Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Explanation for 9/11

Virtually no one – on the left or on the right - has figured out the reason Islamic terrorists savagely attacked America on 9/11. Most attempts at explanation are fantasies pulled out of thin air, or projections of motives that seem plausible from Western sensibilities, or just crude reworking of bin Laden’s propaganda. We are told that bin Laden wanted to get us to leave Saudi Arabia, trap us into a fight in Iraq, rally Muslims in a fight with civilization, or destroy our economy. Almost all of these explanations are utilitarian in nature. The attacks are seen as instrumental in an attempt to achieve some tangible goal.

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.


Blogger James G. said...

Hi Jason,
I do believe that a proportion of people in the US (maybe not the people labelled "Left" and "Right") do understand the religious nature of the attacks. Those people living in the red states, I would argue, have a much clearer idea of the changes wrought by religion in people's lives and the sometimes unreasonable or illogical things that people do out of faith.

I believe this may account for the psychological divide over the whys and wherefores of 9/11. Here in the UK and Europe, religion has been dead for quite a while. No one knows the lengths that religious people will go to to project their faith (for better or worse). They have no yardstick by which to measure religious beliefs.

I would argue that those who live in the primarily red states, where there is more of a faith-based society, have a visceral reaction to the religious implications of 9/11.

As one wag once put it, Palestinian suicide bombers aren't exactly killing themselves to achieve a two-state solution. And the only thing that will make someone want to do something like that is the promise of paradise and 72 virgins. No matter how illogical it may seem.

5/25/05, 3:16 AM  
Blogger loboinok said...

Great job! We should learn about this religion.

5/25/05, 10:15 AM  
Blogger beakerkin said...


In order to understand Bin Ladden one must understand his history. He was not a major fighter fighter
in the Afghan Mujahadeen. The first victim in the series of attack was Shah Massoud. Bin Ladden was mostly a minor fundraiser.

He read the victory and collapse of the Soviet Union as a message from Allah. His Goal was then to take on the remaining superpower.
He forgot that the stinger missile
was the key to victory.

I also read the secular Islam site
and it contains valuable information. Pay attention to the part about the conflict with Hinduism and Bhudhism as they tend to be ignored

5/25/05, 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I consider Islam a theocracy, which means that the its religious and political goals are one in the same. It works because of the vast ignorance among those who profess the faith, and it works because those who profess may not ever question it. A self-fulfilling prophesy if ever there was one.

I am not trying to be mean to millions of people, I'm simply expressing a fact, since there is no other way to explain how people can blow themselves up in the name of "Allah," and never once asking their commander, "Um ... when is it your turn?"

The danger is that in the sense of America's war on terror, it is by definition a war on Islam. That's the way most Muslims see it, and even in the fact of our government's denails, that's the way I see it too. Besides, even if we choose not to believe that we are engaged in a holy war, we are even if only THEY believe it.

Jason -- You do an outstanding job in the blogosphere. Are you sure you weren't a Marine?

5/25/05, 8:32 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

I think James has a point about how I may be overlooking the understanding of the people in the Red states. I think there’s much to say for that. What bothers me is that there is no intellectual leadership on the left or the right who can command media share and speak about the Islamic threat. However, people – individuals – are learning one by one. People are buying books, talking to friends and blogging. We are all doing our share.

Beak is right; bin Laden personally isn’t that impressive. He is a figurehead, he funds, and he organizes but the movement, the talent, and the willing killers where there. The movement will continue with or without bin Laden – it is ideologically driven. A few days ago I saw Bush say it was an ideologically driven movement (I wish I had a link to that quote). I almost fell out of my seat. Now, we may have to read his statements in code.

Mustang is right; Muslims see this as a Holy War and therefore it is. It doesn’t matter if you or I fight because of a religious conviction or not, Jihadists want us dead anyway. I have yet to see a jihadist ask anyone their religion and suggest that they convert. As a matter of fact, they say fighting the jihad is even more important than individual Muslim lives including the woman and children they kill. Those will be “martyrs” (in the Islamic sense) and rewarded in heaven.

