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For All Those of Us Asking Why
September 16, 2001 3:35 AM   Subscribe

For All Those of Us Asking Why A Muslim activist presents "My explanation to the 'Attack' on the US from the Islamic perspective." Note the inverted commas around "Attack" and proceed to his contention that "It is not who did it! It is why it was done that really matters." Then take an industrial dose of anti-emetics and explore the "Jihad" section - including interviews with Osama Bin Laden under the "Heroes of Islam" menu - of the whole "IamMuslim.net" site. This is what we're all up against. Well, almost all of us, anyway.
posted by MiguelCardoso (36 comments total)

 
WARNING: don't look at the page unless you have a strong stomach. There are photos on there of the sort that you see on rotten.com -- if you have to ask, don't go.

Miguel, next time you post a link to something like that, please include a warning for everyone's sake.
posted by lia at 3:45 AM on September 16, 2001


This is what we're all up against.

By "this," you mean "people who post inflammatory, misrepresentative articles by fringe cranks"?

Well, almost all of us, anyway.

I don't even want to know where you're going with that.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:46 AM on September 16, 2001


I think it is our duty to protect mainstream Muslims and the religion of Islam from the excesses of those who invoke their noble religion. We would do just the same with extremists in our midst. Timothy McVeigh considered himself a good Christian and I don't even want to go into the Crusades or the Inquisition.
And, by the way, donkeyschlong, I don't know if you noticed that fringe cranks recently killed thousands of people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
We must face up to what we're up against.
Those who died deserve at least this. And animosity within MeFi is just another useless deflection of where our anger and intelligence should be directed towards.

Thanks, Lia - I reiterate the warning. (Meanwhile, Fox News has reported over 400 unidentifiable body parts have been found in the WTC rubble. When things are this terrible we must not shy away, no matter how much it shocks us!)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:58 AM on September 16, 2001


Who,what, why, where, when--this is perhaps what we ask not either Who did it or Why it was done.
I have read enough into Muslim materials to know that suicide is prohibited but that under certain conditions such things are ok --and strking out at a perceived enemy of Islam and dying in the "cause" gets a quick pass into heaven. And that is being taught to the children in schoo s run under the Palestinian Authorty. I have seen the materials used.
If Islam forbids suicide, why so many that were and are suicide bombers? If suicide terrorists do not bomb religious places, what matters if they kid young kids in pizza parlors? I remember Hamlet not want to kill his step father when the father was praying lest he go to heaven.
As for pictures of this sort: one pictures often needs a thousand words to give context and explanation.
The letter writer might think of an alternative: urging both Israelis and Arabs to make peace at long last.
We did not accept McVeigh's "justification" for his mass murder; why should we this one?
posted by Postroad at 3:59 AM on September 16, 2001


i noticed how one of the quotes from the Quran was wrong, so i dont know about the rest either:

"Who so ever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and who so ever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind," (Al-Ma'dah:32)."

this is the correct one.
posted by incubus at 4:03 AM on September 16, 2001


Spent uranium shells are nuclear weapons similiar to those used in Japan? Sorry, you need fission for that. Spent uranium may be a low level radioactive substance but it sure isn't a nuke.
posted by skallas at 4:19 AM on September 16, 2001


Michael, you know you don't have a leg to stand on when in one post, you justify yourself by saying "those who died deserve at least this" and your desire to "protect mainstream Muslims."

It's pretty obvious you have a clear agenda when posting this link, which is not inherently a problem... but when you couch it in language as to amplify a fringe element more than it deserves, you end up crudely distorting the debate.

Further justifying your troll by using the victims of a tragedy as your excuse is even worse.
posted by chaz at 4:34 AM on September 16, 2001


Thanks, Incubus. But even with the correct quote from the Quran don't you think that the proviso "for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth" allows fanatics a too wide interpretation of what constitutes "corruption on earth", i.e., the U.S., the capitalist "Great Satan"?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:39 AM on September 16, 2001


Another thing about that site you linked, which is supposedly the writings of "Osama Abdallah":

Registrant:
Sam Solomon (ANSWERING-CHRISTIANITY2-DOM)
4722 E Bell Road Suite 3083
Phoenix, AZ 85032
US

