Don’t blame ‘others’ or ‘cycles of violence’ for the 9/11 attacks

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 13, 2019

On September 11, while Americans remembered the victims of an Islamic terrorist attack, Pope Francis met with a members of a joint Catholic-Islamic committee dedicated to peaceful dialogue. (This is the group whose formal statement, endorsed by the Pope, proclaimed: “The pluralism and diversity of religious… are willed by God…”) “The date was chosen as a sign of the will to build life and fraternity where others sowed death and destruction,” the Vatican press office said. But there was no mention of the 9/11 attacks, nor of the “others” who perpetrated it.

On the same day, the Vatican’s representative to the UN, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, did speak about the terrorist attack on America. He said: “The 9/11 attacks were preceded and followed by many horrendous acts of violence, proving that violence begets more violence, hatred begets more hatred, and revenge perpetuates the cycle of violence.”

Oh, so it was a “cycle of violence” that spawned the attacks? Not an aggressive and violent ideology? The archbishop’s statement seems to suggest that the attack on the World Trade Center was a response to an earlier act of violence. By whom? Against whom?

By speaking in vague generalities about “others” and “cycles” that allegedly cause violence, Church leaders are drawing critical attention away from the real cause. The problem, the cause of the violence, is militant Islamic ideology. The sooner that problem is acknowledged by all concerned— and especially by any peaceful Muslims who genuinely abhor violence— the sooner we can work toward a real common response.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: SPM - Sep. 16, 2019 12:32 PM ET USA

    It is important to remember the US has intentionally killed far more innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan than Islamic terrorist have killed in America. I was there as an AF 14N. What do we call that? The intentional killing of innocent people is always an intrinsically evil act... and if you have not actually served in the CENTCOM AOR, don't pretend you know anything from sitting on the couch watching Fox News.

  • Posted by: philtech2465 - Sep. 14, 2019 10:18 PM ET USA

    I have been waiting for 18 years for Muslims in the US to acknowledge the Islamic based ideology that motivated the 9/11 attacks. I am convinced that most Muslims abhorred and were shocked by 9/11. But I am concerned that jihadist ideology is too central to Muslim theology for most Muslims to work to eliminate it. Witness the description of 9/11 from the first Muslim woman in the US Congress: "Some people did something." I would dearly love to be wrong about this. But I doubt it.