9-11 Revisited:The real eye of the storm

Ya'll...this heah is a good essay on what 9-11 is. From a professor of political philosophy at Georgetown. An excerpt:

Many, no doubt, will be amused if not scandalized by a proposal that suggests that the first principle of practical politics is to take theological positions seriously by examining the validity of what specifically they maintain. However, I think, by the mere logic of exclusion -- the other explanations do not fully explain -- it is really the most sensible approach to the long-range problem that faces us from this source. It is also, paradoxically, the most "ecumenical" view, the one that is willing to take seriously the theological view of those who think that the mission of Islam is to spread the law and worship of Allah to every people. It is not the "moderate" Muslims that we must take seriously, but the radical ones....

I argued ...that the driving motivation behind them (Attacks on the towers) was not secular, nor political, but religious. What was going on came from a theological understanding of Muslim purpose in the world. Even those Muslims, however few or many they be, who did not think that such means were the wisest ones to use, none the less, understood the legitimacy of the purpose behind them.

"...by not acknowledging this motivation, we, in a sense, did not do justice to what was going on; we did not, that is, do justice to the men who conceived and carried out the destructive plan.

We thus wandered off into fields of explanation that were elaborate, sophisticated, "scientific," and often self-serving, but which did not correspond to what we were seeing, to what these men said of themselves. Basically, by calling this a war on "terrorism" a war against "fanatics" or "madmen," we, in a real way, demeaned both our enemies and ourselves. We did not want to look in the eye of the real storm.

If, on the other hand, we want to call this a "war of civilization," well and good, provided that we realize, following Christopher Dawson, that civilizations are themselves expressions of religions, or pseudo-religions we now call "ideologies." No civilization in the history of mankind is less amenable to a purely secular explanation of what it does than Islam. Our efforts to explain this war in terms of Western philosophy or science, however elaborate, fail to get at the central issue, the belief that everyone ought to be Muslim, that this is the will of Allah on earth, that there can be no long-term rest until this submission is brought about and "peace" ensues. This motive, invisible to "science," is quite visible to those who see it as an abiding mission over time, over centuries. What most handicaps us is an idea that such a purpose cannot abide over time and take various differing forms of reincarnation, including one in our own day....

I do not consider this endeavor to come to terms with what Islam is to be either something hostile to Islam or its polity. Indeed, I think the reluctance to come to terms with it over the centuries is one of the causes of the current problems. ...

full essay at:


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