Essay PreviewMore ↓
Was the Cause of September 11 Islam or Foreign Policy?
George W. Bush has taken a stand on the true nature of Islam, calling it, for instance, a "religion of peace." As strange as this is to hear from the president of the United States, Bush's declarations have given rise to a good deal of useful public discussion about Islam. Unfortunately, this discussion has too often accepted the confused terms of the president's rhetoric: Is there, or is there not, something wrong in the nature of Islam? Salman Rushdie ("Yes, This is About Islam," New York Times 11/2/01) and Jonathan Ebel ("Territory is Not Mind," Sightings 11/15/01) both make some useful points in the process of taking up the question, but somehow leave standing the president's fundamental misconception that a religion has an essence.
Surely it is not fair to say that September 11 is "about" Islam. Violent hatred and intolerance can be adduced in too many corners of the religious world to imagine that it comes, simply, from the doctrines of one holy book or another. At the same time, it is difficult for me to blame Salman Rushdie, especially, for perceiving something within Islam today that is prone to violence. His non-violent, literary attack on Islam was, after all, taken by some Muslims to justify very real threats to his life. And, he marshals some reasonable evidence that many Muslims do believe that Islam is on board with the September 11 terrorists.
Still, we ought not to declare that September 11 is "about" Islam, especially if this means that we ignore "foreign policy, humanity, global society, and the just ordering thereof"-- which Ebel says are obviously what September 11 is also "about." Ebel's list implies that a larger, broader causal story needs to be told, rather than simply to say that Islam gave us the horrors of September 11. I agree wholeheartedly. Believing too simplistic a causal story carries both moral and practical flaws. If Islam itself -- or something in its nature -- was the cause of the attacks, we could only prevent further attacks by preventing further Islam. In this way, such a simplistic belief would tend to sanction persecution if not genocide against Muslims. From a practical standpoint, we will have to understand the details of the real, long-term causal story if we wish to minimize the threat of repeated terrorism in America.
How to Cite this Page
"Is the Cause of Terrorism Islam, or Foreign Policy?." 123HelpMe.com. 29 Mar 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- "We therefore advocate a revolution against the industrial system." -Ted Kaczynski The sun rises to a deep spring-blue sky on Sunday the Fifth of May 2017; 51,000 people are converging on downtown Spokane for the 39th running of the Bloomsday road race. Thirty miles to the south, near the town of Fairfield, a small cluster of people watch from a distance as two men in protective coveralls and respirators pour fifty gallons of a clear fluid into the payload compartment of a Bell 300C helicopter.... [tags: Islam Jihad and Terrorism Essays]
2163 words (6.2 pages)
- The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001 and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men, the shock troops of a hateful ideology, gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the beginning of the end of America. By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation's resolve and force our retreat from the world.... [tags: War Terrorism Extremism]
1682 words (4.8 pages)
- “I am scared because I don't exactly know and understand the complex world problems that would cause people to direct their hatred toward America" (Mary Coleman, New York Times News Service 9/14) Even during the initial shock of September 11 that swelled my patriotism, even amidst the solemn mood of heroism that stirred my respect for the victims, their families, the New York City workers, and in spite of a sudden admiration for the media and for our leaders in government for their strength, resolve and composure, something in me knew that after the dust and debris had settled that this would be the essential question we would be left to wrestle with.... [tags: September 11 Terrorism Essays]
3149 words (9 pages)
- Domestic Bigots Cause More Damage than Foreign Terrorists As the federal government preoccupies itself with fighting the war against terror, it must not neglect the terror that Americans can inflict on one another at home. At the same time, we should be circumspect about our rhetoric as we affirm our commitment to the ideals of freedom by debating our government's policies. The recent spate of hate crimes across the country - about 1000 incidents, some of them fatal - calls for two responses.... [tags: September 11 Terrorism Essays]
577 words (1.6 pages)
- Who to blame for Terrorism When a person thinks of terrorists, we only think of them as people trying to hurt the U.S. The U.S is used to being admired and being a great country, but when the U.S goes into other countries and attacks them we expect them not to fight back. An attack that left Americans in fear was the September 11 attack which was a suicide bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. When the U.S goes into another country to invade we don’t consider it terrorism we consider it defending ourselves.... [tags: Islam, Middle East, Arabic language, Saudi Arabia]
