That the attacks were dramatic is not in doubt; what is less well established is the identity of the perpetrators as well as the manner in which the buildings collapsed and why. There is a growing body of skeptics worldwide that does not buy into the official version. This group includes many family members of the victims as well. We are not concerned here with discussing the what, how and whys of the attacks. Rather, we want to focus on how these attacks have been used to launch military invasions of Muslim countries and the manner in which civil liberties have been severely curtailed in the name of security.

Fear and paranoia have become the new parameters for every policy. While the attacks occurred in the US, other western countries also immediately passed repressive laws that were essentially aimed at targeting Muslims. Every Muslim in the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark and a host of other countries immediately became a suspect and was potentially accusable of having links with the alleged hijackers. Muslims in the west were constantly required to condemn the attacks and the attackers. While it is easy — and appropriate — to condemn the attacks because targeting innocent civilians regardless of their nationality or religion is never sanctioned by Islam, it is a major leap from there to accept the official US version and assert that the attackers were Muslims or “motivated” by Islam.

True, the US and other western officials have periodically said they are not targeting all Muslims, but their policies have belied this so clearly that it leaves little doubt all Muslims have been declared the enemy. One can imagine the uproar had Iran, for instance, declared all Americans as enemies because of the CIA-engineered coup in 1953 and the repeated attempts by successive US governments since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 to overthrow the Islamic government. Similarly, it would be considered ludicrous if every Muslim country were to declare a state of emergency because of US attempts to undermine the Islamic State.

Even if one were to ignore attacks on Muslims in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 because of anger aroused in misguided Americans, there is no justification for the behavior of officials in rounding up thousands of innocent Muslims throughout the US and even torturing some to death. Nor can the oppressive laws that have now become well entrenched be justified. Guantanamo Bay was another “gift” of 9/11 where more than 700 mostly innocent Muslims have been brutally tortured. There have been other measures as well that clearly point to a deliberate policy of singling out Muslims who are asked to prove their innocence. These have included the no-fly lists, hauling away of “Muslim-looking” passengers from airplanes because other passengers did not like their “looks” and the now even more intrusive scanning devices at airports in the US and Europe. Muslim women in hijab have been attacked and it as well as the niqab, has been banned in several countries. How will a ban on the niqab or hijab prevent terrorism?

In recent weeks, mosques in the US have also been targeted and unruly mobs, egged on by rightwing politicians — Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich et al — as well as the rightwing media (Fox News and Zionist-owned publications) have declared that mosques do not belong in America. Some US churches even

wanted to burn copies of the Qur’an on this year’s anniversary of 9/11. Mercifully, US courts have declared such acts illegal although it will not stop American right-wingers from holding their obscene ritual near the site of 9/11 to whip up mass hysteria. For this year’s commemoration ceremony, the racist Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been invited to spew venom against Muslims. Munafiqs among Muslims (of both genders) and non-Muslim promoters have also jumped on the bandwagon.

In the name of security, the US and its western allies have declared war on Islam and Muslims. They have dismantled the very values they claim to uphold. With the US’s imminent defeat in Afghanistan, more oppressive measures against Muslims can be expected to divert attention from its failures. So much for the west’s cherished “freedoms” and “liberty” they want to export to the rest of the world.

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