In any case, here’s the best compliment I’ve received in a long time: “Are you sure you weren't a Marine?”

5/25/05, 8:56 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Islam is the antithesis of Western civilization.

5/25/05, 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think you are going to find too many political leaders standing up and speaking plainly; first, it isn't politically correct, and second, politicians by definition are without spines.

Don at Enlightened Reactionary said the other day that if we do not begin taking a firm stand on this issue, it is entirely possible that our cities will begin looking a lot like Beruit. The problem is that when we stand up against jihadism (which I believe is simplel Islam), then WE the people are violating THEIR religious rights.

It would be great if Congress would pass a resolution that announces a "no tolerance" policy with any form of violence related to religion; it would at least send a clear message to jihadists that we are not fooled by the activities of CAIR.

I fell out of my chair when I learned that school teachers are brain-washing our kids to the effect that our society is based on Judeo-Christian-Muslim principles. My Ass . . .

5/25/05, 10:13 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I agree with every statement in your above comment! How refreshing to read the plain truth!

Judeo-Christian-MUSLIM principles is an impossible concept.

It will take another huge attack--probably of a nuclear nature--to get any politicians to begin to admit the truth about islam.

5/25/05, 11:33 PM  
Blogger Glen said...

Unbelievable, you told the truth about this so called peaceful religion. That takes a lot of courage. Surprised your not banned.

5/28/05, 1:49 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Have a look at this one.

It begins
"U-M study shows devotion to Islam is not linked to terror
ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Islam is not to blame for suicide bombings, a University of Michigan study shows.
Personal devotion to Islam is unrelated to support for suicide bombing among Palestinian Muslims, according to the study, which will be presented May 27 at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society in Los Angeles. But the more often Muslims attended mosques, the more likely they were to support suicide terrorism. The frequency of suicide terrorism is growing exponentially, motivated by a fusion of religious and political goals," said Jeremy Ginges, a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR)...."

You'll love the logic fallacies in this report. Looks as if U-M is now a madrassah.

5/28/05, 11:27 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

This article that “Always On Watch” found, shows the silliness of most academic studies. If these sociologists were around 100 years ago and did a study of racism in Mississippi, this is what they would have written:

“Personal hatred of blacks is unrelated to lynching, according to our study. But the frequency of attending Klan meetings increases support.

Despite the appearance of a link between racism and lynching, our analysis shows that hatred in and of itself is not a predictor of lynching. Most who harbor hatred for blacks don’t support lynching. It’s only a few who’ve hijacked racism that engage in lynching.

Leadership of certain racist groups, i.e. the Klan, recruits those for lynching but most who attend Klan meetings still don’t lynch. While racism and hatred aren’t good predictors, wearing white robes increases the likelihood of lynching significantly. Indeed, wearing white robes is the greatest cause of lynching according to our study.“

Anyone who talks like that would be dismissed outright and not given tenure or quoted in newspapers ... I would hope.

5/29/05, 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mohammedanism is about one fifth religion and four fifths politics.
As the belief system intertwines politics, religion and culture, it has been hard to combat its infiltration into our society due to multiculturalism and political correctness. It is also the only religion I know that makes lying (taqiyyah), stealing, rape and murder sacred.

Because they do not believe in reason but function from absolute faith, we can't reason with them. Also they have a logic that is at odds with our western logical systems but is coherent in their closed koranic, allah/mohammedan world. We must learn all we can about these people. Read their koran (one of the most racist books ever, right up there with mein kampf) the hadiths of bukhari and muslim and the biography of mohammed by ibn ishaq. Study their laws, the sharia, read Why I'm Not A Muslim by Ibn Warraq, read Ali Sina's website (a mohammedan apostate dedicated to exposing this belief system) and all of Robert Spencer's books.

5/29/05, 2:59 PM  

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