Domain Name: ANSWERING-CHRISTIANITY.COM

Administrative Contact:
Solomon, Sam (SS15345) plstine1@HOTMAIL.COM
Sam Solomon
4722 E Bell Road Suite 3083
Phoenix , AZ 85032
602-971-XXXX
Technical Contact:
ValueWeb (HOS237-ORG) hostmaster@VALUEWEB.NET
ValueWeb
3250 West Commercial Blvd. #200
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309
US
954-334-8000
Fax- - - - 954-334-8001
Billing Contact:
Invoice Processing System (IPS2-ORG) invoice@VALUEWEB.NET
ValueWeb
3250 West Commercial Blvd #200
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309
US
800-522-1093
Fax- 800-522-8001
posted by chaz at 4:40 AM on September 16, 2001


And, by the way, donkeyschlong, I don't know if you noticed that fringe cranks recently killed thousands of people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Miguel: Fringe, yes (to a certain extent), but hardly "cranks" -- that implies insanity, which is both incorrect and lets them off the hook somewhat. They were perfectly sane, which makes their actions abhorrent, but also makes the events which make sane people do horrible things equally abhorrent. Sane people don't decide to kill thousands upon thousands for absolutely no reason at all.

We must face up to what we're up against.

Which is?

Those who died deserve at least this. And animosity within MeFi is just another useless deflection of where our anger and intelligence should be directed towards.

And what should we do -- just nod blindly and pretend to agree with one another because something terrible happened? Also, animosity on MeFi (or anywhere else on the web, for that matter) is hardly a new thing; there are many things you can rightly blame the terrorists for, but not that.
posted by lia at 4:49 AM on September 16, 2001


Charles,
Are you saying this is bogus? What are you running away from? I got this link, as I mentioned in my first post, from Iammuslim.net, which I invite you to peruse at will.
Obfuscations and deflections such as yours are counter-productive.
Why not tell us what you think? You seem to think all Muslims are the same, in which case all are responsible. They are not. Tiny radical minorities exist. They exist, murderously, in all religions.
But this massacre is of a scale, perhaps, to warrant your attention. Are you denying what happened? Are you saying it had nothing to do with an Islamic justification? Do you honestly think there are no Muslims who agree with what the diatribe's author wrote?
Address them, man, and stop skirting around the issue, looking for agendas and hidden motives.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:55 AM on September 16, 2001


"Some Teachings of the Talmud: ...Hagigah 27a . States that no rabbi can ever go to hell. "

Kind of strange to see so many references to "Hell" in the Talmud on this site. Considering the Jews don't believe in "Hell", in the Roman Catholic sense... It's never mentioned in the Old Testament (before you Bible scholars start breaking out your English Bibles, the Hebrew word "Sheol", meaning "The Grave", was used.)

I can't help but think that this isn't just more propaganda. It seems to also be a popular trend to trun this around on Israel as we're now out for blood.

The pictures are sad & tragic... I can only hope when this is over, World Leaders will be willing to sit down and finally work out a reasonable agreement. It's painfully obvious that the people of the world want peace...now.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 5:05 AM on September 16, 2001


Lia:
I'm sorry but this sort of avoidance is precisely what keeps us from facing an honest discussion. Of course is only human. I sometimes find myself taking refuge in the idea that these murders had to be truly insane - and your comments helped me get back to reality.
We all look for comfort wherever we can find it. Sounding off here at MeFi helps a lot, just as "nodding in agreement" obviously wouldn't.
It's just I wish we focussed on the highly uncomfortable fact that people in the world disagree violently and insolubly - but that those who maim and murder because of those differences of faith or opinion are truly against the whole lot of humanity.
I stand corrected on the animosity, though. It's essential. It's the red herrings and the smokescreens and the internet waffle I can't stand...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:06 AM on September 16, 2001


It would seem to me that dismissing this information as the work of a crank is ignorant. The message seems to be 'treat others as you would they treated you', there is room for peace. See this thread for a background to the situation in the middle east.

Noble Verse 41:34 "Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel (evil) with that is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!."

The article offers some very valid arguments regarding the human cost of the policies made by governments.

