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9/11: Not Just a Memory - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that struck the United States of America has just passed accompanied by endless commentary and observation to read into and understand what happened and how we can benefit from it.

9/11 is no longer simply an incident that is being analyzed and commented upon; it has become clear that 9/11 is a turning point of history, defining events according to the post- and pre-9/11 world. However, one question is yet to be answered; will 9/11 remain as significant after George W. Bush and Bin Laden disappear from the scene?

Features of the announced policy suggest that there is a strong and deep-rooted desire in many western countries to continue intensifying security in Arab and Islamic societies on the pretext of preserving the national interest. On the other hand, there are still some voices of extremism that are deep-rooted in various parts of the Arab and Islamic worlds responsible for fuelling religious conflict and aiming to further expand clashes and widen existing discrepancies. Perhaps the biggest victim of this dangerous thinking is the median space that presumably exists and which is advocated by a number of people from both parties. The result is a waste of efforts directed at developing curricula, dialogue as well as communication between nations and cultures because of extremism.

There is an increase in extremism amongst the two parties, whether in the name of defending freedoms in the west or preserving the constants, the cultures and fundamentals of the Arabs and Muslim worlds. The fact remains that extremism is expanding whilst moderation is disappearing.

If there were any positive elements of the events of 9/11, then the most prominent would be the revealing of political and cultural disconcertion that existed between the west and the Arab and Islamic worlds. Many of the challenges that are now being criticized have existed for a long time but people feared to comment on them as political and economic interests were the priorities.

This historical dilemma, in which two parties have fallen, confirms theories on the clash of civilizations that are promoted by hard-liners on both sides. However, the absent truth, which should be presented, is that the overwhelming majority of the two camps are capable of coexisting as they have done in the past peacefully and with confidence.

There is however an urgent need to name things by what they are and to identify that extremism shifts in every identity, tradition and religion as long as there is a suitable ground and climate for it.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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