This section looks at Internet responses to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. It provides examples of commentary from a wide variety of groups, from civil rights groups to extremist organizations. This includes both the strongly positive and the strongly negative.
The intent is to provide a snapshot of responses to the tragedy, not to comment on or to categorize the inherent nature of these groups.
Added 9/13/01. Crescent International, an international biweekly newsmagazine of the "international Islamic movement," published an editorial in its September 16-31 edition stating that "whoever committed the crime, Muslims face the consequences." Suggesting that the world may never discover who was actually responsible for the "atrocity," the editorial notes that the world is assuming the perpetrators were Muslims, which is "understandable, considering that Islamic movements now constitute the main opposition to American and Western global hegemony." The editorial says that "it may seem totally impossible that any God-fearing person would commit such horrendous acts," but suggests that "people who feel themselves and their peoples to be under sustained and unrelenting attack can react in the most unbelievable ways." However, it "goes without saying" that there "can be no possible sanction for their actions, whatever a misguided few may suggest." They suggest they should be even more condemnatory of other Muslims committing such crimes than of non-Muslims. They warn Muslims to be prepared for unprecedented military attacks as well as crackdowns within Muslim countries on Islamic opposition movements. Muslims in the West can expect Islamaphobia, discrimination, and hostility.
Joint Statement of assembled organizations in Washington DC. Added 9/13/01. Organizations include: Islamic Institute, American Muslim Council, American Muslims for Jerusalem, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Council on American Islamic Relations, Solidarity International, Arab American Institute, America-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Political Coordinating Council and United Association for Studies and Research. The statement condemned "in the harshest terms" the "cowardly and senseless acts of terror perpetrated against innocent American citizens." It called on all Muslim Americans and mosques to designate Friday as a day or mourning and calls on Imams to "dedicate the khutbah prayer for the victims of this horrible act and their families." The statement asked law enforcement officials to help protect mosques and Islamic centers from "suffering the backlash of prejudice and stereotyping." It said that all Americans must be "extra vigilant and careful" to defend against blaming and abusing American Muslims. It said that American Muslims, like all Americans, "share the pain and loss of yesterday's evil act." It called on all mosques and Islamic centers to come together and to donate blood and organize blood drive campaigns.
Arab American Action Network.
Added 9/13/01. This Chicago-based organization issued a statement condemning the "horrifying attacks." Arab-Americans in Chicago, it stated, like all Americans, are shocked and angered, and "are feeling all the emotions of our fellow citizens." The AAAN says that the community's thoughts and prayers are with the victims. No matter who may be responsible, the AAAN considers them to be "reprehensible" and condemns them "in the strongest possible terms." They urge the public and media to refrain from rushing to judgment.
Islamic Shura (Consultative) Council of Southern California.
Added 9/13/01. Dr. Yahia Abdul-Rahman, Chairman of this group, announced an All Faiths Prayers Meeting in which leaders of fourteen different religious institutions (not named), ranging from Catholic to Jewish to Pentecostal to various Muslim sects, would deliver brief spiritual prayers.
Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Added 9/13/01. Ziad Asali, the President of the ADC, issued a statement expressing the "deep shock, outrage and anger that the entire Arab-American community has felt" as a result of the "heinous and reprehensible attack against our society." Asali said that the attack was aimed at all Americans without exception and that the Arab-American community "shared every bit of the heartache and anguish" that all Americans were enduring. The best answer to such a "despicable attack," he said, is for all Americans "to join hands and come together to support each other in our time of need." Asali warned of a pattern of collective blame and scapegoating against Arab-Americans and Muslims that seemed to be emerging, and said that there can be no reason or excuse for collective blame against any ethnic or religious community.
Added 9/13/01. This "Center for Arab Culture and Dialogue" issued a statement saying that it "joins the entire American, Arab, and Islamic community in expressing its condemnation of the terror attacks," and that it wishes to express its sorrow and condolences. It warned that although the days ahead will be difficult for Americans, it is "important to remember that there are good people in the world." Nothing can bring back the victims of this "terrible tragedy," but "we MUST keep alive the spirit of America as a freedom-loving, diverse and tolerant society."
