Ebrahim Moosa - ANALYSIS | 28 September 212
Appearing as a guest on a recent episode of my talkshow, an Egyptian blogger made the compelling observation that the ongoing conflagrations between the Western and Islamic Worlds did indeed warrant the epithet of a ‘Clash of Civilisations’. “On the one hand we have a community that resolutely reveres the sacred,” he argued, “whilst at the other end we have a civilisation that is devout in its ‘worship’ of the concept of Free Speech.”
Ahmed Hafez’s analysis did strike a chord with me in so far as it unmasked the eroding morality of the leadership of the Western world. As has been noted by someone else, a civilisation in which nothing is considered sacred may have difficulty in understanding the values of a civilisation in which the sacred is all that counts. Yet, notwithstanding this merit of his comparison, I felt compelled to highlight the duplicity of the West even in this passionate faith that it is now professing in Free Speech.
Bluntly put, the claim that there is freedom of speech in America and the West is a big lie, as was demonstrated by Saman Mohammadi recently. Muslims protest the desecration of the legacy of Muhammed [PBUH] because he is considered sacred. Likewise, as bitter a pill it as it may be for the West to swallow, it too has sacred narratives and sacred myths that have been submissively upheld by the self-censorship of its mainstream media. “In the West the official 9/11 story can’t be criticized because it is sacred,” wrote Mohammadi. “Sure, you can criticize Islam and foreign countries, but there are social and political restrictions upon speech when the 9/11 lie or the crimes of Israel are brought up for discussion.”
The vicious trick that he says is used to cover up this blatant double standard is the “conspiracy theory” label. According to him, this label is the peaceful way of cutting off a heretic’s head in the West. “People who use the label “conspiracy theorist” in a debate about the 9/11 events are intellectual savages who have the sword of error in their hand. They can’t win the battle of ideas with rational arguments so they pull out their sword and tell you to submit to the official U.S. line on 9/11 or face the axe of ridicule. The individuals who refuse to kneel are branded as “conspiracy theorists,” and “crazy truthers.” “
This axe has been wielded recurringly in the past decade to silence and defame the wide range of personalities who have fearlessly voiced their doubts about the officially-marketed version of the events of 9/11. Architects and engineers, intelligence and military officers, journalists, actors and artists, firefighters, scholars and scientists all form part of the long list of free-thinking individuals who have found their professional integrity and patriotism questioned for merely sharing a cogent and factually based viewpoint.
In exercising their supposedly sacred right to freedom of speech, they have surprisingly found formidable adversaries in the very occupants of high office who claim to be its custodians.
Delivering his verdict on the responses to the anti-Muslim film at UN this week, American President Barack Obama waxed lyrical about his administration’s purportedly liberal values. “Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech,” he claimed. “As president of our country, and commander in chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so.”
The same exuberance however was noticeably absent from his 2009 Cairo address to the Muslim world, where the president denounced 9/11 revisionism in no uncertain terms. “I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11,” he said. “But let us be clear: al-Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.” It was a familiar refrain. His predecessor, George W. Bush had emphatically declared in 2001, “Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th, malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists.”
What is clear is that millions of people are religiously wedded to the official account of 9/11, says Mohammadi. “The reaction to 9/11 truth statements is blind rage, hate, and contempt. And it is deeply religious.”
Last year, zealots cried heresy when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad highlighted the need to establish a fact-finding team to undertake a thorough investigation concerning the hidden elements involved in September 11, before the United Nations. Despite significant global approval for a number of his contentions-including within the United States, media has successfully maligned him as an “ever-controversial” figure, whose mere presence sparks boycotts and walkouts.
Preoccupied by nuclear negotiations and stifling sanctions, the Ahmadinejad of 2012 at the UN was a more subdued character who chose his words carefully. Still, he was not exempt from the smears. Nor were the 9/11 thought police content with Ahmadinejad being their only target.
In the USA for the first time since his democratic election, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was picked up on the 9/11 radar.
