International Terrorism Has Brought With it Destruction Essay

Pages: 8 (2646 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Terrorism

International terrorism has brought with it destruction, bloodshed, the killing of untold thousands of innocent people, political reprisals and fear. But along with these unconscionable terror-related strategies and tactics, many innocent people of Islamic faith have been erroneously linked to fanatical Muslims merely because of their dress or their place of origin. This paper highlights the ethno-national identity problem that has resulted from the widely disseminated negative publicity created by suicide bombers and other terrorists who claim to share Muslim faith -- but whose violent interpretation of the Qur'an is very different from true believers of the faith -- that have launched attacks based on twisted political sensibilities.

Border Security in the European Union

An article in the European Journal of Migration and Law examines the way in which the European Union (EU) members have approached security at their borders subsequent to the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001. Lessons were learned from those attacks, and the EU has instituted policies that it believes will reduce the "…vulnerability to attack" through security technology… [including] the use of biometric features in passports, visas, residence permits and identity documents" (Baldaccini, 2008, p. 32). Even with the use of advanced technologies, the chances of intercepting a potential terrorist is "tenuous," Baldaccini explains, because terrorists often cross borders "legally" and tend to reside in the host county "legitimately" (p. 33).

In fact the terrorists that attacked the U.S. And Madrid (in 2004) had legitimate permits and ID cards; and the four Islamic radicals, all of they quite young, that launched the bloody suicide attacks in London's subways, were citizens of the UK. Still, the newest technologies that are in operation in the EU use biometrics, a unique identifying technology that uses physical characteristics like facial features, the configuration of patterns in a person's eye (iris), and certain fingerprints as well (Baldaccini, p. 33). In producing the technologies that are needed to be able to catch fraudulent visas at the borders, the EU security officials proposed the use of digitized photos and fingerprints to be built into the visas with a computer chip in the visa sticker, and the EU recommended there be a residence permit in the passport of individuals. However, this approach was not approved, and is not in place at this time.

One can clearly see though that the EU was trying to prevent terrorists from gaining access to any of the countries in the EU; and as for Britain, the UK Borders Act was published in October 2007 and it requires the foreign nationals to provide biometric information "on demand" to compare it with existing information.

Meanwhile, databases throughout the EU have been developed based on the notion that every State has a "sovereign right to obtain all the information it deems necessary from people who seek to enter its territory" (Baldaccini, 48-49).

Pakistani Communities Post-9/11

An article in the journal Anthropology & Medicine alludes to the "international tensions" that were stirred up following September 11 and the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those tensions have also created fears in the immigrant communities -- and the media has contributed to those fears, as authors Cecile Rousseau and Uzma Jamil explain in this article. The authors note that a great deal of research has been conducted and published regarding the "negative representations of Muslims in the West" but not much has been presented regarding immigrant Muslims (Rousseau, et al., 2008).

The article's authors conducted research in reference to the how international terrorism -- and the publicity surrounding negative representations of Muslims per se -- has played out in Pakistani immigrant communities in Canada and Karachi, Pakistan.

As to how the current international tensions are affecting the Pakistani communities, Rousseau explains that the Pakistani group in Montreal was very reluctant to participate in the interviews that Rousseau and Jamil planned to conduct. They put of "significant resistance" due to the "sensitive nature" of the topic (terrorism and Muslims). The group in Montreal that agreed to be interviewed (but they refused to be video taped) consisted of two women, six men, and two young people (between 20 and 22 years of age).

There were a total of ten interviews conducted, all face-to-face in Urdu (except for one that was done in English). In Montreal there are (or were at the time of this research). The immigrants interviewed in Montreal were of low socioeconomic means, and the authors recruited them due to the fact that they were frequent customers in a grocery store in a suburb of Montreal.

Meanwhile in Karachi, a sprawling city in the southern province of Sind in Pakistan (population around 15 million), it was an ideal place for the authors to do their research because is contrasts sharply with the immigrant group in Montreal. All the interviews were conducted in the Pakistani language (Urdu) and the authors held ten semi-structured interviews with four men, five women, and one young person. This group -- unlike the immigrants in Montreal -- were "either working middle class or upper middle class" (Rousseau, 165). The participants in Karachi had more education than the immigrants in Montreal and hence a reader of this report would assume that answers to the questions presented to the immigrants in Canada would be different than those provided by the respondents in Karachi.

That assumption would be wrong, because both groups arrived at the same conclusion about the terrorist attacks in the U.S. In fact, while Western mainstream viewpoints universally point the finger at al-Qaeda and bin Laden in terms of what group was responsible for the attacks in Washington (Pentagon) and New York City (World Trade Center), the Muslims interviewed for this article believe that the officials of the United States were the perpetrators of the attacks.

"Bin Laden and/or al-Qaeda were not even named as possible perpetrators" of the attacks Rousseau explains (166). This is truly an ethno-national identity issue, because the most common response from these two groups of Muslims was that "they did it themselves"; the "they" refers either "implicitly or explicitly to the Americans generally, but included a wide range of actors" (Rousseau, 166). Those actors included the CIA, "the Jews, other groups in the pay of the Americans, any and/or all of the above" (Rousseau, 166).

There was no hesitation or uncertainty when these participants were queried about who carried out the attacks on September 11, 2001. The respondents did not ask each other about their views, and there was no "systematic critique" of their answers. Indeed many of those Muslims interviewed said that their perspective "…was obvious to everyone, and self-evident within an undefined 'us' group" (Rousseau, 166).

Why were they so sure the Americans did it to themselves? Rousseau explains that the groups believed that the U.S. had "advance knowledge of the attacks" -- and how did they Muslims know that? They arrived at that conclusion by a process of "indirect argumentation" and they often used the world in Urdu that means "proof" to support their firmly held contentions. It is worthy in this context to present what a 40-year-old woman said in order to explain her belief that it was the Americans themselves.

"Over there, they have such a high security system…they have very fast media which gets to know things beforehand…this was their own secret conspiracy, that they did it themselves. To the extent that people even said they had their high ranked people like military generals, their educated people, removed from the building beforehand. How could the building be empty otherwise? By empty, I mean that it was such a huge building and so very number of people were reported dead. It means that had already evacuated some people, their important generals, before this incident took place…" (Rousseau, 166).

The viewpoints expressed lead Rousseau and Jamil to posit that the Muslims assumed that because the United States is such a strong and powerful nation it would not be possible for a country with that much power and technology to "…be so weak that it failed to prevent an attack by foreign enemies" (167). Moreover, these viewpoints reflected an "indirect form of argumentation" allowing for "insinuations" but not coming right out and saying it. In Montreal two Muslims that were part of the interview process said with all the technology and security the U.S. is known for, it is reasonable to assume the Americans did it.

One man from Montreal, who works in a convenience store, said, "They can tell on satellite if a car crosses a red light, so four hijackers came, how could they not know?" In Karachi and in Montreal the participants were unanimous in explaining why Americans would go to all that trouble to blow up their most visible buildings in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. "Though they were not expressly asked this question… [they agreed] it was done as a way to get rid of Muslims" (Rousseau, 167).

A man in Montreal named Sohail, in his late 30s, believes the Americans… [END OF PREVIEW]

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