The pictures are in context - babies born deformed due to the radio-active remnants of american shells which explode with a force *like* that of the bombs used against the civilian population of japan during the second world war.
Remember the american government also denies the existence of 'gulf war syndrome' which affects a large number of servicemen. If they don't care about there own, and are unwilling to apologise for past atrocities what does that make them?

Poastroad may not accept the McVeigh's justification for his actions, but at least attempt to understand them. The disenfranchisement of the american 'poor' is obviously an emotive issue for them!

It is interesting that the right-wing white power organisations have a lot of common opinions with the islamic extremists. There are issues to address at home for the americans.

Finally, as has been re-iterated time and again over the past week - understanding is the key.
posted by asok at 5:21 AM on September 16, 2001


First of all, these pictures have brought back memories that I wanted to forget and was almost successful in doing so. I used to live in Kuwait during the Gulf War. In order to flee, I had to travel through Iraq into Jordan and then flew back home.

Secondly, Human loss is every one's loss. Keeping a cool head is every one's gain. It is important that Americans, yes including Muslim-Americans as I am, we should stay united.

I live in Texas where attacks on Muslims have been more in number than any where else in the states. CNN showed common characteristics of those hijackers. Clean Shaved and Western Looks.

I fit the image. I am afraid to go out.

God Bless Us All
posted by adnanbwp at 7:49 AM on September 16, 2001


It is interesting that the right-wing white power organisations have a lot of common opinions with the islamic extremists. There are issues to address at home for the americans.

There are no "issues" to be adressed with people who kill innocent human beings. There are problems and disputes to be resolved with peaceful people of the world, not creators of terror.

The only issue to be resolved with terrorists is whether the bullet goes in their head or their chests.
posted by owillis at 8:11 AM on September 16, 2001


my opinion why.... because people play the "my God is bigger, better, more powerful, more loving, (whatever) , than your God" game.... and then they have to prove it.
posted by redhead at 8:15 AM on September 16, 2001


Another thing about that site you linked, which is supposedly the writings of "Osama Abdallah":

It is very common for converts to Islam to take Arabic names. My guess is that Sam Solomon is his given name, and he has not had it legally changed.

Poastroad may not accept the McVeigh's justification for his actions, but at least attempt to understand them. The disenfranchisement of the american 'poor' is obviously an emotive issue for them!

Disenfranchisement of the american poor was not McVeigh's cause, a fact that makes the whole statement rather ironic.

It is interesting that the right-wing white power organisations have a lot of common opinions with the islamic extremists. There are issues to address at home for the americans.

True, but we will always be able to deal with those. We have been handed a perfect opportunity to deal with the islamic extremists now, and we would be fools to pass it up. I do not think these two issues are an either/or proposition.
posted by boaz at 8:22 AM on September 16, 2001


i'm in no way justifying what happened... but i do have to wonder at this point, why the usa has been spending so much time talking about who did this, and what they'll do to them when they find them... but no time talking about why someone might possibly want to bomb america. i mean, it was horrific, but the second i saw it happening, i thought "wow. someone actually had the guts do do it." (that doesn't mean that i support it, but think of how many small countries have been fucked by the states for years, that's got to lead to some hard feelings) be honest, america is no saint.. and to think "why would anyone want to bomb us?" is pretty naive in my opinion. and that whole "brightest beacon of freedom" seems to me to just illustrate a part of the same attitude that would make someone feel contempt.
posted by paultron at 9:04 AM on September 16, 2001


paultron: I don't think any of the "bright beacon of freedom" kinda talk had anything to do with this, nor did our actions in the past. No one here was from Vietnam, or Yugoslavia (whose people overthrew their leader afterward - no small fact) or Iraq. No one was from Chile of the 1970s, etc. None of that helps us to understand this, really, I don't think. Think "American History X," put a Middle Eastern face on the Edward Norton character before his rehabilitation, and you have pretty much the same thing.

Of course we should show more restraint worldwide, of course the extent of jingoism some people bask in is deplorable, of course we should understand people's impressions of America, etc., but with the exception of the jingoism and bomb-back-to-the-stone-age crap (the administration has totally steered away from that, to its credit) none of that has much to do with the immediate situation. All you have to understand is the human tendency towards extreme hate and scapegoating. It's within us all.
posted by raysmj at 9:19 AM on September 16, 2001


"why the usa has been spending so much time talking about who did this, and what they'll do to them when they find them... but no time talking about why someone might possibly want to bomb america. "

The night of the bombing, I had to sit down and explain to my terrified kids the whole story of the Middle East (As they wondered why Palestinans were dancing in the streets at the catastrophe).

