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Saturday, 11 September 2010

Remembering the atrocities

Today marks the anniversary of the devastating attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. We tend to forget that the Pentagon was also targetted and possibly the White House or the Capitol building were also on the list for the murderers who flew the hijacked airliners into them.

Sadly, since then, extremism has continued to rise, fueled by the propaganda of the leaders of Al Qaeda and the likes of the Taliban, who prey on the ignorance of the majority of members of the Islamic faith, in respect of the west, to foster hatred. Israel's refusal to surrender to the demands of the Palestinians is further fuel as is the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. The situation is made even worse when people in the westinflame things by making public statements or demonstrations calculated to cause offence to the majority of Muslims who have to stand by - as do a heck of a lot of Christians - while the extremists hijack the spotlight and provoke demonstrations of ill-informed mobs waving placards and chanting "death to America."

While working in Tehran last year I had a conversation that was informative to say the least. The young man I was talking too argued that Hamas had a right to fight for the Palestinians rights and for the return of the whole of Israel to Muslim control. He rejected utterly the information that Israel was a democratic government and that members of the Knesset were Muslims and Palestinians and even Christians. "Impossible," he declared, "Israel is a corrupt dictatorship - only Jews have a vote and only they sit in the parliament."

Of course it is no good directing him to a website which would correct that - such web pages are blocked by the very efficient Web Police in Iran.

I was intrigued to read recently that President Obama claims he "converted" to Christianity at the age of 20, having, apparently been raised as a Muslim up to that point. In the strictest terms of the Sharia he should now be stoned to death by all loyal followers of Islam for apostacy. I wonder if he realises that? I have it on very good authority that the current President has three times the number of security operatives around him that any of his predecessors, including GWB, had.

There is insensitivity on both sides of the debate over the World Trade Centre at present. I can sympathise with the Muslims who want to create their "Education Centre" on the site of the former Department Store (There has to be an irony there!), but at the same time, they must realise just how insensitive that is to all those Christian, non-Muslims and Jews who lost loved ones, friends and colleagues in the atrocity. Now that it has become a political football, it just gets worse. The gracious thing for the Muslims to do now is to withdraw and take their centre elsewhere, but they know that this will be emblazoned across the media as a "triumph" for the "Islamaphobes." Therefore they won't.

Nor will the President or the Mayor stop its building, because if they did, they would immediately be accused of "giving in to racist extremism" or worse. This is now a no win situation for both sides simply because the vultures of the media are circling waiting for one side or the other to blink.

This is not how to remember the fallen. This does no one any honour at all.

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