This essay is Chapter 15 of Kevin Barrett, John Cobb Jr., and Sandra Lubarsky, eds., 9/11 and American Empire: Christians, Jews, and Muslims Speak Out (Olive Branch Press, 2007).



Yasmin Ahmed


WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, I THOUGHT MY PARENTS WERE CRAZY. I watched my friends attend church camps and youth groups, but for me it was different. We were Muslim, so my parents were afraid. In their paranoia, they thought if we attended a Muslim youth camp—where Muslim teens gather to talk about God and go boating—we would be added to an FBI watch list for being too “actively involved” with our faith. That was before September 11. At that time, their fear was madness.

In the post-9/11 era, simple adherence to the faith of Islam has become a punishable crime. This is almost entirely due to the impact of the 9/11 attacks, which were portrayed as the act of “fundamentalist,” “hyper-religious” Muslims.

What is most ironic, however, is the fact that the accused hijackers were themselves not at all religious. According to many reports, a number of them drank heavily and frequented strip clubs, nude bars and porn shops.1 On September 10, 2001, three of accused hijackers reportedly spent $200 to $300 each on lap dances and drinks in a Florida strip club.2 Following that, two of them were seen with strippers at a bar in Palm Springs where they spent another $1000 on Krug and Perrier-Jouet champagne.3

More importantly, one could not kill innocents and then claim to be a strict follower of a religion that teaches its followers that killing a single innocent is like killing all of humanity, and saving a single innocent is like saving all of humanity.4 And as it turns out, those who knew the accused hijackers report that they were indeed non-practicing Muslims. According to Newsweek, the mayor of Paterson, New Jersey, says of the six hijackers who stayed there: “Nobody ever saw them at mosques, but they liked the go-go clubs.”5 According to Richard Foltz, religion professor at the University of Florida, “It is incomprehensible that a person could drink and go to a strip bar one night, then kill themselves the next day in the name of Islam...”6

Given this description of the notorious “Islamic terrorists,” and the fact that Islam prohibits the slaughter of innocents, it would follow that any successful strategy for fighting terrorism committed by such so-called Muslims should strive to increase their Islamic piety—not decrease it. Unfortunately, the current strategy has been just the opposite. Today, there is a fierce propaganda war, driven by the underlying assumption that Islam itself is the problem—not just some extreme version of it. As a result, seriousness about Islam has been criminalized, and abandonment of the faith has been presented as the solution for the problem of terrorism.

As a result, a devout Muslim who has broken no laws can be considered a criminal simply by virtue of practicing his faith. In December 2004, 39 American citizens learned this lesson well. At the US border with Canada, these citizens were detained, photographed and fingerprinted. The detainees, ranging in age from an infant to men and women in their fifties, were told that at the border they had “no rights.” One woman in her seventh month was even forced to lift her shirt to prove that she was pregnant—an extreme indignity to Muslims, who consider the belly to be among the body’s private parts.7

What crime did these 39 US citizens commit? Their only offense was that they all returned from the same spiritual conference—an Islamic spiritual conference. These citizens were all Muslims, and therefore targets of groundless investigation and harassment. By simply practicing their faith—-because that faith was Islam—-these Americans were automatically considered suspects.

The next year, 2005, was no different. In December, a prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group issued a travel advisory for Muslim citizens attending this same conference or participating in the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).  According to US Newswire, “The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) [was] concerned that American Muslim travelers returning to the United States [would] be singled out by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials for special security checks and fingerprinting based solely on their attendance at both religious events.”8

In what way could a religious pilgrimage to a holy city—during which a pilgrim is forbidden from even hurting a fly—be associated with terrorism? Why are images of prostrating Muslims, in a completely helpless position, so often linked to violence? Why would a woman who chooses to wear the headscarf or a man who prays at the mosque become symbols of militancy? 

The answer lies in the hidden assumptions. If Islam is assumed to be radical by definition, anyone who adheres to it is automatically a militant. If Islam as a faith is deemed criminal, any adherence to it is a crime.