980 words (2.8 pages)
- Another news flash, all senses are again alert and directed towards the moving images being broadcasted live from the scene of the incident. Since the notorious attack of September 11, 2001 many other international incidents have occurred such as, that of the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands on November 2 of this year,his alleged assailant a Muslim, and this have caused tension to rise up between the secular states and its Muslim immigrants. Today, Islam has become a subject of much acute controversy, and discussions all around the world have heated up especially between the Arab world and the West.... [tags: Politics]
692 words (2 pages)
- ... 2013). Every Muslim must follow the laws of the Shari’a just like Americans follow the laws under the Constitution. The ways of the Shari’a might look extreme under foreign eyes that might cause tension toward Muslims. In addition, the official language in Islam is Arabic. Many words related to Islam are sallam and jihad. Sallam means peace and jihad means struggle. Most Muslims cannot condone to violence against American citizens. Muslims are misjudged by their actions, even if their words mean peace.... [tags: society, terrorist, muslim, impact, culture]
690 words (2 pages)
- The American War Machine and Terrorism The American military does an excellent job of defeating enemies when taking advantage of its ways of war. A few examples of these ways of war are rapidly impatient, converging columns, movement, scouts, and firepower. These aspects of the American military must be carefully considered when the country is about to enter a conflict. This can be seen in the war on terrorism, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. In order to touch base on the countries it is first necessary to give a brief history of the two countries and what happened before to show how they became the way they are.... [tags: Al-Qaeda, Taliban, United States, Osama bin Laden]
1374 words (3.9 pages)
- Introduction This paper will talk about three different types of terrorism. A background of each type will be provided to understand the motivations and goals. The first type that will be discussed is religious terrorism. The second type that will be discussed is suicide terrorism. The third and last type that will be discussed is nationalist terrorism. Each type of terrorism has distinct differences in their goals, motivations, strategy, use of violence, etc. However, the main focus of this paper will be on the difference between each type’s tactics and/or strategy.... [tags: Armed Groups, World Politics]
1967 words (5.6 pages)
- Discussion of Terrorism Terrorism, as defined by Title 22 of the United States code, section 2656f(d), is the "pre-meditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence and audience." Islamic terrorism is a serious problem for the United States because of the threat to national security, innocent civilians, and the foundations of democratic societies throughout the world.... [tags: Papers]
2337 words (6.7 pages)
But when we deny that Islam has violence at its core, we must also deny simple dichotomies. The president's words suggest that either September 11 is "about" Islam or it's not; either Islam is a religion of violence or Islam is a religion of peace. This is wrong.
Religions do not have unchanging natures. They are (among other things) complex social organisms that exist in history. Thus, while they are molded by that history, they mold it back in turn. When we focus on social forces that affect the development and transformation of peoples, therefore, we always remember that religions are a crucial part of that causal story. While multiple social forces contribute to the development of religious movements, those religious movements often then become forces within society. There is no essence in Islam that makes it unavoidably violent; but there is violence in Islam today.
Whatever September 11 ought to be "about," the fact that the question continues to be asked provides a teaching opportunity. Millions of Americans who for decades have done without lessons in history and foreign policy want to know, now, what might have brought us to this point. Of course, the particulars of the history of the Middle East will be a crucial part of this education. But scholars of religion also ought to be able to provide a more general understanding. For instance, what forces enter into the development of violent religious movements, and what might be done to mitigate such development?
Is it too fantastic to imagine that this kind of education might reach a segment of the voting population large enough to affect American policy? Right now our military is engaged in a "war against terrorism." If America and the international community can also engage other forces that will allow Islam--and other religions to take paths of peace, we must.