US panel discusses impact of Sept. 11 attacks on Islam : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


US panel discusses impact of Sept. 11 attacks on Islam

By Barbara Ferguson, Arab News Correspondent

WASHINGTON, 7 November — As the US bombing campaign continues against Al-Qaeda and the Taleban in Afghanistan, much-needed conferences on Islam are popping up in Washington. At a National Press Club briefing, panelists discussed whether we are witnessing a "clash of civilizations" or an "understanding of civilizations." Some experts predict both. "The 21st century will see both a clash of civilization and a dialogue of understanding of civilizations," said Dr. Akbar Ahmed, newly appointed chairman of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, and author of numerous books, including: "Discovering Islam: Making Sense of Muslims History and Society," which became the basis for the BBC’s 6-part TV series, "Living Islam."

According to Dr. Ahmed: "Osama Bin Laden symbolizes the clash of civilization." "In both the clash and dialogue of civilization, the role of Islam is crucial," said Dr. Ahmed. "To understand this, everyone, including Muslims, need to understand the nature of Islam, where Islam in headed, and the ‘Rahim and Rahman’ of Islam — the compassion and understanding." Dr. Ahmed said it is important to remember the belief that Islam is part of the Judeo-Christian civilization, and a component of the global civilization — as opposed to Bin Laden who has said Jews and Christians are the enemy. "This," he said, "is leading to a major crisis in Islam."

"Bin Laden has called for a war against the infidels, but Islam regards Christians and Jews as people of the Book and as the same people." He asked why the US media have not written more on this.

Dr. Ahmed also said the United States needs to look very closely at its actions. He said the continuation of bombing during the month of Ramadan "may have strong tactical arguments, but for civilians it will not encourage dialogue of civilization, but it will strengthen those who believe the clash of civilization is coming. Muslims everywhere are concerned about the coming month of Ramadan, and about the suffering and starvation of the Afghani people," said Dr. Ahmed. "People in the Muslim world are saying that the terrorists were Arabs, they all had Arab names — so why are the Afghanis being punished?"

Yvonne Haddad, a professor at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, said many Americans do not realize that Islam is open to multicultural, and multiplural. "Had God willed," Haddad quoted the Holy Qur’an, "He would have made us one nation." She was highly critical of the US media, and believes that the American media "has started blaming Islam" for the Sept. 11 disaster. "The initial reaction of the American people was to know more, and there was a rush of visits to churches and mosques. This has changed, now that Islam is being blamed for the Sept. 11 tragedies."

Haddad also focused on the perceived paradox of America’s leaders in the Muslim world: "For Muslims and Arabs, it was a horrible irony that President Bush declared ‘war’ in a church with a big cross hanging behind him. Also, the Secretary of State said, ‘We are the civilized ones,’ which implied that others are not," Haddad said.

"I think a lot of Americans believe that Islam equals Arab, as they have always seen Islam through the prism of the Palestinian-Israeli issue, they now realize it’s a global religion." Katherine Marshall, a historian, ethicist and international development expert for the World Bank, explained that the "Islamic world is extraordinarily diverse, more so than Christianity. Trying to lump everything together in Islam is very risky." In Islam, Marshall said, "Both culture and religion matter." Marshall said that poverty was a critical element in the Sept. 11 attacks. "The dangers of simplistic solutions are very dangerous," she warned. "Americans need to look at the kinds of misery, the sense of despair, the joblessness, the sense of profound injustice, misery and suffering," in the region.

Copyright, Saudi Arabia News, Fair Use for Educational and Research Purposes Only

-- Robert Riggs (, November 06, 2001


Nuts to compassion. The Taliban are not going to take Ramadan off. This is a clear case of civilized people against barbarians of the Attila the Hun order. I still say nuke 'em.

-- Buck (, November 06, 2001.

Robert: you really know where to dredge this stuff up.

"Dr. Ahmed said it is important to remember the belief that Islam is part of the Judeo-Christian civilization"

Yeah right, Hows that?

"But Islam regards Christians and Jews as people of the Book and as the same people"

Dr. Ahmed is propagating a lie. The Tenach (old testamnet as we in the west call it) clearly spells out that Issac was almost sacrificed by Abraham, not Ishmael, as Islam teaches. Isaac received the major blessing not Ishmael. Read Genesis 17, 21 and 22 specifically Genesis 17:21 "But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year." Both religions base their validity, and their pivot points, on the above. All religions, and certainly Judeism and Islam, do not lead to the same God.

Stop the whitewash and intellectual dishonesty

-- Steve McClendon (, November 07, 2001.

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