Mona Mayfield understood these rules well when she defended her husband Brandon, wrongfully accused of participating in the March 2004 Madrid bombing. To prove his innocence, Mayfield tried to downplay her husband’s commitment to Islam. She even felt the need to justify his conversion—-as if that were his crime. “We have a Bible in the house. He’s not a fundamentalist—-he thought it was something different and very unique,” Mayfield told the Associated Press of her husband’s conversion to Islam.9

Mosque administrator Shahriar Ahmed took a similar approach to defend Mayfield. “He was seen as a moderate,” Ahmed told reporters. “Mayfield showed up for the Friday ritual of shedding his shoes, washing his bare feet and sitting on the carpets to hear services. He did not, as some devout Muslims do, pray five times a day at the mosque.”10 The implication here is that Brandon Mayfield’s guilt or innocence was somehow related to how many times he prayed at the mosque—and that praying more would be a sign of guilt. Ahmed even went on to assert in Mayfield’s defense, “He was on the less religious side if anything.”11

For most Muslims, who know that facing God five times a day makes it that much harder to contemplate evil actions, such twisted logic is nonsensical. That Muslims are forced to invoke this absurd “devotion equals criminality” paradigm to defend themselves against false charges of terrorism is tragic and humiliating.  Nonetheless, these “less religious” examples of what an “acceptable” Muslim should look like are relentlessly trumpeted by the media. Since Islam is deemed by definition problematic, the ones who have won the much-coveted title of a “moderate Muslim” are actually just those who are only moderately Muslim, and therefore only moderately bad.

In a column entitled “Coulter Wars,” Steve Kellmeyer explains: “There are essentially two kinds [of Muslims]: good Muslims who do their best to be orthodox and follow all the precepts of their faith (whether Sunni, Shiite, etc.), and bad Muslims who do not follow all Muslim precepts... No one has a quarrel with bad Muslims. It is the good Muslims that pose the problems.”12

Ignoring the undisputed fact that the alleged 9/11 hijackers were entirely un-Islamic, the media has succeeded at defining the only acceptable kind of Muslim as a non-practicing one. Irshad Manji, media entrepreneur and author of The Trouble with Islam, is one of the most celebrated of these “moderate” icons. Manji is widely published and has appeared in all the top media outlets.  She even received Oprah’s Chutzpah Award for “gutsiness.”

Although Manji refers to herself as a “Muslim refusenik,” the media constantly touts her as an ideal model of what a “practicing Muslim” should be. Daniel Pipes, a former board member of the United States Institute of Peace, calls her a “courageous, moderate, modern Muslim.” But Manji’s ideas have less to do with Islam than do Pipes’s ideas with peace. A Washington Post article describes Manji’s epiphany about prayer (salaat), the cornerstone of the Islamic faith:

“Instead [of salaat], she said, she began praying on her own. After washing her feet, arms and face, she would sit on a velvet rug and turn toward Mecca. Eventually, she stopped this as well, because she did not want to fall ‘into mindless submission and habitual submissiveness.’”13

Manji is welcome to her opinion about the sacred religious practice of 1.5 billion people worldwide. She is also free to abandon any and all of these practices. But in the media’s ongoing propaganda war, Manji is not simply depicted as what she is—an insignificant woman who decided not to pray. Her personal decision to abandon the central tenet of her faith—so long as that faith is Islam—is portrayed as a fight for freedom, a heroic struggle against tyranny.  She is “courageous” and “gutsy,” a model for other not-too-Islamic Muslims to follow.

