9/11: The day that changed our world

Nine years after the attack on September 11 Muslims continue to be viewed as the enemy. But the fact is that religion has been hijacked by both groups for their political ends.

Ayesha Hoda September 08, 2010
“The real hell of life is that everyone has his reasons.”   - Jean Renoir

Like many others, I remember September 11, 2001 quite vividly -the day the world changed.

It was an ordinary day like any other while we were blissfully unaware of what was about to happen. Flipping through the channels in the evening, I saw a woman crying on CNN in a way that made me pause and concentrate. Then I watched the unbelievable, seemingly unreal, video footage of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. Back then, I did not know much about the United States of America (except for what I heard from my relatives living there) and I understood nothing about the political significance of such an event. I just knew that an extremely shocking incident had taken place and innocent people had been killed. It was hard to believe that any human being could do such a thing on purpose.

The tragic event, amongst other things, sparked a lot of debate. In the last 9 years, there have been many debates on the subject: Who was responsible? Why did this happen? What does this mean for the future of the world? Is the War on Terror justified?

9/11 has become the subject of books, articles, talk shows, interviews, films, blog posts.

I remember initially engaging in numerous debates on international websites, defending Islam, telling people that true Muslims are not terrorists and all Muslims are not fundamentalists. I remember arguing with some people in Karachi who failed to recognize the inhumanity behind the act. But during these debates and while researching on the subject, I realized that religion was simply being used for political ends. Given the way events have unfolded since then, and the increase in terrorist activities, I wonder why many people still fail to see this.

The terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks had a political agenda and with the US response to the attacks, they succeeded.  The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and other incidents of terrorism in the rest of the world, carried out in the name of Islam, not only hurt innocent non-Muslims but also innocent Muslims, who have continued to suffer.

The entire issue is political. It has really nothing to do with any religion. But there seems to be no end to the exploitation of the issue; evoking religious sentiments for political purposes. For instance, nowadays there is an intense debate going on regarding the building of a mosque at Ground Zero. While I may not agree with everything in the article, I completely agree with author and blogger Peter Clothier when he says:
It became an issue only once it was recognized for its political potential — when those who stood to gain politically from its exploitation seized upon it and inflated it beyond all reason.

Meanwhile, a pastor in Florida plans to memorialize the Sept. 11 attacks with a bonfire of Holy Qurans. This has really nothing to do with Christianity. These are neither the first nor the last problems to arise after 9/11. Terrorists and extremists have their own selfish interests (political and economic gains) at heart. They do not belong to any religion or community.

People in general, be they Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Americans or Pakistanis need to realize that. Otherwise they will continue to debate over smaller issues, make fun of each other’s religion and fail to put an end to the real problem, that is, terrorism.
WRITTEN BY:
Ayesha Hoda A PR professional based in Karachi. She writes on literature and social issues.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (22)

Ayesha Hoda | 10 years ago | Reply @ Ashutosh, my response was to your point: "All Muslims may not be terrorists but almost all terrorists are Muslims"... that can be refuted as easily as by searching for terrorist organizations on Wikipedia. There are many terrorists all over the world and not all of them are (so-called) Muslims. @ Arif, I am not sure if that was a conspiracy but media is often biased and does have a very strong role to play in shaping perceptions; determining what issue should be given more importance. @ Parvez, I agree. Some authors have looked at the US reaction in their books. But I guess there has been relatively less focus on it in mainstream media, as far as I know.
Parvez | 10 years ago | Reply I just read your article. In most articles on 9/11 the focus is on the incident and the terrorist/religious/political/social fall out from this. Not may have discussed in depth the U.S's (Bush/Cheney) reaction to 9/11. How swift, almost a knee-jerk reaction that has actually changed the world. If this reaction had been more restrained, had been given more thought, things would have been different.
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