"Terrorism and Cosmopolitanism" Daniele Archibugi, Italian National Research Council "Can Rational Analysis Break a Taboo?
A Middle Eastern Perspective" Said Amir Arjomand, Sociology, State University of New York at Stony Brook "Responses to 9.11: Individual and Collective Dimensions" Rajeev Bhargava, Political Theory, University of Delhi "Symbols of Destruction" Elemer Hankiss, Sociology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences "September 11th: A Challenge to Whom?
We are told that there is a fault line running through Islam, a line that divides moderate Islam, called genuine Islam, and extremist political Islam. Both have a sense of mission to civilize the world.
The terrorists of September 11, we are told, did not just hijack planes; it is said that they also hijacked Islam, meaning genuine Islam! Both consider the world beyond a sea of ignorance, one that needs to be redeemed.
How, one may ask, does the literal reading of religious texts translate into hijacking, murder, and terrorism?
Some may object that I am presenting a caricature of what we read in the press.
I think of it as an enlightened version, because it does not just speak of the other, but also of self. Even if you should claim to know what is good for humanity, how do you proceed? Do you convince others of the validity of your truth or do you proceed by imposing it on them?
The first alternative gives you reason and evangelism; the second gives you the Crusades.
But in the other part of the world, it stands for habit, for some kind of instinctive activity, whose rules are inscribed in early founding texts, usually religious, and museumized in early artifacts?
When I read of Islam in the papers these days, I often feel I am reading of museumized peoples.
When I read this, or something like this, I wonder if this world of ours is after all divided into two: on the one hand, savages who must be saved before they destroy us all and, on the other, the civilized whose burden it is to save all?
We are now told to give serious attention to culture.
Even more, these people seem incapable of transforming their culture, the way they seem incapable of growing their own food.