Making this the model is like asking someone not to be “too black” or “too Jewish,” as if these were essentially bad or violent, and then going on to portray anyone who struggled only to be “moderately black” or “moderately Jewish” as a freedom fighter. The Washington Post admiringly quoted Manji describing her struggle to change Islam: “The violence is going to happen, then why not risk it happening for the sake of freedom?” Of course.  Freedom is good, so the “they” who supposedly “hate our freedoms”—the Muslims—must be bad. Manji sugar-coats her message, but a business management professor at California’s Imperial Valley College says bluntly how he really feels: “The only way to end Islamic terrorism is to eliminate the Islamic religion.”14

This misunderstanding of Islam is not just genocidal, but deeply ironic.15 In actuality, Islam calls its followers to stand up firmly for justice and oppose all evil. The Qur’an describes the believers as those “enjoining what is good, opposing what is evil, and believing in God.”16 Moreover, Islam as a faith calls for moderation in all things. The Qur’an states: “Thus, have We made you a people of the middle path.”17 A key Islamic concept is tawazzun, translated as “balance” or “harmonious equilibrium.” The very word Islam comes from a root meaning “peace.”

Since Islam is moderate in its very essence, it would follow that the more one adheres to its fundamentals, the more moderate one will be. It is, therefore, not surprising that those accused of committing such evil acts as the 9/11 attacks were in fact those who have abandoned the precepts of their faith. Unfortunately, despite this fact, The 9/11 Commission Report completely ignores the abundant evidence that the nineteen hijackers were utterly un-Islamic.18

Even more unfortunate, the mass media has played along, originally reporting on the alleged hijackers’ un-Islamic lifestyles, then consigning those stories to the memory hole and continuing to blame 9/11 on “Islamic extremists.”

This insistence on a nonexistent religious connection to the crime of the century is unusual to say the least. In ordinary news coverage religious affiliation is never reported in a crime. It is considered irrelevant. Nobody knows—or cares—that Jeffrey Dahmer was raised in a born-again Christian home or that Timothy McVeigh was a strong Catholic who talked about defending Christian America. Religion remains irrelevant—except of course if the criminal happens to be Muslim. In that case it is relevant enough to appear in the headline. Even when so-called Muslim criminals commit a crime, and never claim their crime had anything to do with their religion, that claim is made for them by the media. When the sniper in Washington, DC, turned out to be a member of the Nation of Islam (a religion distinct from Islam) CNN  reported in the headline that he was an “Islam convert.”19 Notice that although the sniper himself never claimed his crime had anything to do with his religion, CNN felt that it did. He wasn’t a criminal armed with a gun.  He was a man armed with a criminal religion. 

When a Christian gunman walked into a church meeting and killed seven people last year, the headlines didn’t read: “Christian Suicide Shooter Kills Seven.” And when Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish settler from New York, walked into the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and gunned down 29 Muslims while they prayed, no one in the mainstream media blamed Judaism.20 And no one even expected Christians and Jews all over the world to condemn these acts of terrorism. It was assumed that they were committed in spite of Christianity and Judaism—not because of them. Islam, however, is not afforded this same good will. When a Muslim commits a crime, it is Islam that goes on trial.

And so after 9/11, many people turned to the Qur’an to see what could have motivated those heinous acts. Yet, I doubt anyone opened the Bible to find out what motivated Jeffery Dahmer to kill and eat seventeen people. Dahmer was just a crazy man. But Mohamed Atta, we are falsely told, was a sane man following a crazy religion.21

And so it follows that if Islam itself is the problem, and perceived as “militant” by definition, it would follow that anyone who chooses to actually adhere to it is automatically labeled a “militant Islamist” and considered an enemy. Suddenly, praying and wearing a headscarf becomes tantamount to terror. 

Just last week I opened a magazine only to see the unfortunately familiar image of a man praying with a gun at his side. This connection is so deeply ingrained that there have been numerous incidents of people calling the FBI because they saw a Muslim praying.

