Was 9/11 a “Natural Disaster”?

Sohel Bahjat

2016 / 6 / 18

–a journalist and published author

The biggest question that policy makers and counterterrorism experts have in mind, especially in the United States, is how to defeat the Radical Islam Terrorism. It’s clear nowadays, more than any time before, that this violent religious phenomenon is dragging the world, even the Western Democracies, into a series of bloody attacks that has no goal´-or-purpose, but the sheer desire of killing people. And as an American, who has a Middle Eastern background, I can see the frustration, and the perplexity that the American people have, when they discuss with me what’s going on in the Middle East.
Maybe I sound pessimistic when I say that the majority of the American counterterrorism strategies are wrong, but we cannot defeat the ideology of hate without questioning what we are doing. The American memory, when coming to Islamic terrorism, is full of pictures of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979 and the November 4th seizing of the American embassy hostages. Americans also remember Hizbullah’s, backed by Iran, kidnapping of Americans, and other acts of violence that have a great deal of anxiety on the American public. However, this rise of Iranian revolutionary violence, which was a culmination of a historical change in the Shia Islamic school of thought, a minority in the Islamic world that was under persecution for a long time, had started to cool down since the death of Ayatollah Khumeini 1989. But why the U.S government still plays the Iranian card despite the fact that as the Iranian revolutionary fervor is not that violent anymore? Surprisingly, the countries that are not just educating, recruiting, terrorists, but even financing them, are our allies, namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and even the United Arab Emirates, a country that has a flamboyant appearance in the West.
So, what’s wrong with antagonizing Iran? Some people would ask. The wrong thing in continuing of such policy, and I’m aware of the Iranian regime’s zeal toward adopting a challenging tone towards the west, is that we, as Americans, don’t know much about the Islamic history that has its own narrative of freedom, social justice, and arguments about the best political system. Iran, whether we like it´-or-not, represents the hope for minorities that had been persecuted throughout the long history of Sunni Islam domination that was, and still, excommunicating the Non-Sunni Muslims, and usually the act of excommunication itself is an invitation to violent punishments.
Sunni Islam, in contrast, had a history of mild tolerance when the Sunni theological schools were dominated by the Sufis, a school that encourages personal experiences of the faith. But this wasn’t the case all the time because some other jurists, who were more, strictly, observing the following of the holy text, neglecting the metaphorical side of the text. Now, our Saudi Arabian allies, and the Arab states, are adopting this strict, and narrow interpretation of the religion, accusing any kind of rereading´-or-reinterpreting the holy text as heretical and blasphemous. As results of this self-centered creed, the fanatical groups got more power and more Sunni communities are -convert-ing from the Sufi school to the Wahabi school, a name derived from a jurist who lived in 18th Century Arabia, Mohammed bin Abdul-Wahab, who considered Jihad, fighting for the faith, as the embodiment of Islam.
Now, America is on the verge of making the biggest strategic mistake, and that in supporting the harsh implementation of Islam, in the Wahabi form, which is spreading dangerously all over the world, from Mauritania to Bangladesh, and slowly, it’s gaining adherents in Europe, United States, Australia, and even the North Pole. Probably, the American elites and decision makers in Washington D.C do not care that much about ordinary citizens’ security as far as senators, lobbyists, and big business owners are benefiting from the Saudi money. Letting some American bloodshed, by Saudi backed terrorists, isn’t a big deal anymore. As a proof of this, it’s noticeable that the American government, with all its branches, deals with the 9/11 terrorist attacks anniversary as if they were a blind “natural disaster”, to remove the human factor, actual financiers, behind them. Imagine if such attack took place under FDR,´-or-Truman,´-or-Reagan’s presidency, what type of reaction would have been the outcome?

Modern Discussion