They were kids. There was no way they could have known.

We all grew up through the hostage crisis, the six-day war, back when Yassir Arafat was a more hated and feared terrorist than this new bozo.

I don't buy the theory that we (Americans) don't know why there's such animosity toward us in the Middle East... everyone I know understands....

Now Al-Quesda needs to understand why taking planes and smashing them into structures is a "no-no" in Western Society.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 9:51 AM on September 16, 2001


paultron, when Falwell et al have blamed gays and "abortionists" for the bombings (and have all but called for their imprisonment or death in the past), should gays and "abortionists" look deep within their souls and search for the moral taint that led others to hate them?

When the KKK lynched black Americans and the southern Citizens Council terrorized blacks in the south, should American blacks have carefully cataloged their sins to explain why whites were so angry at them? Should they have publicly pledged to be better people and hope that terrorists would spare them?
posted by argybarg at 10:00 AM on September 16, 2001


All you have to understand is the human tendency towards extreme hate and scapegoating.

Lazy view. Ignorance breeds misunderstanding which breeds violence.

Understanding is absolutely the key. One can't know the enemy until one understands its mindset. Which makes the article valuable for at least that.

As I read his words, the author strikes me as someone who has carefully researched and read (if not always fairly interpreted) his sources, and, interestingly, echoes (if you look at the bigger picture the article makes) many of the sentiments perfectly rational, thinking Westerners on this board have shared: that there were justifications in the terrorists minds for their actions - that this was retaliation for perceived past ills, not an "attack on our freedom" - and that in spite of these "justifications," the taking of innocent lives is still wrong.

To some extent the comparison among McVeigh, the terrorists of Tuesday and plain old hateful/vengeful people holds water, but the comparison ends at hatefulness, and there's so much more to examine, and with a fine tooth comb at that. It would be a huge mistake not to do so, for the obvious reason that doing so helps us decrease the chances of making grave errors in our response to the tragedy, something sure to occur if we fail to truly KNOW THE ENEMY.

Duh. Or rather Duhbyah. (Someone make him read Mefi. Or someone read it to him.)
posted by mirla at 10:15 AM on September 16, 2001


Argybarg, the LGBT, pro-choice and African American communities did not shoot, burn, and rape civilians in Vietnam, bomb Sudanese pharmacies, nor visit mass destruction on the innocent in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

(Et cetera and so forth.)

The taking of any innocent life is reprehensible, and all of the repulsive arguments for "casualties of war" can be made by the terrorists on the Tuesday victims, so I urge us not to make them here.
posted by mirla at 10:23 AM on September 16, 2001


This is propaganda. I don't believe this forum is about posting opinions at the main level especially when they belong to somebody else.
Let this Osama Abdalah character get his own account and post some solid links. Link to the evidence - MeFi'ers can make up their own minds and put things in context. Linking to somebody else's amateur analysis is really lame miguelcardoso.
posted by username at 10:32 AM on September 16, 2001


mirla: We already know this. Bin Laden condemns the United States for the sanctions against Iraq, which he says have killed or seriously harmed millions of people. On the other hand, he wants the U.S. totally out of the region, to stop trade, to restore the lands of Islam to a romanticized, pure Medieval-like state. In other words, it's one justification for violence after another, and, yes, it all comes down to hate and scapegoating in the end. McVeigh also has his own justification, which involved U.S. military actions, the same as here. (Once again, none of the bombers were from Vietnam. What the hell does that have to do with this?)
posted by raysmj at 10:44 AM on September 16, 2001


mirla: Yours is an argument of degree, not of kind. The principle remains the same. Searching America's troubled psyche for its own sources of guilt may be a good idea but is a profoundly inappropriate response to an attack prompted by the kind of fundamentalist thinking that, to me (and, I hope, to you) represents the closest possible human representation to evil. The same evil (magnified by a technological coup) as racism, gay-bashing, etc. None of which, I assume, you would accept any mitigation for.
posted by argybarg at 10:45 AM on September 16, 2001