But as it turns out, this irrational fear of Muslims has proven to be quite unsubstantiated. Although thousands of Muslims have been profiled, detained and questioned since 9/11, an FBI report obtained by ABC News admits flatly that “to date, we have not identified any true ‘sleeper’ agents in the US.” The report goes on to say: “US Government efforts to date also have not revealed evidence of concealed cells or networks acting in the homeland as sleepers.”22

But America is undeniably at war. And so the obvious question is: if we’ve found no US terror cells and Iraq had no connection to 9/11 and harbored no WMDs, what exactly are we at war against? James Schall, professor of government at Georgetown University, tells us what: “I always thought it was a mistake not to say what Iraq really was, that is, a war against an expanding Islam.” Schall is the author of policy papers for Hoover Institute, one of the largest and most influential US think tanks.23 Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, agrees. Pipes told FrontPage magazine that he would advise President Bush to “announce that the ‘War on Terror’ has been redefined as the ‘War on Militant Islam.’”24 When asked to define his version of a “militant” Muslim, Pipes told an audience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that a “militant” Muslim was anyone who believed “Islam is the solution.”25 It is crucial to note that Pipes’ definition had nothing to do with violence or extremism. Rather, it was simply anyone who took Islam seriously enough to think it could actually solve problems in his or her life. The question is, if someone did not believe Islam could solve their problems, why would they bother being Muslim at all?

While Pipes is careful to use the euphemistic prefix “militant,” Lawrence Auster of FrontPage magazine is more blunt. Auster writes: “The problem is not ‘radical’ Islam but Islam itself, from which it follows that we must seek to weaken and contain Islam.”26 Ann Coulter elaborates: “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity.”27

But those who know you can’t “convert them to Christianity,” as suggested by Coulter, have taken a more subtle approach to solving the “problem” of Islam. If you can’t convince people not to practice their “problematic” religion, launch a stealth campaign to alter that religion and make it less “problematic.”

In a four-month US News & World Report investigation of more than 100 interviews and a dozen internal government reports and memorandums a “previously undisclosed effort was identified.” According to an April 25, 2005 US News & World Report article: “Washington is plowing tens of millions of dollars into a campaign to influence not only Muslim societies but Islam itself.”28 The article continues: “Although US officials say they are wary of being drawn into a theological battle, many have concluded that America can no longer sit on the sidelines as radicals and moderates fight over the future of a politicized religion with over a billion followers.” As a result, “the White House has approved a classified new strategy, dubbed Muslim World Outreach, that for the first time states that the United States has a national security interest in influencing what happens within Islam.”

Does it matter that the First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances?” Our government doesn’t seem to think so. And neither does RAND, the influential think tank that receives $140 million a year from the government to define US policy. In the RAND report Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, Strategies, Cheryl Benard writes:

“There is no question that contemporary Islam is in a volatile state, engaged in an internal and external struggle over its values, its identity, and its place in the world. Rival versions are contending for spiritual and political dominance. This conflict has serious costs and economic, social, political, and security implications for the rest of the world. Consequently, the West is making an increased effort to come to terms with, to understand, and to influence the outcome of this struggle.”29

The key word here is “influence.” RAND and the White House seem to both agree that when it comes to Islam, they can no longer afford to abide by the constitutional separation of church and state. Instead Washington is taking a leading role in defining what Islam should mean to Muslims. Benard writes:

“Modernism, not traditionalism, is what worked for the West. This included the necessity to depart from, modify, and selectively ignore elements of the original religious doctrine... There are definite indications that change can be effected in Islam. In fact, some explicit and quite major departures from Quranic norms have historically already taken place.”(37)

Note the blatant egoism and ethnocentrism. Benard does not seem to fathom the possibility that what worked for the West may not necessarily work best for the rest of humanity. To claim that the West knows better how all others should practice religion is arrogant at best. Worse yet, such supercilious self-righteousness precludes dialogue or any hope of effective policy.

And yet RAND openly calls for such a strategy. To further this policy, Benard suggests supporting the so-called modernist Muslims against other Muslims. Benard says, “The modernist vision matches our own” (37). She also explains, “The modernists find concepts within Islamic orthodoxy that support the right of Muslims, as individuals and as communities, to make changes and revisions even to basic laws and texts” (7).

Who are the “Modernists”?

