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.
Council on American-Islamic Relations, Canadian Office (CAIR CAN). Added 10/29/01. On October 17, the Canadian office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association issued a statement denouncing recent statements by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda calling for a "jihad" by Muslims against Americans. The two organizations asserted that "Islam respects the sacredness of life, and rejects any express statement or tacit insinuation that Muslims should harm innocent people. Despite our disagreement with certain American policies, we must never abuse the concept of Jihad to target innocent civilians….Using the concept of Jihad to justify harming the innocent is contrary to the letter and spirit of Islam. We condemn any violence that springs from this misguided interpretation."
Kuttab, Daoud. Added 10/29/01. Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab, Director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Jerusalem, published an essay on October 11, 2001, titled "Free Palestine Yes, Ben Laden No," in which he suggests that the quest for a free Palestinian state is a "just and noble cause" that "must not be defiled" by the "evil actions of international terrorists." According to Kuttab, Palestinians reject attempts by Ben Laden to link his situation with Palestine, as well as his call for violence against the U.S. Kuttab says that although America has "obstructed" the Palestinian cause, "the path of killing innocent people in New York and Washington is not the path of justice for Palestine." Kuttab claims that the "frustrations of the Arab peoples with America reached unprecedented heights when the U.S. delegation so brazenly and publicly sided with Israel before and during the UN's anti-racism conference in Durban, South Africa." However, Kuttab asserts that Ben Laden's "demagogy" failed to find "deep roots with Palestinians." Although a "few people were mesmerized," Palestinians will "not allow this struggle to be defamed by an extremist terrorist who sees the world only in terms of religious blocs." Kuttab claims that the Palestinian cause is a national, not a religious, cause.
Muslimedia. Added 10/29/01. A news Website affiliated with the London-based Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, Muslimedia published an editorial apparently appearing in Crescent International (the "newsmagazine of the Islamic movement"). The editorial, "Afghanistan: the empire strikes back," asserts that the U.S., in response to the 9/11 attacks, "launched an enormous propaganda effort to obfuscate any reasoned discussion of the situation, and swamp awkward realities that might emerge, with a mass of misinformation and disinformation." The editorial compares the U.S. attacks on the Taliban with those of "an imperial power teaching a troublesome tribe…a lesson." According to the editorial, "history…tells us" that empires cannot survive indefinitely, no matter how strong they are: "An empire that depends on force cannot survive; in the long run every atrocity it commits to consolidate its rule contributes also to its ultimate defeat. It is these realities that Western commentators…cannot bear to face."
Tantawi, Sayyed Muhammed. Added 10/29/01. The Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Sayyet Muhammed Tantawi, issued an edict stating that it is "inadmissible" for any Muslim country to join the U.S. led campaign against the Taliban in the absence of "irrefutable" evidence regarding the perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks. Tantawi had previously issued a statement condemning the attacks themselves and suggesting the perpetrators would be punished on Judgment Day.
Tehran Times. Added 10/29/01. An article from the Political Desk of the Tehran Times (10/22/01) suggests that the September 11 attacks were "impossible without help of U.S. groups." It quotes Abbas Maleki, director of the Caspian Sea Studies Office, who believes that the attacks would have been impossible unless some people in the U.S. had cooperated "or even masterminded" the incidents, and that they would have been impossible without the cooperation of "some elements inside the security forces of the United States." However, the article also quotes Majlis Deputy Ellahe Koolaee, who said that so far no one has presented any acceptable and clear evidence that "internal extremists may have masterminded the attacks." Koolaee stated that regardless of who carried the attacks out, they signify the spread of terrorism throughout the world and also show that some people, whether U.S. citizens or of other nationalities, are dissatisfied with the United States and its foreign policy.
American Muslim Council. Added 10/29/01. According to a press release issued on October 19, the AMC sent a letter to members of Congress expressing concerns over civil liberties threatened by anti-terrorism bills under consideration by Congress. According to the letter, defining domestic terrorism "with such broad strokes" as proposed legislation purportedly does, "will, in essence, eradicate the very freedoms that national security is to protect." The letter urges Congressmen and Congresswomen to "include only a narrowly tailored definition of terrorism which does not inadvertently include domestic acts of civil disobedience or other non-violent activity." In addition, measures pertaining to immigration should include standard legal procedures and judiciary review of the certification and deportation process, and should not include indefinite detention. In addition to the AMC, a number of other religious organizations signed the letter, including American Baptist Churches USA, American Friends Service Committee, Church Women United, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Islamic Society of North America, Mennonite Central Committee US, Muslim Students Association of the US and Canada, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, Presbyterian Church (USA), Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, and the United Church of Christ-Justice and Witness Ministries.