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 A Letter to American Scholars and Intellectuals-Part -2

The Events of September 11 and their Implications

It is completely unreasonable to turn the tragic events of September 11 into a means of categorizing our world`s ideologies, civilizations, and societies. Those attacks were unwelcome to many people in the Muslim world due to the values and moral teachings of Islam that they violated.

At the same time, we find strange the hasty conclusions made about the motivations of the attackers, restricting them to an attack on American society and its universal human values. Without going into a lengthy argument about the matter, we see it as our right and the right of all impartial thinkers, as well as the right of all Americans, to inquire as to why the attackers did not choose some other country that adheres to the same Western values? Why did they not turn their attention to other nations and societies in Asia and Africa that subscribe to idolatrous

It is unreasonable to assume that those who attacked the United States on September 11 did not feel in some way justified for what they did because of the decisions made by the United States in numerous places throughout the world. We by no means hold the view that they were justified in striking civilian targets, but it is necessary to recognize that some sort of causative relationship exists between American policy and what happened.

From another angle, if we were to assume that the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks against the United States were the work of some special faction from within Europe, China, or Japan, or even a religious faction of the Jews, would America`s decision then have been to subject them and their nations to the type of aggression that they are now confronting the Muslims with? This policy only supplies more evidence to the alleged perpetrators and their sympathizers for their claim that America is oppressing and aggressing against the Muslim world.

The events of September 11 should be an impetus for establishing a new assemblage of international institutions to establish justice and secure people`s rights. They are needed to supplant institutions like the United Nations General Assembly and the UN Security Council that were established after the two World Wars to defuse the war between imperious nations. Those institutions failed to realize justice and security for the weaker peoples or protect their countries. Institutions are needed that will not act merely as a theatre for extending the reach of the great powers. How many peoples have become wretched and had their resources stripped away from them by force for the benefit those overbearing powers.

Likewise, those events should make us turn our attention to the fact that exaggerated strength, no matter how many ways it might manifest itself, is never a sufficient guarantee of security. A small group, if they have the will, can cause massive harm and injury to their opponents, no matter how strong those opponents might be.

We have learned from history that power is not the only way to guarantee security, since the types of guarantees that come with sheer power carry with them the seeds of failure and collapse and are always accompanied by resentment and discontent from one side and arrogance from the other. But when those guarantees are built upon justice, then the possibility of their success is far greater.

If the Americans view what happened on September 11 as a turning point for them in how they define their relationship with the Muslims generally, not merely with the group of people that actually carried it out, then can we be blamed when we see that the presence of the Jewish state of Israel on Palestinian land and the control they hold over it through the support of the major powers was and still is a decisive factor in defining and shaping our relationship with the West, as well as with its values and institutions?

Our Position on America

We can easily see today that the Eastern block - Japan and China - seems more alien to the understanding of the Islamic World than does the West. There are many more bridges connecting the Islamic World to the West than there are connecting it to the East. There likewise exist mutually beneficial relationships and common interests between the Muslim world and the West. It should be assumed that the West perceives it in their best interests for there to be balance and stability in the Muslim World and that it knows that the Muslim lands have provided much for them, especially economically. The West is the primary beneficiary of Muslim economic strength.

In spite of this, every individual in the Muslim World perceives that China and Japan have not caused the Muslim World any clear problem, nor have they done anything detrimental to its concerns, countries, and societies. The average Muslim perceives Easterners to be more just, balanced, and more clement than the West. This feeling has been instilled in the minds of the individual members of Muslim society by the West itself.

If the United States sought to withdraw from the world outside its borders and removed its hand from inflammatory issues, then the Muslims would not be bothered whether or not it is a progressive, democratic, or secular nation.

The disagreement between us and American society is not about values of justice or the choice of freedoms. Values, as we see it, are of two types. First there are those basic human values shared by all people, values that are in harmony with the innate nature of the human being and that our religion calls us to. Then there are those values that are particular to a given society. That society chooses those values and gives preference to them. We do not wish to compel that society to abandon them since our religion teaches us that there is no compulsion in religion.

It goes without saying that a number of those values are social preferences that are drawn from their given environment.

Likewise, we do not accept that others can force us to change our values or deny us the right to live by them. We see it as our right - and the right of every people - to make clear to others what we believe in order to foster better understanding between the people of the Earth, bring about the realization of world peace, and create opportunities for those who are searching for the truth.

The United States, in spite of its efforts in establishing the United Nations with its Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other similar institutions, is among the most antagonistic nations to the objectives of these institutions and to the values of justice and truth. This is clearly visible in America`s stance on the Palestinian issue and its unwavering support for the Zionist occupation of Palestinian land and its justification of all the Zionist practices that run contrary to the resolutions passed by the United Nations. It is clearly visible in how America provides Israel with the most advanced weapons that they turn against women, children, and old men, and with which they topple down people`s homes. At the same time, we see the Bush administration mobilizing its military strength and preparing for war against other countries like Iraq, justifying its actions with the claim that these countries are perpetrating human rights abuses and behaving aggressively towards their neighbors.