What is the Reason Behind September 11th

After the events of September 11th, many of us continue to have a mental picture of Moslems celebrating in the streets with joy over America's misfortune. However, Mark Ritchie, shows another side of the face of Islam--how did 9/11 affect Muslims? In his book God in the Pits: the Enron-Jihad Edition, Ritchie cites the "mountain of misunderstanding" in an attempt to understand what is the reason behind September 11th.

September 11 Terrorist Attacks

For now, there is the mountain of misunderstanding that exists between the East and the West which has my attention. It persists to this day. It threatens immeasurable misery on an entire race of people, people who have endeared themselves to me. And they would endear themselves to you if you had the good fortune to become acquainted with them.

How Did 9/11 Affect Muslims

Let me provide some examples of the misunderstanding. In the wake of the 9/11 attack, you might assume that I would have abandoned my opinion that Moslems are the warmest, kindest, and most hospitable people in the world. Your assumption is based on our misunderstanding of Islamic people.

In the week following the attack, I received the following E-mail from a Moslem friend, an Afghan refugee in Pakistan:

Dear Uncle Mr. Mark,
Many, many regards to you and to your lovely family. I wish great God give you and your family a lot of happiness that you and your friends want it. I wish a good time for you and for your people. I know you and your people are so sad. My dear uncle I feel your sorrow. The time that I saw that news on BBC news we cried. I felt that I was there I remember the time that we left our home in Kabul. On that day 1500 rocket attacked on Kabul we saw lots of died body on the street I never forget that day. I feel you, because we saw many of these bad days in our life it is 24 years that the war is continue in our country. I wish good life and complete health for all people who are injured I wish I was there to help them. I am really sorry about them.

Love always,


How can one Moslem sacrifice his life to kill innocent people while another Moslem, just as sincere, expresses heartfelt empathy for the victims? Feeling mildly schizophrenic between the ears? That's a good thing; you are staring up at the mountain of misunderstanding to which I refer. The truth is that both of these acts, the violence and the empathy, are entirely consistent with Islam. But for my purpose, I wish to understand the Islamic thinking behind September eleven; this will require us to understand when it is right for a Moslem to kill.

If you are a member of my American audience, your first grade teacher taught you that if you have a problem on the playground with someone who is very different, you should treat them the same way you would like to be treated. She might have asked you, "How would you like it if someone did that to you?" Our culture values the golden rule whether we follow Jesus or not. Even those of us who weren't taught anything about Jesus, were taught that love works better than hate. Martin Luther King modeled and proved the power of love and non-violence. He was merely following Jesus.

The nineteen hijackers had no such teaching and no such example. Their only means of combating evil was with power.

I have no intention of defending in any way the action of the nineteen hijackers on September 11th, 2001. My goal is to help us in the West to see how easy it was for nineteen men who had never once been exposed to the love and the teachings of Jesus to be seduced into violence.

Excerpt from God in the Pits, The Enron-Jihad Edition, by Mark Andrew Ritchie
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