Under the heading “Modernism Has Respected Intellectuals and Leader” Benard refers to Khaled Abou El Fadl, a professor of Islamic law at UCLA, whom she describes as “A well-regarded modernist scholar and author, [whose] writings criticize the ‘rampant apologetics’ of traditionalists and the ‘authoritarian, puritanical’ approach of the fundamentalists alike” (38). Abou El Fadl is known to represent the views of a group that calls themselves “progressive Muslims.” His essay on tolerance appears in the book Progressive Muslims, edited by Omid Safi. On November 15, 2004—just eight months after the release of the first RAND report—the Progressive Muslim Union (PMU) was created with Aiman Mackie, a previous employee of RAND, on the board of directors.

Why RAND supports the Modernists

Abou El Fadl admits that there may be an “irresolvable conflict” between the literal Qur’anic text and contemporary (Western) values—which he calls “the individual conscience.” In such a conflict, Abou El Fadl argues that so long as one has exhausted all ways of explaining away the text, one should disregard the Qur’anic “determination” in favor of one’s “conscience.” In his book Speaking in God’s Name, he writes:

“It is also possible that an adequate resolution would not be found, and that the individual conscience and the textual determination continue to be pitted in an irresolvable conflict. I argue that as long as a person has exhausted all the possible avenues towards resolving the conflict, in the final analysis, Islamic theology requires that a person abide by the dictates of his or her conscience.”30

Abou El Fadl’s position has very dangerous implications. If a distraught “individual conscience” cries out for revenge, is the individual then free to ignore Islamic injunctions against the slaughter of innocents? Does not such “modernism” open the door to terrorist acts, as well as other evil actions prohibited by Islamic scripture and tradition?

But as a result of the modernists’ willingness to change Islam to fit dominating Western sensibilities, Benard calls for the US to “support the modernists first, enhancing their vision of Islam over that of the traditionalists by providing them with a broad platform to articulate and disseminate their views.” She continues: “They, not the traditionalists, should be cultivated and publicly presented as the face of contemporary Islam.”31 Benard also suggests that the US should “use popular regional media, such as radio, to introduce the thoughts and practices of modernist Muslims to broaden the international view of what Islam means and can mean.”32

What Exactly Does This “Support” Entail?

In order to redefine Islam and make the “modernist” version of Islam dominate, Benard suggests the following strategies:

“The modernists and secularists are closest to the West in terms of values and policies. However, they are generally in a weaker position than the other groups, lacking powerful backing, financial resources, an effective infrastructure, and a public platform. The secularists, besides sometimes being unacceptable as allies on the basis of their broader ideological affiliation, also have trouble addressing the traditional sector of an Islamic audience... That role falls to the Islamic modernists, whose effectiveness, however, has been limited by a number of constraints, which this report will explore. To encourage positive change in the Islamic world toward... compatibility with the contemporary international world order, the United States and the West need to consider very carefully which elements, trends, and forces within Islam they intend to strengthen; what the goals and values of their various potential allies and protégés really are; and what the broader consequences of advancing their respective agendas are likely to be. A mixed approach composed of the following elements is likely to be the most effective:

Support the modernists first:

1.    Publish and distribute their works at subsidized cost.

2.    Encourage them to write for mass audiences and for youth.

3.    Introduce their views into the curriculum of Islamic education.

4.    Give them a public platform.

5.    Make their opinions and judgments on fundamental questions of religious interpretation available to a mass audience in competition with those of the fundamentalists and traditionalists, who have Web sites, publishing houses, schools, institutes, and many other vehicles for disseminating their views.

6.    Position secularism and modernism as a ‘counterculture’ option for disaffected Islamic youth.

7.    Facilitate and encourage an awareness of their pre- and non-Islamic history and culture, in the media and the curricula of relevant countries.

8.    Assist in the development of independent civic organizations, to promote civic culture and provide a space for ordinary citizens to educate themselves about the political process and to articulate their views.”

Benard goes on to say:

“Whichever approach or mix of approaches is chosen, we recommend that it be done with careful deliberation, in knowledge of the symbolic weight of certain issues; the meaning likely to be assigned to the alignment of US policymakers with particular positions on these issues; the consequences of these alignments for other Islamic actors, including the risk of endangering or discrediting the very groups and people we are seeking to help; and the opportunity costs and possible unintended consequences of affiliations and postures that may seem appropriate in the short term.”

