. . . so what have we learnt in 17 years?
But plenty otherwise.
One thing we've learnt is to never associate Islam with the attacks. Islam had nothing whatsoever to do with them. Even though those who perpetrated the attacks claimed absolutely that it did and that they were only acting out on the express commands of the prophet, Qur'an and Sunna. But we've learnt not to take any notice of that. They misunderstood their religion. Even though most of the hijackers were very well educated men, some with doctorates.
As the New York Times noted in 2005,
We examined the educational backgrounds of 75 terrorists behind some of the most significant recent terrorist attacks against Westerners. We found that a majority of them are college-educated, often in technical subjects like engineering. In the four attacks for which the most complete information about the perpetrators' educational levels is available -- the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the 9/11 attacks, and the Bali bombings in 2002 -- 53 percent of the terrorists had either attended college or had received a college degree. As a point of reference, only 52 percent of Americans have been to college.
The 1993 World Trade Center attack involved 12 men, all of whom had a college education. The 9/11 pilots, as well as the secondary planners identified by the 9/11 commission, all attended Western universities, a prestigious and elite endeavor for anyone from the Middle East. Indeed, the lead 9/11 pilot, Mohamed Atta, had a degree from a German university in, of all things, urban preservation, while the operational planner of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, studied engineering in North Carolina. We also found that two-thirds of the 25 hijackers and planners involved in 9/11 had attended college.
Of the 75 terrorists we investigated, only nine had attended madrassas, and all of those played a role in one attack -- the Bali bombing. Even in this instance, however, five college-educated "masterminds" -- including two university lecturers -- helped to shape the Bali plot. ... In fact, two of the terrorists in our study had doctorates from Western universities, and two others were working toward their Ph.D.
Yet all these intelligent and educated men were apparently completely unable to understand the plain injunctions of the Religion of Peace™ to spread that peace. How to explain this?
Well that's another thing we've learnt - we don't ask those questions any more. To interrogate Islam means to hate all Muslims with the perfect hatred of a thousand Suns.
We did investigate Islam in the beginning of course, but that was quickly snuffed out. Some argue that we cannot even understand Islam due to our not being native Arabic speakers raised on the Arabian peninsula. To ask such a question is simply to "other" & dehumanise all Muslims further marginalising by implying that they have anything to do at all with mass murderers. Even though that's not what we're doing.
Our protestations that we can't possibly know what drives the Red Brigade or the Labour Party or Methodists or the Lions if we don't study their writings, charters or vision statements are ignored. We are to simply accept the reassurances of some Muslim leaders that "true Islam" doesn't condone the murder of innocents. Even though some of those Muslim leaders are proven liars, Antisemites and supporters of jihad who preach violence against non-Muslims, the subjugation of women and death for homosexuals. Far from being investigated, such men are often greeted with wide open arms when authorities invite Muslims to bridge-building events.
To the contemporary Western mind - and I use the term loosely - affirmation and acceptance is all that matters. Surely people, underneath it all, believe in the same set of values! Surely we're joined in our common humanity! Surely the biggest threat is from "old white men" in the hierarchy who seek to continue the stale status quo (although this one is often more an unspoken assumption it does more and more pop out into the light).
So we can't understand Islam. We can't hold Muslims accountable for acting out on the plain & historic teachings of Islam. And we're bad people for even wanting to understand the teachings that led to the death of thousands of people on that September day in 2001. According to the Religion of Peace website Islamic terrorists have carried out over 33,783 deadly attacks since 911. Each one of those attacks claimed at least one life and was carried out by individuals basing their actions on core teachings of Islam. But we've learnt that we must not look at such things.
Instead we've learnt that whoever tries to get us to look at such things are the real villains. "If it wasn't for you guys everybody would be happy!" Ah yes, I remember being told this back when a few of us were deeply concerned about the gay paedophile Pastor of our church 20 years ago. The problem was, silencing us & driving us out of the church didn't stop the damage. It didn't help heal anyone involved and it didn't get people to accept reality and make changes for the better. What it did do, for those who believed it, was to drive them into a fantasy world and make them lose their minds and perpetuate the carnage.
So to today - did you see the article about the Christian evangelist Franklin Graham on Jihad Watch?
Newsweek reports that,
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella organisation for hundreds of Muslim groups, has lent its support to calls from three members of parliament and thousands of members of the public to deny the preacher a visa for spreading hate speech.
The MCB in a statement to The Guardian said: “In the past the government has banned individuals whom they claim are ‘not conducive to the public good’. Mr Graham’s remarks are on record and clearly demonstrate a hatred for Muslims and other minorities. “We would expect the government to apply its criteria here. If it does not, it will send a clear message that it is not consistent in challenging all forms of bigotry.”
Newsweek then gives us a key phrase that helps us categorise Mr Graham in the "do not listen to" basket:
A supporter of President Donald Trump, [Graeme: There ya go! Sigh...] Graham has described Islam as “evil” and a “religion of war,” claimed that Barack Obama was “born a Muslim,” ...
Let's check this.
A) "Islam is evil". That's a value judgment, but there is a mountain of evidence to sustain that allegation. For instance, the religion's central figure is a man who: married a 6 year-old and consummated the marriage when she was 9; organised assassinations of political opponents and even those who made fun of him; tortured Kinana b. al-Rabi` with fire in order to find treasure; and led 83 war raids. That man is the perfect example of a life pleasing to Allah. This isn't evil?
B) Islam is "a religion of war". Got any proof for this claim Mr Graham? Heaps. Two-thirds of Christendom was conquered by Islam during its first 400 years. While we keep being told about the terrible evils of the first Crusade which has led to so much ill will among today's Muslims, we never seem to hear about that do we? One Hindu source also notes that because of Islam: "By all known accounts of world history, as pointed out by Koenard Elst in his book the Negationism in India, destruction of about 100 million Hindus is perhaps the biggest holocaust in the whole world history". We don't hear so much about this either. Why might that be?
C) Barack Obama was "born a Muslim". As even Snopes states that Mr Obama's father was born a Muslim, then yes, technically under Sharia any children born to a Muslim man are automatically Muslims. There is no argument about this doctrine. Indeed, Sharia states that every child is born a Muslim and is then often taught a false religion by their parents. Whether he was raised a Muslim or what kind of Muslim his father was is not addressed by Mr Graham.
On all 3 points the Minister is correct in what he says. So what's the problem?
But, since 911, we have learnt that we are to read all sorts of nefarious motives into those who raise legitimate concerns about Islam. If we have learnt all this in just 17 years, one really does have to wonder what we will learn in the next 17. Or 27. Or 37. Just keep ignoring the piles of dead, the masses of raped girls, the no-go zones, the stifling of free speech that offends Islam. It's all so gradual.
But due to endless repetition we seem to be learning our lessons very well.