The Explanation for 9/11
I’ve argued otherwise. The 9/11 atrocity was a purely religious act. By that I mean it was undertaken to reaffirm and celebrate the faith – Islam. Both the left and right just can’t face this fact. I’ve written about the denial of the Islamic threat by both camps. Here’s what I said in one of the articles:
To this day, the Islamic attack of 9/11 is not understood. This was first and foremost a religious act. That is hard for Americans to fathom given the religions they know. Islam, however, is very different. Islam is a warrior religion at its core. It is an imperialistic religion bent on world domination and, at the height of Islamic power, conquered most of the known world. … During the last few centuries, Islam was often mechanically practiced and only lip-service given to its warrior triumphalism. … It didn’t seem possible to regain the glory of Islam when it ruled what seemed like the world and reduced the infidels to constant humiliation as second class citizens called dhimmis. The Islamic attack of 9/11 was a reaffirmation of the Jihadist spirit – it was indeed a religious act meant to galvanize the believers and recruit men for the Jihad. And in accord to Islamic practice, a reaffirmation of Islamic superiority involves the humiliation of the dhimmis.Recently Daniel Pipes and Mark Steyn discuss the possible aims of attacking America on 9/11 from an instrumentalist perspective and declare bin Laden a failure. There is no greater authority on the Islamic Revival, in the last 30 years, than Daniel Pipes. However, that doesn’t stop me from arguing that he doesn’t go far enough in understanding the religious basis of 9/11. I write on his blog:
I think you underestimate the re-affirmation aspect of jihadist violence. It galvanizes the faithful in what can only be categorized as a religious re-affirmational act. Yes, there is an accompanying fantasy but the very act itself is more than a momentary indulgence of that fantasy. Religions acts often seem like irrational indulgences or bizarre rituals to the outsiders. We, in the West, have an overemphasis on the utilitarian or instrumental value that is all too common for the modern rationalist.Prof. Irfan Khawaja, a son of Pakistani immigrants, was raised as a Muslim and as a devout child memorized the Koran. He says that I didn’t go far enough!
Jason--I think you're right, but I would go further: I don't think the resort to fantasy is a merely "momentary indulgence." When jihadists destroy an important symbol like the WTC, it functions to re-affirm their sense that God is on their side; how else, on their terms, could such a spectacular success have been possible? Such successes dovetail very well with Quranic pronouncements about God's destruction of the wicked, whether via human violence or through "direct divine action" (e.g., God's dealings with the Pharoah, the cities of 'Ad and Thamoud described in the Quran, etc.).Today, Prof. Khawaja heads the Institute for The Secularisation of Islamic Society taking over the position previously held by Ibn Warraq.
I’ll say it again: people, we have to learn about this religion if we want to understand our enemy. Don’t settle for some feel-good explanation that justifies your political ideology. Learn about Islam. Here are some references.