When the KKK lynched black Americans and the southern Citizens Council terrorized blacks in the south, should American blacks have carefully cataloged their sins to explain why whites were so angry at them? Should they have publicly pledged to be better people and hope that terrorists would spare them?

thats a very stupid argument because it doesnt apply here because you are assuming that it's a race thing but it's about the seven years america has spent in the middle east, its about 600,000 people killed by sanction in iraq, its about "collateral damage".
posted by incubus at 4:28 PM on September 16, 2001


It is very common for converts to Islam to take Arabic names. My guess is that Sam Solomon is his given name, and he has not had it legally changed

The author says he was born and raised in the Middle East.
posted by chaz at 4:52 PM on September 16, 2001


No, I am not assuming its "a race thing." The comparison is that when one party visits an irrational atrocity on another, it is not the second party's responsibility to look within to explain why the first party committed the atrocity.

Be careful, friend; there is very heavy propoganda on both sides, and you are repeating some of the propoganda of bin Laden's jihad. Saddam Hussein has earned enough money from oil sales since the embargo to care for his people -- more per year than he did before the Gulf War. He could certainly rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq were he not willing to use his own people as hostages in the global arena (and any lifting of the embargo would mean more money to Saddam's chemical/bio warfare spending, not to his own people). Nothing America could do could force Saddam to feed his people.

As for America's seven years "spent in the middle east," if America's presence there is sufficient cause for this hatred, then so would be our presence on this planet.
posted by argybarg at 4:52 PM on September 16, 2001


Hear ye, hear ye. All who wish 72 virgins to copulate with, become Muslims, and die for Allah, killing those who are not Muslims.

Meanwhile, Christ teaches repentance.
posted by aaronshaf at 5:39 PM on September 16, 2001


The author says he was born and raised in the Middle East.

My apologies chaz, although now I'm doubly curious what's up with this guy. I screwed up jumping to conclusions the first time, so I won't hazard another guess.
posted by boaz at 7:20 PM on September 16, 2001


Meanwhile, Christ teaches repentance.

Does He also teach intolerance, prejudice and hatred? Because that's what you're spewing. Way to demonstrate your superiority, Huzzah!
posted by cCranium at 8:32 AM on September 17, 2001


The comparison is that when one party visits an irrational atrocity on another, it is not the second party's responsibility to look within to explain why the first party committed the atrocity.

I feel very sorry for you. Your opinions, and that's what they are: opinions, are precisely the kind of "inappropriate response" that I and many others consider to be dangerous. You think searching for understanding is more dangerous than the administration's planned knee-jerk Rambo response? That very thinking is precisely what will escalate the bloodshed among innocent civilians.

And you're still wrong -- I am arguing that apples are not oranges. The principle does NOT remain the same. You demean Black, gay and pro-choice Americans when you insist on such a thing. Do some reading, why don'tcha?

Though I suppose this is really a lost cause on my (and others') part. Ah well.
posted by mirla at 8:45 PM on September 17, 2001


(Once again, none of the bombers were from Vietnam. What the hell does that have to do with this?)

You brought up Vietnam first, implying that paultron did. My argument about Vietnam (which was directed to argybarg, not you), was the same as paultron's - we're no saints. And it's the whole "policeman of the world" attitude, along with much of the remainder of U.S. foreign policy that we need to take a very close look at. I'm always surprised when anyone thinks indiscriminate-slash-and-kill beats Understanding as a response on the part of our government.

we already know this. Bin Laden condemns the United States for the sanctions against Iraq, which he says have killed or seriously harmed millions of people.

Well, then your argument against paultron fails. We do indeed already know this. The problem is that jingoists and almost-jingoists refuse to take it into account when formulating a response to "irrational atrocities."

Irrational?? These evil men were intelligent, calculated, precise.
posted by mirla at 9:07 PM on September 17, 2001


Argybarg, I just re-read my last (passionate) post to you, and although I totally stand by my argument, my words seem embarrassingly sarcastic. I apologize to you and the forum.

I've got to start getting more sleep. That's NOT an excuse.
posted by mirla at 9:20 PM on September 17, 2001


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