American Muslims for Jerusalem.
Added 9/13/01. The Washington DC-based group issued a statement saying that it is appalled by and strongly condemns the terrorist attacks. Sending its "deepest condolences" to the families of the victims of these "cowardly attacks," the AMJ stated that as Muslims they "utterly deplore these heinous and barbaric acts," and hope for the "quick apprehension and swift applications of justice." They urged the media to exercise restraint and act responsibly. They called on Muslims nationwide to offer every assistance they can to help the victims: Muslim medical professionals should go to the scenes of attacks to offer aid and comfort, Muslim relief agencies should contact counterparts to offer support in recover efforts; individual Muslims should donate blood and send donations to relief agencies.
Added 9/13/01. This Washington DC-based "national organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent," headed by James Zogby, issued a statement saying, "we are in the midst of a national nightmare of unimaginable proportions. What is unfolding is horrible and almost too painful to watch." It emphasized that Arab-Americans have family and friends who worked in the World Trade Center and for the Federal government; it stated that they mourn for those who lost their lives and those who were injured, as well as for their country "in this time of national trauma." The statement urged fellow citizens not to rush to judgment and point fingers "at their Arab American neighbors and colleagues who are suffering, like all Americans, from these despicable acts." No ethnic or religious community should be collectively blamed.
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Added 9/13/01. This Washington, D.C., based group issued a statement calling on Muslims nationwide to offer whatever assistance they can to the victims of the terrorist attacks. It suggested Muslims take actions identical to those summarized in the AMJ entry above, asked Muslims to report incidents of anti-Muslim harassment, and urged greater security around mosques and Islamic centers. CAIR provides sample wording for Muslims and Muslim groups to use in press releases or statements. The model wording suggested that Muslims "condemned the apparent terrorist attacks" and offered condolences to the families. It suggested that they use wording that reads, in part, "We condemn in the strongest terms possible what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts." The wording also includes language urging media professionals to exercise restraint.
Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine.
Added 9/13/01. This Washington, D.C.-based organization issued a statement condemning the attacks and expressing sympathy to victims and their families. The statement said that it is essential to "exercise extreme caution." It criticized the media's "selective use" of images of Palestinians in refugee camps celebrating, without providing contextual information, and suggested that this gives a misleading picture and encourages anti-Arab and anti-Islamic feelings and actions. "Throughout the Middle East, Arabs-Muslims and Christians-as well as Jews share our collective sense of mourning," it said. "Here at home, Arab and Islamic organizations call upon their members to donate blood and help in rescue and relief efforts underway." It suggested that as the U.S. pursues its war on terrorism, "we must remember that ignorance, hysteria, and vigilantism are also our enemies."
American Muslim Council.
Added 9/13/01. This Washington, D.C.-based group issued a statement urging all Muslims to come together "in this time of tragedy." It condemned the "cowardly terrorist attacks" and expressed condolences to families of victims. It urged law enforcement officials to be alert for acts of violence perpetrated against Muslims and Islamic institutions. "We, like all Americans, want to feel secure and want to see the perpetrators brought to justice."
Hard-Core White Supremacist Organizations
World Church of the Creator.
Added 9/13/01. In a message to followers, Matt Hale, the leader of the racist and anti-Semitic World Church of the Creator, stated that the attacks of September 11 "are in need of a fervent and immediate response by White Racial Loyalists everywhere." The time is at hand, Hale said, to "preach to people everywhere" the cause of the attacks: "the control of the United States government by International Jewry and its lackeys. Perhaps never before have our people been so receptive to our message." He urged followers to "proselytize far and wide."
Added 9/13/01. Lindstedt, a Missouri-based Christian Identity adherent and former militia leader who is extremely active on the Internet, "reminds" people that it was "ZOG" (Zionist Occupation Government) that blew up the Murrah Federal Building, and he urged people to tape television reports while the "official story" is still being worked on. He stated: "My line is that it is a ZOG provocation, and I'm sticking to it."
Imperial Klans of America.