Following Benard’s prescription almost to the letter, the media has indeed provided a platform for only one view of Islam: the view RAND calls “modernist,” Abou El Fadl calls “progressive,” and Daniel Pipes calls “moderate.”

Muslim media stars such as Asra Nomani, Irshad Manji, and Amina Wadud represent a view of Islam that in no way characterizes the beliefs of the majority of Muslims in the United States and around the world. And yet, these same people represent the only voice of mainstream Islam conveyed by the media. Why is this? Because, according to Benard, these are the icons who present a face of Islam that is closest to a certain Western sensibility. It doesn’t seem to matter whether that face is true to Islam or not. Still less does it matter whether such “modernism” would open the door to heinous acts, including terrorism, that are clearly prohibited by Islamic scripture.

A quick perusal of major US newspapers and media outlets will make very clear which brand of Islam is being sold. More importantly, it will become clear that this is the only brand being sold. There is only one Muslim voice being heard, and oddly enough that voice is the voice of a small and unrepresentative minority. Tragically, this misleading monologue is precluding the possibility of honest dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Toward Finding a Real Solution

In order to solve any problem, one must first understand its true cause. Attempting to solve a problem without understanding its roots will be futile as best. At worst, such misguided “solutions” tend to backfire and worsen the very problems to which they were addressed. Prior to the current “war on terrorism,” the US was still moderately popular in most of the Islamic world. Since then, US policies in the Muslim world have only fueled more hatred and resentment, and the RAND attempt to give Islam a facelift will certainly contribute to the further alienation of Muslims. 

Terrorism must be correctly understood before it can be prevented. Until now, terrorism has been perceived and portrayed as a problem of “Islamic fundamentalism.” As a result, the current strategy to solve this problem has amounted to a campaign against full adherence to Islam. However, a simple look at the profiles of those who actually engage in such violence suggests that it is disengagement from Islam that has led to violence. The accused 9/11 hijackers were in no way practicing Muslims and lived their lives in ways that contradict the teachings of Islam. It should therefore be of no surprise that such people would also disregard Islam’s forceful prohibition with regards to killing innocents. From the devastating events that occurred on 9/11 and after, one clear and inarguable fact emerges: The violence committed today by so-called Muslims is being committed in spite of Islam—not because of it.

In fact, a look at the profiles of those who even support violence makes clear that such support is not driven by religion at all. The Washington Post reported that a recent Gallup poll of 8,000 Muslims throughout the Muslim world found “supporters of terrorism—defined as those who applauded the 9/11 attacks—were no more religious than other Muslims and tended to be better-educated and more affluent.” Muslims who agreed that religion “was an important part of your daily life” and Muslims who attended regular prayer services were no more likely to back terrorism than those who did not, according to surveys in eight Muslim countries.

However, the same Gallup poll found that one factor did distinguish supporters of terrorism from non-supporters. That factor was “belief in self-determination.” According to the poll, “Extremists were only half as likely as moderates to believe that the United States would allow people in the Middle East to fashion their own political future.”34 The poll shows that it is political grievances that drive the deep-seated anger. Whether it is the bombing and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, unbridled US support for Israel, or US backing for dictatorships in the Arab world, one thing is very clear: The grievances are political, not religious. 

Therefore, in order to address the real causes of terrorism, we must address these political grievances and defuse their ability to transform a potential friend into a bitter enemy. Furthermore, we must step away from the ethnocentric view that whatever worked for the West must by definition be what is best for all of humanity.  We must stop believing and acting according to the notion that we know best how the rest of the world should live and believe. 

So far, the US engagement with Islam has been nothing more than a blatant attempt to redefine and mold beliefs and practices that are not ours to define or mold. By imposing our own Western frame of reference, we presume that our way of life is superior and therefore must be enforced upon all others. At best, this is arrogance; at worst, oppression. Moreover, such a strategy simply won’t work. It has not solved, and will not solve, the problem of terrorism. Indeed, it has only worsened it. This type of self-righteous imposition of “our way of life” on the rest of the world only perpetuates a climate of resentment and anger. 

