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.
Muslims against Terrorism. Added 9/30/01. This Canada-based Islamic group, which describes itself as a "worldwide antiterrorism organization for world peace and justice," posted an article by founder Syed B. Soharwardy of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, titled "A Muslim Perspective on the N.Y. and D.C. Terrorist Attacks," in which Soharwardy notes that the attacks not only shocked the western world, but put all Muslims of the world into a "very defensive position." Soharwardy says that the terrorists "have committed a great evil against Non-Muslims and Muslims alike. They have not only spilled the blood of innocent people, but in doing so they have also splashed that blood on all Muslims." According to Soharwardy, some of the consequences of the attacks are 1) the world focus on the "new Palestinian Intifadha has vanished;" 2) the "freedom movements" in the Palestinian Authority, Chechnya, Kashmir, Kosovo and Macedonia will be affected very badly; 3) Islamic political parties in Muslim countries will be further oppressed or banned altogether; 4) Many Muslim countries "will be dragged into what is called war against terrorism," with some Muslim countries directly attacked by US or NATO forces, and others penetrated by intelligence organizations to try to start civil wars; 5) the activities of Muslims organizations in the western world will be watched "with [a] microscope;" and 6) hostilities and hate crimes against Muslims living in the West are already on the rise.
Muslim Brotherhood Movement. Added 9/30/01. Sheikh Yussef Al-Qaradhawi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, stated in a religious program broadcast from Qatar on Al-Jazeera television that Islamic religious law dictates "that we join the Taliban's Jihad, not the U.S. coalition. It is forbidden to attack American citizens, but permitted to attack the American military." Qaradhawi had earlier been one of the Muslim clerics who established that suicide attacks are permitted by Islamic law. After the September 11 attacks, he issued an initial communiqué condemning the attacks because they were against innocent civilians. He differentiates between such attacks and "the terror of those defending their homeland and their rights," such as Fatah, Hamas, or Islamic Jihad, who he does not think are terrorists.
Al-Hewar Center. Added 9/30/01. In an "open letter" addressed to the "Arab and Muslim Communities in the U.S. and the West," the Al-Hewar Center states that western Arab communities are living in a "very negative environment" because of the tragic events of September 11. They are afraid that such events could be repeated elsewhere; they are worried about their future as citizens in Western countries; and they are "concerned and angry" that the media is "tarnishing their image." However, the Al-Hewar Center states, Arabs and Muslims have a "historic opportunity" to establish bridges with the rest of the communities in their respective countries. It is "high time" for them to embark on a "large-scale and sustained effort to educate their neighbors, their friends, and their entire nation about their heritage, their religion, and their customs." According to the Al-Hewar Center, Arab and Muslim citizens are at a "critical juncture" in their history, where they can possibly "fall into the trap of isolation and self-accusation," or can become active in their communities. Arab and Muslim citizens must fulfill their duties and obligations toward their respective Western countries, and "must also take full advantage of the human, social, economic, and political rights granted to them by the constitution of their country." They should report hate crimes and acts of discrimination, and even make "peaceful protests" against such acts, including in concert with other local anti-discrimination associations and organizations.
According to the Al-Hewar Center, Arab and Muslim citizens in the Western world have five main obligations: 1) challenge the current negative atmosphere that seeks to assert that the struggle is between the Christian West and the Muslim East; 2) engage in dialogue with all members of the local community from all races, religions and backgrounds; 3) organize their social and intellectual affairs by more effective means; 4) coordinate activities among all Arab and Muslim associations and social groups; and 5) influence Arab and Muslim countries to reduce their level of rhetoric and negative sentiments, and help them to engage in dialogue to help them better understand the Western world and its human culture.
Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. Added 9/30/01. In a press release dated September 25, the ADC summarized its activities in the two weeks since the September 11 attacks. According to the ADC, it has been focusing all its recent efforts on dealing with the crisis. It has been emphasizing the need for Arab Americans to cooperate fully with the investigation, it has continued to gather contributions to its worldwide fund drive for September 11 victims, and it has urged its chapters to establish contact with law enforcement authorities and elected officials. "ADC strongly urges," states the press release, "that, even in a climate in which sporadic and spontaneous hate crimes and discrimination against Arab-Americans continue, that the community make sure to involve itself in all aspects of local community activities." According to the release, ADC has tracked over 300 incidents of violence or threats of specific acts of violence against Arab Americans around the country, and confirmed more than 10 cases in which airplane passengers of Arab and South Asian descent were expelled from planes before take-off because of the protests of either passengers or crew.