Added 9/13/01. People writing to the IKA mailing list generally expressed anti-Arab hatred in reaction to the attacks. One supporter wrote that it was an "ugly and tragic event that transpired yesterday...committed by ugly and dishonorable sand-niggers." "To allow these muds into our country and to allow open border access is suicide," wrote another. "The bombing of the WTC and the Pentagon are the logical end-results of multi-culturalism and diversity." "Those (expletive) in Palastine need to realize that if they screw with us, they will pay," commented a third. "I have never liked Arab/Palastine people, nor blacks." A fourth wrote that "I dont care anymore about the damn jews or niggers on our soil, or the mexicans across the borders. What about these arabs??" "I'm white and proud of it I hate those god damm blood sucking jews, spicks and NIGGERS," asserted a fifth sympathizer, "and I realy hate those arab people."
Miscellaneous Hate Groups/Anti-Semitic Groups
The Nation of Islam.
Added 9/13/01. The Nation of Islam announced that Louis Farrakhan will have a "major national and international press conference" on September 16 at Mosque Maryam, to make a statement on the "horrific assault on the United States of America." The address will be delivered via satellite and the Internet.
Added 9/13/01. In a September 12 essay, elaborating on remarks he made the previous day, Holocaust denier Michael Hoffman blamed the terrorist attacks on the federal government's "naked, partisan bias toward Zionism." Hoffman expressed fear for American civil liberties, predicting that "we are headed for a good dose of the Zionist clap-carte blanche budgets for Big Government and all-seeing surveillance by Big Brother." The U.S., he wrote, is "fated to shed ever more blood in a vicious circle of atrocity and counter-atrocity, so that a gang of Khazars and Sephardim may rape and ruin Palestine to their hearts' content."
"Patriot" (militia, sovereign citizen, anti-government) Organizations
Added 9/13/01. One faction of the Michigan Militia, the "Michigan Militia, Incorporated," as well as associated group, The Wayne County Militia, issued a statement "condemning the cowardly terrorist attack against our Nation." The statement urged people to remain vigilant and calm, and strongly urges members and all citizens to donate blood. They also encouraged people to donate to emergency drives. "We stand side by side with our countrymen in this time of crisis, and gladly offer any of our limited resources and abilities toward defending our nation."
International Action Center.
Added 9/13/01. This New York-based group, founded by Ramsey Clark, issued a statement declaring that the U.S. must stop its "barbaric terrorism." It stated that the IAC extends "its most heartfelt sympathies and condolences" to all who lost loved ones, but asserted that the Bush administration is "taking advantage of the tragic human toll to strengthen the forces of repression while intensifying the Pentagon's war drive, especially in the Middle East." It stated that Arab and Muslim peoples in the U.S. are facing racist harassment and called on those people who oppose racism to "stand shoulder to shoulder with the Arab-American community in the face of this reactionary frenzy." It urged "all anti-war activists and progressive people" to oppose the Bush administration and the Pentagon, as well as "current efforts to strengthen police measures under cover of the present crisis."
International Socialist Organization.
Added 9/13/01. A September 13 statement of the ISO, based in Chicago, does not condone the attacks but does express fear that they will be used "as a pretext to strengthen US military might." The ISO is also wary of widespread persecution of Arab-Americans. "The people who died in the September 11 attacks are not to blame for the U.S. government's policy," it said. "Neither are millions of Arab Americans to blame for the attacks. We stand with our Palestinian brothers and sisters in their just demand for self-determination and freedom from Israeli oppression and we will oppose any attempt to use this tragedy to justify that oppression."
Added 9/13/01. Chomsky issued "A Quick Reaction," in which he described the September 11 attacks as "major atrocities." Although "in terms of numbers of victims," they did not reach the level of incidents such as the U.S. bombing of the Sudan, "that this was a horrendous crime is not in doubt." Chomsky predicted that it is likely to prove a "crushing blow" to "Palestinians and other poor and oppressed people," likely to lead to harsh security controls and possibly the undermining of civil liberties. Chomsky asserted that the events reveal the foolishness of missile defense. "In short," he says, "the crime is a gift to the hard jingoist right, those who hope to use force to control their domains. That is even putting aside the likely US actions, and what they will trigger…the prospects ahead are even more ominous than they appeared to be before the latest atrocities."