Islam and the West: Remembering September 11

  • 13 September 2010

There are those who wanted to use the 9th anniversary of September 11 attacks, which fell on Saturday, as an opportunity to fuel hostility between the US and the West and Islam. However, US President Barak Obama’s speech on this occasion was a severe jolt to warmongers who want to create a wedge between Muslims and the West and keep it captive to what happened on that day. Obama affirmed that the US is not and will not be in war against Islam. He separated religion from terrorism and said that those who attacked America on that day were not Muslims but members of Al Qaeda who had deviated from the principles of religion. The call of the radical Reverend Terry Jones to burn 200 copies of the Holy Quran in the memory of the September 11 events was aimed at creating hatred, hostility and tension between Muslims and the West.

However, its widespread criticism – both from within the US and abroad – as well as clear warnings of its destructive consequences confirmed an international awareness of such a behavior and its impact on fueling extremism. It was understood that linking terrorism to religion provides succor to violence and gives legitimacy to terrorism. Undoubtedly, the Rev. Terry Jones’ decision to withdraw his call confirms that the world was able to prevail upon acts of extremism against elements that play with fire and hurt religious sentiments. Hence attempts at rabble-rousing, which could have made the world an even more dangerous place to live and triggered religious wars, was reined in. Trying to link terrorism with religion doesn’t serve any purpose besides helping terrorists and extremists. Obama has recognized this since he came to power and has worked for cooperation with the Islamic world. He has dealt with terrorism as an international danger that has no relation to religion or culture. His speech on the 9/11 anniversary was very pronounced and expressive.

The positive directives issued by the President represent a bridge that could be built between the Islamic world and the West in times to come and help build the right image in the eyes of the West. Some elements in the West are trying hard to deepen hatred towards Muslims and portray Islam as a threat to the Western culture, consequently promoting their own destructive ideas. Nine years after the September 11 attacks, its impact is strong and still haunts the West’s ties with Islam. This also shows that more efforts are needed to overcome its impact, especially in the wake of attempts to malign Muslims. If such elements have made their presence felt this year, they are bound to make similar moves in the years to come.