Hard-Core White Supremacists/Organizations
American Nazi Party. Added 9/30/01. Rocky Suhayda of the American Nazi Party replied to questions by Newshouse News Service about the September 11 attacks by stating that he and his followers view the attacks as "simply retribution of this corrupt system's actions, for many years around the globe," such as the U.S.'s "subservience to the Jews" in both the U.S. and Israel. Suhayda said that "just as the patriots of 1776…finally understood that they could not achieve their goals, by words alone…we too, will have to take 'whatever means necessary' to achieve ours." Therefore, Suhayda suggests, "when an 'enemy of my enemy…attacks him,' we understand that what counts…is the real enemy bleeding."
Brown, Jonathan David. Added 9/30/01. Ozark, Missouri, Christian Identity leader and convicted criminal Jonathan Brown published an editorial in the Springfield News-Leader defending Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson for their controversial statements following the September 11 attacks. According to Brown, "The destruction of the twin towers is plain evidence that God has lifted his protecting hand from America." The real blame, Brown writes, should be laid on those who ignore "God's law" by rejecting the biblical strictures of Leviticus (such as eating only "clean" meats) and Exodus (such as charging no interest on loans). According to Brown, "America has to start over with a full repentance to obtain his forgiveness, mercy and prosperity. This means keeping ALL of his Laws (Hebrews 10:16), except the sacrificial ordinance of the Levites (Hebrews 10:1-6)."
World Church of the Creator. Added 9/30/01. WCOTC leader Matt Hale claimed on September 22 to have demonstrated, along with "between seven and fourteen" other members, in downtown East Peoria, holding signs such as "Close our Border," "End Foreign Aid," "America Before Israel," "Arabs & Jews Get Out" and "Deport Aliens." Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, WCOTC members distributed hate literature that included a flier with a photo of Osama bin Laden with cross-hairs over his head and the slogan, "Don't let this happen again; end non-White immigration."
Miscellaneous Hate Groups/Anti-Semitic Groups
Nation of Islam. Added 9/30/01. An article on the Final Call Web site (the Nation of Islam's publication) by Dora Muhammad summarizes the reaction of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to the September 11 attacks. Muhammad quotes Farrakhan as saying that he, on behalf of all Muslims, condemns "this vicious and atrocious attack on the United States." Farrakhan called the attacks un-Muslim-like and warned the public against retaliating against Muslim citizens. "While standing in agreement with the leaders of this country in the hunt for the perpetrators," Muhammad writes, "Min. Farrakhan implored them to take the same courage to examine the effects of U.S. foreign policy in producing such heinous crimes against humanity." According to Muhammad, Farrakhan claimed that only divine guidance from "scriptural scientists" of all faiths could prevent the U.S. government from violating international law in their stated mission to rip up the nest of terrorists. Another report on Farrakhan's speech, by Marc Morano of CNSNews.com, stressed the extent to which Farrakhan implied U.S. foreign policy was to blame for the attacks, including Farrakhan's defense of the publicized images of Palestinians celebrating in the streets after the September 11 attacks because the Palestinians have "sustained injustice since 1948." Morano quotes Farrakhan as saying "They dance in the streets not because they have no feeling for American life, they dance because they wanted America to feel what they feel."
"Patriot" (militia, sovereign citizen, anti-government) Organizations
Cooper, William. Added 9/30/01. Tax protester, militia figure and fugitive William Cooper issued a story from his "Veritas News Service" on September 29 titled "CIA's role in the attack upon America!" in which he alleges that CIA figures John Deutch and David Cohen were actually Israeli spies serving Israel rather than the U.S. Saying that the "attacks on the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon may have a much more sinister origin than anyone is ready to explore or even consider," Cooper claims that the CIA had been engaging in a pattern of paramilitary training, assassinations and other covert operations as part of a "War against Islam."
Icke, David. Added 9/30/01. In an essay on his Web site titled "Alice in Wonderland and the WTC disaster," conspiracy theorist and anti-Semite David Icke writes, "If you are looking for the force behind the U.S. atrocities, just ask: who benefits?" According to Icke, the September 11 attacks were the doing of the Illuminati, "the force that seeks to control this world and introduce its global fascist state." Although the world was moving towards global centralized fascism, Icke writes, it was not moving fast enough to suit the elites, who saw opposition to their globalization plans growing. As a result, they planned something of "enormous magnitude" that would "so devastate the collective human mind" that "solutions" could be offered that "would advance the agenda in a colossal leap almost overnight." According to Icke, Osama Bin Laden, though "deeply misguided," is no more responsible for the attacks than Icke was. He was the equivalent of Lee Harvey Oswald, a convenient villain upon which the crime could be blamed.