Advertisement

City of Brass

City of Brass

9-11 reflections: Is terrorism still a threat?

The obvious answer to the question is yes – and that goes for before as well as after 9-11. In many ways, 9-11 distorts the picture because it was the single largest casualty count of any terrorist attack in history (unless you start to factor in acts of state-sponsored terrorism during armed conflicts, but let’s accept the conventional though arbitrary definition of terrorism as solely due to non-state actors).

The count of all major terrorist attacks resulting in 100 or more fatalities is an interesting one. There were 33 such attacks prior to 9-11, and a huge fraction of the post-9-11 attacks are in Iraq. I may be mistaken but the only attacks of any significant scale in the West after 9-11 have been in London and Madrid, though there have been numerous arrests of various Western muslims (mostly British) for various plots (mostly inept, like the ricin plot, the shoe bomber, and the liquid bombs).

Advertisement

So, what does that all mean?

If we exclude 9-11, then it looks like terrorism is a problem more relevant to the rest of the world, in response to nationalist and post-colonialist political turmoil. 9-11 seems to have been a major outlier. Hopefully that remains the case, though of course the idea that another 9-11-scale attack could recur is one that drives most of the debate here in the US about security, liberty, torture, etc. Some wll point to the lack of further 9-11 attacks as proof that the previous Administration’s policies were justified; others will argue that security could have been bought for far less compromise on our basic principles of freedom, but either argument is essnetially impossible to prove.

I don’t have any answers. But one thing is certain, that though 9-11 had a lasting impact on our nation’s government and policy, it had much less of an impact on the American spirit. In that sense, at least, the terrorists can be said to have truly and utterly failed.

Advertisement

Related: my thoughts last year on the “silence libel” which still persists. 9-11 created a (gradually decreasing) distrust of Islam in the American psyche that the muslim-American community must simply accept exists, and overcome.

  • Richard Clark

    The main type of terrorism we have to worry about today, is right-wing domestic terrorism. Groups like the “Army of God” who condone and support the murder of abortion providers need to be put under government watch as the Number One terrorist group in America. There has been an increase in right-wing terrorist groups since Obama was elected president.

  • Jesse Hill

    Aziz, what about the idea that increasing technology level (especially in biotech) will make it frighteningly easy for non-state actors of all flags to start inflicting major casualties?

Previous Posts

Ramadan Pearls 06 - expectant
When it comes to material food, if you eat too little, you will remain hungry like the crow and suffer ill-temper and anemia; if you eat your fill, your body will incur the penalty of indigestion. Partake of God's food, that easily digested ...

posted 9:44:56am Jul. 07, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 05 - objective
As for the men of knowledge of the hereafter, what they mean by the correctness of fasting is its acceptability; and the acceptability of the fast is whether or not it has enabled one to reach one's objective. They understand the objective of ...

posted 7:26:32am Jul. 05, 2015 | read full post »

The Fourth and the First
This evening, just prior to sunrise, members of my mosque in Los Angeles gathered round to raise the flag of the United States of America. Due to fortuitous timing, just as the flag was unfurled, a squadron of planes flew overhead in formation, ...

posted 12:38:00am Jul. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 04 - angels
He who has fasted for Allah, the Glorious and Mighty, and is in the discomfort of heat and struck by thirst, will have his face wiped and be given the good news by a thousand angels whom Allah has entrusted to him until he breaks his fast; at ...

posted 8:16:29am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

ibadat in Ramadan - process as piety
There are a lot of articles written during Ramadan about what Ramadan means, about what we as Muslims should be "getting out" of Ramadan, what the benefits of Ramadan should be. But I think that these sorts of articles miss the point of ibadat. ...

posted 10:20:36am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.