Islamic Responses to the Sept. 11 Attack

In responding to the ghastly terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (and the continuing conflicts in the Middle East), Americans need to know more about Islamic religion, culture, and history in order to be able to distinguish between the guilty (a renegade terrorist organization) and the innocent (the vast majority of Muslims in North America and around the world), and to understand the reasons for the anger and frustration with American policy overseas that Osama bin Laden and other anti-American Muslim militants have tapped and exploited.

In particular, Americans must avoid demonizing Muslims in general as “the enemy” or as an “evil empire.” The links below show that Islam is not inseparable from anti-American militancy, and that most Muslims stand for peace.

N.B. The views expressed in the documents linked below are not necessarily mine or those of Washington and Lee University, nor are they meant to represent the full range of positions on these issues. They were selected for being clear and (more or less) temperately expressed, or as likely to help readers understand the views of Muslims and other interested parties. – Tim Lubin

For statements by U.S. Muslim groups condemning the attacks, and general information on Islam:

Muslims Against Terrorism (archived site; now defunct) . . . and an article on it in The Jewish Week

“Scholars of Islam speak out against terrorism; clarify position of Islam”

Web Resources for the Study of Islam (Dr. Alan Godlas, University of Georgia)
Islam @

For public responses of Islamic organizations, leaders, scholars, and news media:

Column by Prof. Ali Khan (Washburn Univ. School of Law): “Attack on America: An Islamic Perspective” (in Jurist: The Legal Education Network, Univ. of Pittsburgh)
Essay by Prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina (University of Virginia): “Where Was God on September 11?”
(in the University of Virginia Center for South Asian Studies Newsletter)

Islamic Circle of North America
Includes many links, including opinions from two well-known Islamic scholars on the WTC tragedy:
Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Sheikh Muhammad Yusuf Islahi
“Muslim clerics say attacks in US are un-Islamic” : Views of Sh. al-Tantawi and Ayatollah Fadlallah, with an essay by Prof. Seyyid Hossein Nasr, “Islam and the Question of Violence” and the organization’s “Categorial Condemnation of Crimes Against Humanity”
The Lahore [Pakistan] Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam website with a message of sympathy; see also: “The Truth Unveiled”
Canadian Council of Muslim Women , a website devoted to Palestinian affairs
Links to further organizations (list of Prof. Amir Hussain, CSUN)
Al-Ahram Weekly (Cairo): “US TRAGEDY: The fall-out”

Specially Notable: Afghani Perspectives:

Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan: statement on the terrorist attacks

The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan was founded in 1977 by a woman named Meena. RAWA fought the Russian invaders of Afghanistan and their local client regime. Meena was assassinated at the age of thirty in 1987. It has also been fighting the fundamentalists, including the current ruling Taliban group in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Aside from concern for the lives and livelihood of innocent Afghan civilians, RAWA probably also expects that a US attack may strengthen local support for the Taliban government. [ See the RAWA website. ] – Vincent K Pollard, University of Hawai’i at Manoa (reproduced from H-ASIA)
SEE ALSO: “RAWA questions Bush’s war threats”, by Prof. Vincent Pollard (Ka Leo O Hawaii, 21 Sept. 2001)
An article by Tamim Ansary, an Afghani intellectual living in the U.S. for 35 years: “An Afghan-American speaks” [from]

Speech by Taleban Ambassador Syed Rahmatullah Hashimi on March 10, 2001 at the University of Southern California

For background information on Islamic militancy, Pan-Islamism, and Palestine:

“The Revolt of Islam,” by Bernard Lewis (The New Yorker, 19 November 2001, pp. 50-63)
“What Terrorists Want,” by Nicholas Lemann (The New Yorker, 29 October 2001, pp. 36-41)
and other New Yorker articles on the attacks.
Islam Links from PBS
“The Most Wanted Man in the World” (from

Overview of declassified US government documents related to American policies in Afghanistan, 1973-1990 (from The National Security Archive, George Washington University)
Russian Documents on the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan (from the Cold War International History Project)

Palestine, region, Asia. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001
On the Arab-Israeli conflict (with a focus on the Palestinian situation): Teaching the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 2nd ed. (1993), by Ronald Stockton (University of Michigan-Dearborn).
Salman Rushdie interviews Edward Said, Prof. of Comparative Literature at Columbia University and prominent spokesman of the Palestinian cause (video file), author of After the Last Sky: Palestinian Lives (1986), an eloquent advocacy of the Palestinian cause, with photos by Jean Mohr
The Edward Said Archive (TESA)

A Jewish viewpoint:
“A World Out of Touch With Itself: Where the Violence Comes From,” by R. Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun Magazine

What is “Fundamentalism”? Attempts at definition:

“Fundamentalism” (from The Religious Movements Homepage @ The University of Virginia )
Fundamentalist Islam at Large: The Drive for Power” by Martin Kramer (Middle East Quarterly, June 1996), available on-line from International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism

On foreign policy considerations (“What do we do now?”):

Dr. Hasan-Askari Rizvi speaking at Columbia University (23 Jan. 2002) on Pakistan’s actions against Islamic militancy before and after Sept. 11 (Real video file)

“UN Gearing for Humanitarian Catastrophe in Afghanistan”, a report of the Global Policy Forum
“US Retaliation – The Hopes and Fears of Asia” (from AsiaInt: Weekly Alert, 24 Sept. 2001)
“America’s Crisis: Asian Perspectives” (from AsiaSource)
“The Algebra of Infinite Justice,” by Arundhati Roy (from the Guardian, 29 September 2001)

Reprisals against Muslims in the U.S.:

In the News [The Pluralism Project, Harvard University]
Cases of backlash (from

For a summary of the inflammatory remarks made by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson:
“Verbal assaults . . . by Fundamentalist Christian leaders” (from

Other Resource Collection Websites:

Afghanistan, the Taliban, and the US: selected internet resources (University of California, Berkeley)
September 11 Web Archive (Library of Congress / Internet Archive / / Pew Internet & American Life Project)
Afghanpedia / Sabawoon Online
Institute for Afghan Studies