Until we can begin to understand Islam on its own terms and stop trying to mold it into what we think it ought to be given our own unique perspectives and experiences, we will continue to misunderstand the problem and miss the solution. Honest dialogue, peace, and coexistence will only be possible when we extend to others what we insist upon for ourselves: the right to determine one’s own destiny.



1 Kevin Fagan, “Agents of Terror Leave their Mark on Sin City: Las Vegas Workers Recall the Men They Can’t Forget,” San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 4, 2001 (; Evan Thomas, “Cracking the Terror Code,” Newsweek, Oct. 15, 2001.

2 Shelly Murphy and Douglas Belkin, “Hijackers Said to Seek Prostitutes,” Boston Globe, Oct. 10, 2001.

3 Eric Bailey, “It Was A Little Strange. Most People Want To Do Take-Offs And Landings. All They Did Was Turns,” Daily Mail, Sept. 16, 2001 ( 

4 Qur’an, 5:32.

5 Thomas, “Cracking the Terror Code.”

6 Jody A. Benjamin, “Suspects’ Actions Don’t Add Up,” Sun-Sentinel, Sept. 16 2001 ( 

7 Carolyn Thompson, “Muslims Claim Unfair Treatment at Border,” Associated Press, Dec. 30, 2004.

8 “CAIR Issues Travel Advisory for US Muslims; ‘Civil Rights Hotline’ Created for Hajj Pilgrims, Canada Conference Attendees,” US Newswire, Dec. 20, 2005 ( 

9 Associated Press, “Mayfield’s Wife Denies Leaving Country for 10 Years,” King5 Seattle News, May 7, 2004 (

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 Steve Kellmeyer, “Coulter Wars,” Nov. 30, 2004 ( 

13 “She’s Got Chutzpah,” O: The Oprah Magazine, May 2004 (

14 DeNeen L. Brown, “‘Muslim Refusenik’ Incites Furor With Critique of Faith: Canadian’s Book Challenges Treatment of Women Under Islam,” Washington Post Foreign Service, Jan. 19, 2004 ( 

15 Bill Gay, news release, Imperial Valley College, Oct. 22, 2004 ( 

16 The contested term genocide can refer to any effort to obliterate a religious or ethnic group. An effort to “eliminate the Islamic religion” would be the largest genocide attempt in history, since that religion has well over a billion adherents.

17 Qur’an, 3:110.

18 Qur’an, 2:143.

19 National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report, 2004 (

20 “Muhammad a Gulf War Vet, Islam Convert,” CNN, Jan. 26, 2004 ( 

21 Patrick Cockburn, “Mass Killer Given Status of a Saint,” Independent, June 19, 1998 ( 


23 ABC News, March 9, 2005, (

24 John Vinocur, “Politics: Bush might be heading for tangle with neocons,” International Herald Tribune, January 11, 2005. 

25 Jamie Glazov, “Frontpage Interview: Daniel Pipes,”, Dec. 16, 2003 (

26 Daniel Pipes, “Three Wars: Iraq, Terrorism and the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, April 29, 2003. 

27 Lawrence Auster, “The Search for Moderate Islam,”, Jan. 28, 2005 (

28 Ann Coulter, “This Is War,” Sept. 13, 2001 (

29 David E. Kaplan, “Hearts, Minds, and Dollars,” U.S. News & World Report, April 25, 2005.

30 Cheryl Benard, “Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, Strategies,” RAND-National Security Research Division (Santa Monica: RAND Corporation, 2003; available at, ix.

31 Khaled Abou El-Fadl, Speaking in God’s Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2001), 94.

32 Benard, 47.

33 Ibid., 48.

34 Richard Morin, “A Terrifying Truth About Terrorism,” Washington Post, May 11, 2006 (

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Yasmin Ahmed is a young American Muslim journalist. Having received her Master's degree in Journalism/Mass Communications, she is now a writing instructor and free lance writer.