There have been many attempts to explain the reasons for the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks in the US and their relationship with the conflicts in the Middle East. In May 2003, the Prime Ministers of Israel and Palestine met to attempt to negotiate a settlement to the conflict. Today we shall examine the reasons for the attack from another perspective through a process of inductive reasoning. Each of the questions posed is a necessary link to revealing a solution.
We shall start at the moment of personal decision by the perpetrators. Why would some Muslims choose to kill US civilians and commit suicide? What would convince them to sacrifice their education, families, and dreams for the future for suicide and murder? They do this because they believe that they will be martyred and receive a martyr’s reward. In the Middle East, they are known as suicide bombers.
I understand the appeal of being martyred. For Christians it is an honour to suffer or to die for Christ. I imagine that the Muslim feels a similar appeal to suffer and die for God. However, when Christians suffer or are martyred, they are persecuted or killed by persons who hate them because of their commitment to God. The Christian martyrs’ response is to love those who hate them and to pray for those who persecute them. Conversely, the suicide bombers believe that they will receive a martyr’s reward for killing other people and dying in the process.
The question that follows is: Why do suicide bombers believe that they will receive a martyr’s reward for murder? They believe this because they have been convinced through the teachings of their Muslim religious leaders. Why would religious leaders seek to convince their adherents that they would be martyred if they murder as many US civilians as possible and die in the process? They do this because the US government supports the state of Israel.
Why do Muslim religious leaders in the Middle East generally teach such a response to Israel and the US in this way? Recorded history describes Christians, Jews and Muslims coexisting in a Muslim dominated Middle Eastern region without major conflict for over 1,000 years prior to the 20th century.
Towards the end of the 19th century, some Jews began to agitate for a Jewish state and thousands began to immigrate to Palestine. Following World War 2, when the German government tried to kill all of the Jews in Europe, the Jewish state of Israel was established by the United Nations in Palestine in 1948, and many Arab residents were displaced. These actions resulted in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invading Israel and being defeated. Several wars were fought since then and each time Israel was victorious. Israel is now well armed and supported by the US government.
The Koran was used by political and religious leaders in the region to convince persons that they would receive a martyr’s reward if they died while carrying out acts of terror against Israel. Thereafter, thousands of faithful Muslims have been disqualified from attaining the honour of martyrdom because they were deceived into committing acts of murder and suicide.
Why do Muslim religious leaders feel it necessary to distort the teachings of the Koran to support an agenda of terror? They believe that Islam is threatened with a dominant Israel in a Muslim region. Why would they feel that Islam would be threatened when the Koran teaches that the Christian, Jew and the Muslim worship the same God? The Koran suggests that God first chose Israel, but Israel rejected God, so God chose the Christians, but the Christians also rejected God, so He chose the Muslims. It is therefore challenging for Muslim political and religious leaders in the region to reconcile their chosen position with their successive humiliating military defeats to Israel and Israel’s continued assertiveness in a Muslim dominated region. It is easier to blame their challenges on the US’s political and military support for Israel.
The displacement of the Palestinian Arabs contributes significantly to the instability in the Middle East. However, a solution should include an honest examination of the Koran by Muslims. It should also include forgiveness by Israel, the Islamic states, and the Palestinian Arabs since they have all killed their brothers, some in the false belief that they were serving God. If these two important elements are absent from a peace equation, then there will always be an uneasy, fragile, and distrusting truce rather that a lasting stable peace.