9/11 and the need to reconsider fanatic culture [Archives:2003/667/Opinion]

September 11 2003

Mohammed Hatem al-Qadhi
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Tow years have passed since the horrible and catastrophic event that all American and people all over the world will never forget, the terrorist attacks of the 9/ 11, 200!. It is an indescribable and real infamy. It is disgusting and awful. The consequences of the terrorist attacks will, of course, continue to affect the world as terrorism is not now restricted to a particular country; rather it is targeting and jeopardizing the world at large. It is a very expensive bill all of us will have to pay. It is very demanding.
This event has put the international relationship, mainly the relationship of Arab and Muslim countries with the world in a fix. The attacks have shown how much Muslim and Arab countries are suffering from the consequences of the culture of extremism , violence, and hatred that many factors nurtured throughout decades till it came out with that black infamy.
In other words, I believe that one of the drives of terrorism is the oppression, tyranny and lack of democracy in the Arab and Muslim countries. The political regimes in the Arab and Islamic world have been ruling their countries for decades with an iron fist. They have opened mass graves for their political opponents and left no room for freedom of speech and expression. Yet, they allowed clerics to spread their ideas of extremism and fanaticism as along as they support their being in power. This coalition between the political regimes and religious institutions have created dictators who derive their power and rule from this religious institution that has puritanical tendency.
They have controlled with their cronies everything and channeled the revenues of their nations into their own pockets. The latest UN Human Development Report about Arab countries shows how they are lagging behind and backward in everything. We are amongst the poorest countries of the world. Half of the population are living under the poverty line while 12 million kids are out of school, loafing in streets.
To drive the people away from their own interests and concern of developing their countries, these political regimes have created enemies for their people even if they are in the cloud. They have pushed them to believe that we have the Kufar as our enemies and these Kufar or infidels are working day and night to destroy Islam and Muslims and that we should work very hard to face them. These views have made people believe that we are at enmity and hostility with Europeans and Americans and non-Muslims in general. Our education curricula and mosques preaching and sermons, which are very effective, have pushed forward such beliefs. Mosque preachers are keep on mobilizing such hostile sentiments. Therefore, some people under such sort of numb are ready to kill and carry out violent acts. Instead of draining their energy off in thinking about the way to develop their countries, they use it in violent acts either to kill the Kufar or even people who disagree with their ideas under the pretext of defending Islam. It is the responsibility of such dictators who produced nothing but frustration everywhere.
All these elements have encouraged the creation of terrorists who believe in violence as a sole means for changing the world. In other words, terrorists are a creation of the political regimes that should be held accountable for this even if they did not mean it but their acts have brought up this sort of people.
There is an urgent need that we review and change our school curricula and this culture of extremism and encourage the culture of democracy, tolerance and acceptance of others. People should grow up and be educated to accept the ideas of other people and believe that there must be a free room for all ideas to be argued and debated. There is a need to uproot the one way-track of thinking which we have grown up to respect and worship. A cleric is not a God; he is just a human being who can err and therefore, his ideas should not be taken for granted as something holy and infallible.
We need democratic regimes that come to power through fair and honest election only which can make use of the resources of their people in improving their living standards only. It is only such regimes that can bring about democracy into all aspects of life in our societies.
Besides, the US has to encourage the growth of such democratic values in these societies. It should always stand by the rights of the ordinary simple man if it really wants to improve its image in the Arab and Islamic world. It should push for more democracy and freedom.