Thursday, 13 September 2012

"What is your feeling about 9/11 today, 11 years after the event?"

11 September 2012
That was the question asked of Mark Tilman, who was the pilot of Air Force One on that horrible day. His answer: he thought about the victims, their families, and the bravery and patriotism of the First Responders.
Fair enough. As far as it goes.  That seemed to sum up the rest of the coverage of the memorial services on that day: much talk of bravery and patriotism (eg, General Jack Keane).  People at the memorial were quoted saying the we must "never forget" and "learn the lessons".  But curiously absent from the lessons to be learned was any mention of Islam.  Apart from ex Mayor Giuliani, who spoke of the on-going threat of Islamist radical violence, and Jonathan Schanzer who pointed out that various polls show 20% of Muslims around the world (I think he might even have said "at least")  "hate the west", and that's a population larger than that of the US.
But nothing, not a word, about the ideology of the perpetrators.
Now, if I'd been asked the same question, my reply would have been:
first, the usual shock and horror at the event, and rather later, learning about Islam.
I did that because I kept reading and hearing that Islam was a "religion of peace" and that the hijackers had not only hijacked the planes, but the religion as well.  W Bush made this point in a speech just six days later.  For a long while I accepted this, until finally I thought I'd better read for myself the key documents of Islam and see how it was a religion of peace, and how these guys had "hijacked" it.
The first reading was the Koran and I got a shock.  I thought "my goodness me, if this is what we're dealing with, if this is the guide for Muslims, then we're in real trouble".
In read and re-read the Koran, then the Hadith and the life of Muhammad (the "Sirah").  I then bought books critical of Islam and also supportive.  Thus I built up a library.
And thus it was that I understood the motivations of the hijackers.  They had not twisted the tenets of Islam, they had not misunderstood its canon, they had not hijacked the "religion of peace".  They were acting in exact compliance with Islam and the exhortations of their prophet.
I've read the two key books specifically about Al-Qaeda: "The Al Qaeda Reader" by Raymond Ibrahim and "Messages to the World; Statements of Osama bin Laden", by Bruce Lawrence (ed), which clearly show bin Laden to be well-versed in all aspects of Islam. He was not some wild-eyed zealot misreading and cherry picking the doctrine; he was acting knowledgeably in clear and specific accordance with it.
I suspect there are many others like me -- who learnt about Islam only after 9/11.  That explains why there are so many, when polled, who reply that Islam is not a religion of peace.
But none of that was there in the coverage of the memorials.
You'd think that there ought to be at least one or two people saying something along these lines.  The fact that there was not is clear indication of the extent that creeping Sharia has put criticism of Islam off the agenda.
The latest atrocity against the American Consulate in Benghazi -- killing the US Ambassador and three others, all on the basis of a really bad, amateurish film about Mohammad -- is proof of this.  Rather than immediately attacking the mob violence and demanding their arrest from Libyan violence, the US Embassy's response was to criticise the film.  Just as Muslim Brotherhood brother Morsi wants.
Sharia in action, in the US government....