Recently one of my American friends asked me to explain how the Arabs felt when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened. I have the impression that many (or maybe most) Americans think that the vast majority of Arabs were glad when al-Qaeda hit America and killed thousands of innocent Americans. That makes me so sad although I don’t find it really surprising because I do watch American media and I know that most Americans don’t hear anything about our part of the world except conflicts and problems. Arabs also do have misunderstandings about the Americans and the West in general. I hope I can clear up some of these misunderstandings by what I am going to write.

I still remember how shocked we were as we watched TV and saw two planes hit the two towers full of people. It was really heartbreaking to see people throwing themselves out windows. How can any human being rejoice when he/she sees innocents being killed in such a vicious way? All of the Arabs I heard in our media strongly condemned the attacks. In addition, all of the famous and well-known Muslim scholars condemned what happened and they made it clear that killing innocents is one of the biggest crimes in Islam and God severely punishes those who do it. I do not deny that maybe there are few weirdos who felt glad because of what happened but the vast majority were just sad and shocked like the rest of the world.

Susanne told me once,” Honestly, most Americans have the impression that Muslims do not condemn the terrorists who do crimes in Islam’s name. And that makes them bad as much as the terrorists themselves who actually do the crimes.” I immediately answered,” We always condemn them and the evil they do but unfortunately your media does not listen to our voices.” Most Americans do not know that terrorists and extremists like al-Qaeda type had been our enemies long before they became famous to the world. Actually, they killed more Muslims than others. They have a long bloody history of violence and murder against the Algerians and the Egyptians. Everyone knows how they murdered Muslims in Pakistan, Iraq, Morocco and Jordan. According to their ideology, all of our Muslim societies are corrupt and therefore they consider us their enemies. That’s why I find it so strange when someone accuses us of supporting our own enemies who want to hurt us.

I wish Americans and Arabs would just discuss things honestly with each other away from the media so they can clear many of the misunderstandings that are separating between us and making it hard for us to trust each other. In my next post, I will thoroughly discuss the misunderstandings that Arabs have about the Americans and most importantly the reasons behind these misunderstandings which are not known by most Americans.

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