10/15/2005

America's response to 9/11 in the view of a muslim scholar: Revenge not peace spells trouble

Surprisingly balanced if you consider all the "crusade" talk Bush was blathering in 2002 -- law

I am not saying America is evil, only that it is not sovereign over the rest of us. If it has a right to exact vengeance from its enemies, it does not have the right to support injustice. .. It is in our interests to act together on behalf of peace in the region. But, it would be a mistake to put all our trust in the United States right now at a time when an odor of revenge is wafting out of its political kitchen, not the odor of peace. May God protect us. [Indeed! May he protect us all, West and East-- law]


America...Not Now!

Hani Nakshabandi

It is apparent to all of us that what happened in September should be forcing the United States to review its policies (lit. "reopen its ledgers").

It is no secret that we had hoped that what happened in New York and Washington would perhaps have caused the United States to become more objective in its dealings with us.

All of us have been betting secretly that the three attacks of September 11 would lead to a change in Washington's point of view, if only a little, on how to proceed in the region, and that Washington would become just a little more objective about what happened.

But, what has happened instead is:

America has become even more hateful vis a vis its enemies claiming they threaten its security, angry with its friends because they haven't been able to put an end to the threat, and has been censuring its allies, pulling the carpet out from under their feet.

In return, we have not been pleased with the United States either. However, we aren't able to do anything about it, and that is the difference between our anger and their anger. Of course it is understandable that they would look at our situation on the level of political factors, and start from there as they assess what has happened to them. But, it is not acceptable to us that their response be consumed by the wish for vengeance.

The most important truth that all need to realize is that what happened in September has caused American policy to shift away from the principle of "peace" and toward the principle of "vengeance." There is no time to discuss this part of it now.

It's a story right out of the cowboy movies in which the hero attacks, kills, and takes vengeance on anyone who gets in his way. As far as Hollywood is concerned, the hero must win and must kill the enemy.

But, reality isn't Hollywood. Arab nations are not Hollywood. Jerusalem isn't Hollywood.

However, this Hollywood impression of the rest of the world remains pretty much intact in America. They have outlined a scenario of a lengthy war against terrorism, what we see as a war of "vengeance" against those who have struck them at their core.

The United States is the sole power in the world today. For many long years in the past we were hoping they would foster peace. We had great hopes of them. We still do. But, it is a mistake to keep hoping right now.

For America isn't thinking about us in the same way now as in the past. It isn't thinking on behalf of the Arab region. It is thinking only about maximizing its vengeance against its enemies beginning with Afghanistan, and after that, Iraq and Iran. With the September explosions exploded the ample American memory of the painful trials with adversaries it has neglected or become oblivious to.

Half the world has become America's target. Even Iran, one of the few countries in the region that had offered to help in the war against Afghanistan, overnight has become an enemy that America must wreak vengeance upon.

The America of today supports those who can safeguard the principle of strength to conquer one's enemies, and those who safeguard the principle of vengeance.

For this reason America is on the side of Israel because the latter has persuaded it that it suffers every day what America suffered on a single day in September. Sharon wants to wreak vengeance on Arafat in the same way that Bush wants to wreak vengeance against bin Laden.

I am not saying America is evil, only that it is not sovereign over the rest of us. If it has a right to exact vengeance from its enemies, it does not have the right to support injustice.

The United States has its interests and we have ours. It is in our interests to act together on behalf of peace in the region. But, it would be a mistake to put all our trust in the United States right now at a time when an odor of revenge is wafting out of its political kitchen, not the odor of peace.

May God protect us.

February 17-23, 2002

Translated by Ted Thornton

America

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