A September 11 op-ed appearing in the Washington Post entitled, Getting Egypt’s Morsi to give up his 9/11 ‘truther’ talk, expressed concern that expected centre of attraction at this year’s General Assembly “has also embraced some of the most vile conspiracy theories about 9/11.” Among the “odious views” it lamented were comments Morsi made in 2010 that dismissed ‘al-Qaeda’s’ responsibility for the attacks. “When you come and tell me that the plane hit the tower like a knife in butter, then you are insulting us,” Foreign Policy’s Shadi Hamid reported Morsi as saying. “How did the plane cut through the steel like this? Something must have happened from the inside. It’s impossible.” The article also cited Morsi’s declaration that the United States “has never presented any evidences on the identity of those who committed that incident.” and his call for a “huge scientific conference” to analyze “what caused the attack against a massive structure like the two towers.”
“We have officially demanded a fair trial for 9/11 suspects and the issuance of a detailed scientific report about the attacks, but the U.S. administration did not respond till now,” Mr. Morsi told Ikhwanweb. “Should this happen, we will stand firmly against whoever committed this horrific crime against innocent civilians.”
As an engineer with a PhD in materials science, Morsi would surely know better about the principles of scientific inquiry than the journalists penning that op-ed. In raising such questions, he would also be amplifying the popular mandate that has been entrusted to him: 75 percent of Egyptians still reject the allegation that Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks, as a Pew study reported in July 2011.
All of this appears inconsequential to the upholders of 9/11 mythology. For them, persuading Muslims to set the record straight is a condition for any “successful counterterrorism strategy.”
“Obama should explicitly condition any meeting with Morsi on the latter’s clear and public renunciation of 9/11 revisionism. This position would present Morsi with a stark choice: He can either repudiate the hate-filled conspiracies that he has helped to sow and reap the benefits of Obama’s embrace, or he can expose himself as an irresponsible ideologue with whom few members of the international community will want to deal. “
The Washington Post’s ultimatum to Morsi stands in stark contrast to the lax standards of free speech mainstream media and politicians have sought to uphold in the wake of the “Innocence of Muslims” saga, and only serves to underscore the ‘sacredness’ of 9/11 mythology to the West in maintaining its current hegemony.
For Morsi – whose aides recently reaffirmed his skepticism of the official version of 9/11 – his demonstrable independence is noteworthy, especially as his Egypt now assumes a heavyweight role in the new Middle East.
Equally gratifying is his indictment of the entrenched double standards of the international order and elucidation of his vision for the responsible usage of Free Speech, which he eloquently articulated before the United Nations this week.
9/11, Ahmadinejad, Al Qaeda, Bush, conspiracy theories, Ebrahim Moosa, Morsi, Obama, September 11, Washington Post
Egypt would like to stress that the international system will not get fixed as long as the application of double standards remains. We expect from others, as they expect from us, that they respect our cultural particularities and religious points of reference, and not seek to impose concepts that are unacceptable to us or politicize certain issues and use them as a pretext to intervene in the affairs of others.
What Muslims and migrants are going through in a number of regions worldwide, in terms of discrimination and violation of their human rights, and vicious campaigns against what they hold sacred, is unacceptable. It is opposed to the most basic principles of the Charter of the Organization where we meet today. These practices have become pervasive enough thatthey now carry a name: Islamophobia.
We must join hands in confronting these regressive ideas that hinder cooperation among us. We must act together in the face of extremism, discrimination, and incitement to hatred on the basis of religion or race. The General Assembly, as well as the Security Council, has the principal responsibility in addressing this phenomenon that is starting to have implications that clearly affect international peace and security.
The obscenities recently released as part of an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities is unacceptable and requires a firm stand. We have a responsibility in this international gathering to study how we can protect the world from instability and hatred. Egypt respects freedom of expression.
One that is not used to incite hatred against anyone. One that is not directed towards one specific religion or culture.
A freedom of expression that tackles extremism and violence. Not the freedom of expression that deepens ignorance and disregards others.