The post 9/11 era created an environment of fear and confusion towards Islam in the minds of American people most of whom were not familiar with its real source, namely the Qur’an. During this period, in many of the Western European countries, people discriminated against Muslims and treated them as outsiders. This terrorist attack was considered to be the bloodiest terrorist act in the history and triggered series of other attacks in other parts of the world. The most notorious of them were 2003 Istanbul bombings, the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the 2005 London bombings.
Following the 9/11 attack George W. Bush initiated his agenda of a “war on terror.” The US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq based on this “agenda”. In order to prevent similar terrorist attacks, The Bush administration implemented several far-reaching laws, mostly by executive orders. Yet, today many analysts and politicians criticize these post 9/11 era policies because what we see today is a very dangerous world compared to 2001.
According to the Terrorism Index 2015, the total number of deaths from terrorism increased by 80% in 2014 compared to the previous year. This is the biggest annual rise in the last 15 years. There has been over a nine-fold increase in the number of deaths from terrorism, rising from 3,329 in 2000 to 32,685 in 2014 since the start of this century
As a consequence of this 9/11 trauma many extreme, offensive and rights-intrusive acts consisting of restrictions on freedom were implemented, essentially turning regular people’s private lives into some kind of nightmare. The acts included Homeland Security Act, Patriot Act, Freedom Act and many more. In light of all these developments, many people especially Muslims felt and still feel as though they are trapped. The photos of Abu Ghraib prison that were revealed in 2004 stirred an intense global reaction and hatred. Tens of thousands of Muslims were interrogated, prisoned or tortured on the grounds that they were affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Today, Al-Qaeda has almost but disappeared and many emerging terrorist groups with different names are on the rise.
In the name of “war on terror,” many innocent Muslims have been blacklisted and in September 2014, TSC (Terror Screening Center) Director Christopher Piehota testified to the House Homeland Security Committee that the list "currently stands at about 800,000 identities
." It turned out to be very difficult for Muslims to enter the US and those who enter and leave the country were being monitored through the use of No Flight Lists With a new law, the US announced that those who have visited Iraq, Syria and Sudan in the last three years will not be permitted to enter American soils without a visa
Through these practices, the US is violating the right to privacy and restricting the basic rights of people such as right to travel and freedom of expression. CIA Black lists and kill people through the use of drones without discriminating whether these people are guilty or not. This particular policy has not served their causes and has provoked a furious backlash. As a result, terror acts skyrocketed in number let alone cease and anti-Americanism sentiment escalated enormously.
It is crystal clear that these practices that have been ongoing for years are not the solution to remove the entrenched horror from western societies. It also does not eliminate the anger of the people who treated as terrorists only because of their names and their religion. It is again the same fear that causes an American presidential candidate to continuously express anti-Islamic sentiments, or some of the EU member states refusing to give a right to live in their homelands to the people desperately seeking to take refuge not because they do not have the means but only because they are Muslims. These unethical attitudes will likely result in un-wanted ramifications.
Indeed, the West should realize that radicalism, not Islam, is one of the biggest threats in the world and it is totally divorced from the accurate teachings of Islam. According the to the Qur’an, killing one person is like killing whole humanity and therefore a Muslim who abides with the Qur’an would never approach such an evil act forbidden by God. However, it is also essential that Islam should not be left in the hands of ignorant people. Such ignorant people often turn radical and they will start to kill, bomb and create disorder in the name of Islam. These fanatics deliberately use the Koran to act out their hatred. It is noteworthy to remember that God tells Muslims to forgive people who have deliberately committed murder, an example of compassion shown in the face of a very terrible crime. This attitude very well explains how a Muslim should act in the face of such a condition.
The West should learn from their mistakes in the past and put an end to methods that may risk the lives of innocent people. They should be in intellectual cooperation with the leaders who have embraced Islam based on the Qur’an and who will direct the world with wisdom and reason. Radicalism is based on a false religion that has been ongoing for hundreds of years. The Islamic World has been kept in this fanatic swirl either with internal or external interference.
The fact remains that war and violence have never been a solution for this and terror has not ended. Every bomb dropped in the Islamic world will return to the West as more hatred and more radicalism. The war on terror has only brought blood and pain for the last fifteen years. What needs to be done is to conduct an effective education program against the ideological root of terrorism. At the end of 2015 the estimated cost of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq had reached approximately 6 trillion dollars including future expenses for veterans and interest payments calculated by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government
. If only a fraction of the funds that have been invested on global armaments were to be invested on joint educational programs, terror would be eliminated easily. In a similar fashion, Western countries should end the negative policy discrimination against Muslims by embracing them as is so often customary. Such an attitude would prevent them to feel isolated amongst communities. Carrying out intense educational programs against terror for the young generation will no doubt create a generation that would consider themselves peaceful and faithful. The West should gain Muslims’ support in this new era and form various joint cooperation models vis a vis the war on terror. It should not be forgotten that terrorism and radicalism will only be eradicated by Islam based on the Qur’anic morality.
Adnan Oktar's piece in Tehran Times