Perceptions of Terrorism and 911 Research Paper

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It's impossible to believe that a few furtive little characters armed with box cutters ho had no idea how to fly… could have maneuvered the planes like this (Sehmer).

Still, when surveying media and scholarly materials about 9/11, the subject of religious fervor continues to come to the forefront. A contrasting, but negative impact of religion on society is the radical Islamic sects Al-Qaeda's plot and subsequent terrorist action against the United States on September 11, 2001. In contemporary society, most agree that we live in a burgeoning global village, globalism is the direction of economy, the media is globally available, and even religion has become part of this global society (Kurtz). So, when a religious group used the Holy Koran as an excuse to attack the United States, global religion was impacted. The official global story remains similar: on September 11, 2001, members of the Islamic Al-Qaeda sect hijacked four commercial passenger jets, two that dove into the Twin Towers of the Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon, and the fourth crashing into rural Pennsylvania. These attacks were part of the mission of Al-Qaeda and used the Koran to say the right way of being was to "slay the pagans wherever ye find them," as the duty of every Muslim to "kill Americans anywhere" (Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders).

The unfortunate consequences of this use of the Islamic religion as a reason for attacking another country are clearly not new. World history is rife with states and countries going to war, all with their God on their side: the Crusades of Europe had the Christian God as a reason for retaking the Holy Land; the Muslims had Allah and the Koran to fight against the European; and more. However, once these attacks in New York were over, there was a world outcry against radical Islam, causing a still occurring war in Afghanistan, numerous other attacks, and war in the Middle East. Unfortunate, too, is the way that taking religious quotes out of context, as Al-Qaeda did with the Koran, perverts the very ideas central to the nature of Islam. A number of clerics simply could not understand how radical "thugs" could possibly use the Holy Koran to justify their action. Grand Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, one of the highest authorities in Sunni Islam, said that groups that carry out such atrocities and missions are the enemies of Islam. He further noted that these extremists have incorrectly appropriated their version if Islam for their own ends (Muslims Against Terrorism).

Two major issues are at the core of both the U.S. (Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and media from other countries -- even if those other countries are capitalistic and anti-terror. The first issue is the global political/philosophical language that is now used to discuss terrorism or any splinter group outside of what is considered to be acceptable divisiveness. The second, the manner in which the United States government developed a very systematized rhetoric to ensure that its policies on the "war on terror" would be adopted and embraced. Strategic design certainly played a role, and influenced the media. The real crux of the matter is "strategy." Strategy in the challenge of blame, exaggeration, and some of the more pressing geopolitical issues of the time. For example, "Bush's bad reasons were more than a drawback of the intervention. For when a democracy takes up arms, the failure to articulate the reasons, whether through inability to, worse yet, refusal, destroys the validity of the war itself" (Brenkman, 1).

The world press, however, points out that the core philosophical values of many of the great philosophers, Marx, Kant, Arendt, and Berlin; still provide justification for behaviors that may seem radical at the time, but play out in a more reasonable fashion decades later. It is difficult to imagine, though, 9/11 seeming reasonable on any level. Thematically, though, one of the things both the foreign and domestic press can certainly agree uon is the necessity for openess and democracy; and not to allow events like 9/11 to stifle that. . "Constitutionally guaranteed basic liberties regarding property, speech, association, and religion… must precede democracy" to be effective (Brenkman, 185). Many of the policy changes, both domestic and international, from America and other countries, seem to invade some of the most basic constitutional rights of modern society. Only by upholding democracy when it is at its most difficult will the West be the "premier" democratitc example. As difficult as it is not to react with exaggerated force and acquisition but to remain calm, uphold the human rights that got the nation to where it is today, and continue the process of democracy during many potential incidents and provocations. Thus, the way to manage terrorism is to prove that globalization and democracy are viable and coveted (Hatchen).


Abrahamian, E. "The U.S. Media, Huntington and September 11th." Third World Quarterly 24.3 (2003): 529-44.

"Bin Laden Clarims Responsibility for 9/11." 2004 29 Ocotber . CBS News. .

Brenkman, J. The Cultural Contradictions of Democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.

"Global Connections." March 2002. PUB Online. .

Goren and Becker. The Soviet Union and Terrorism. New York: Unwin Hyman, 1984.

Greier and Rice-Oxley. "Five Years After 9/11." 11 September 2006. The Christian Science Monitor. .

Hatchen, W. And T. Scotton. The World news Prism: Global Information in a Satellite Age. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2006.

Howard, Sir Michael. "A British View - "9/11" and After." Autumn 2002. BNet Review. .

Huntington, S. "The Clash of Civilizations." Foreign Affairs Summer (1993): 22-36.

"Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders." 23 Feburary 1998. World Islamic Front. .

Johnson, T. The War on Terrorism: A Collision of Values, Strategies, and Societies. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2008.

Kurtz, L. Gods in the Global Village: The World's Religions in Sociological Perspective. Newbury Park, CA: Pine Forge Press, 2006.

Lewis, B. "The Roots of Muslim Rage." Policy 17.4 (2002): 17-26.

"Muslims Against terrorism." March 2003. Islam for Today. .

Norton, A. Hezbollah: A Short History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.

Safi, Omid. "Islamic Views of 9/11." 2006. Study of Islam - Colgate University. .

Sehmer, A. "Many Still Have Doubts Over 9/11." 14 September 2008. AlJazeera.Net. .

Wilkison, P. International Relations. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.


Loosely translated from the Russian in: Tolstoy, Leo. Pima (Letters): 8 -- 15 March, 1881, 63, 45 -- 52?

See the following: George W. Bush, "National Security Strategy Report," / nsc/nssall.html, September 17, 2002, p. 2; John R. Bolton, "Beyond the Axis of Evil: Additional Threats from Weaponsof Mass Destruction," Heritage Lecture Series, Heritage Foundation, May 6, 2002, available from;3. "Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign's Agenda to Reduce the Threat of Nuclear Terrorism" available from[continue]

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