Muslim-American Terrorism in the Decade Since 9/11

Muslim-American Terrorism Down in 2011


Twenty Muslim-Americans were indicted for violent terrorist plots in 2011, down from 26

the year before, bringing the total since 9/11 to 193, or just under 20 per year (see Figure

1). This number is not negligible – small numbers of Muslim-Americans continue to

radicalize each year and plot violence.  However, the rate of radicalization is far less

than many feared in the aftermath of 9/11. In early 2003, for example, Robert Mueller,

director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, told Congress that “FBI investigations have

revealed militant Islamics [sic] in the US. We strongly suspect that several hundred of these

extremists are linked to al-Qaeda.”1 Fortunately, we have not seen violence on this

scale.  The scale of homegrown Muslim-American terrorism in 2011 does not appear to have

corroborated the warnings issued by government officials early in the year. In March 2011, Mueller testified to Congress that this threat had become even more complex and difficult to combat, as “we are seeing an increase in the sources of terrorism, a wider array of terrorist targets, and an evolution in terrorist tactics and means of communication.”2 Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, echoed Mueller’s concern in her 2011 “State

of America’s Homeland Security Address”: “the terrorist threat facing our country has evolved significantly in the last ten years –and continues to evolve – so that, in some ways, the threat facing us is at its most heightened state since those attacks.”3 Congressman Peter King, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security in the U.S. House of Representatives, held four earings

in 2011 to alert Americans to the “the extent of Muslim-American radicalization by al-Qaeda

in their communities today and how terrible it is, the impact it has on families, how extensive

it is, and also that the main victims of this are Muslim-Americans themselves.”4

Family fulfills dream of Pakistani victim of 9/11 revenge killing by becoming US citizens

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. — Anum Hasan has seen many conflicting visions of America: the hope of a better life that brought her family from Pakistan, the hate-filled act that ended her father’s life in the name of American vengeance; and an outpouring of compassion that her family has come to feel is the true face of the country they now call home.

Hasan’s father, Waqar Hasan, was shot to death four days after Sept. 11, 2001, in Texas, targeted by a white supremacist looking for revenge against Middle Eastern men for the terror attack. The family had every reason to want to leave, but on Friday, Hasan’s widow and three of her four daughters were sworn in as U.S. citizens.

It was what happened in the aftermath of Hasan’s killing that reinforced the family’s decision to remain in the U.S.

US Arab-Muslim comedy community grows, pushes beyond funny talk in post-9/11 world

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Arab-Muslim stand-up comedy is flourishing more than a decade after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. While comics like Obeidallah, Ahmed Ahmed and Amer Zahr differ on approach — and there are disagreements among some— they’re all trying to do more than just lampoon themselves or their people for easy laughs.

The comedian who made his name on the “Axis of Evil Comedy Tour” made one thing clear when he opened a recent set at Michigan State University: “Tonight, it’s not Islam 101.”

For every joke Dean Obeidallah made about his Arabic heritage or Muslim faith, there were others about student loans, Asian-American basketball phenom Jeremy Lin, the presidential race and full-body scans at airports.

Talk organized in Toronto about Canada in the wake of 9/11

The Toronto Star – December 4, 2011
Reading the Aftermath of 9/11: the Sociopolitical and Moral Implications was organized by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute, a Turkish Canadian peace group. Toronto’s police chief zeroed in on a single legacy of the 2001 terrorist attack on America that shocked — and changed — the world. The strongest partnership the police developed, he said, was with the Muslim community. It was instrumental in the arrest of the Toronto 18 — all radicalized young Islamic men — five years later.
The region’s imams also worked together. They agreed on a three-part plan. They would tackle Western misconceptions about Islam. They would urge Muslims to speak out against practices that had nothing to do with their faith. And they would seek help from the wider community.

Tenth Anniversary of 9/11 Panel Discussion (video)

September 13, 2011

On September 8, 2011, the CMES Outreach Center, along with the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, hosted a campus-wide panel discussion on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The panel was comprised of Jocelyne Cesari, Director, Islam in the West Program and the Islamopedia Project; Research Associate of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; Senior Research Fellow at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris; Duncan Kennedy, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School; and Charlie Clements, Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.

Video of the event is below. You can also read about the event on the Outreach Center’s blog and in the Harvard Gazette.


Introduction by Outreach Director Paul Beran

Jocelyne Cesari

Charlie Clements

Duncan Kennedy

War and Sacrifice in the Post-9/11 Era

The Military-Civilian Gap

The report is based on two surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center: one of the nation’s military veterans and one of the general public. A total of 1,853 veterans were surveyed, including 712 who served in the military after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The general public survey was conducted among 2,003 adult respondents.

Post-9/11 Veterans and Their Wars

• Veterans are more supportive than the general public of U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Even so, they are ambivalent. Just half of all post-9/11 veterans say that, given the costs and benefits to the U.S., the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting. A smaller share (44%) says the war in Iraq has been worth it. Only one-third (34%) say both wars have been worth fighting, and a nearly identical share (33%) say neither has been worth the costs.

• About half of post-9/11 veterans (51%) say relying too much on military force creates hatred that leads to more terrorism, while four-in-ten endorse the opposite view: that overwhelming force is the best way to defeat terrorism. The views of the public are nearly identical: 52% say too much force leads to more terrorism, while 38% say using military force is the best approach.

• About six-in-ten post-9/11 veterans (59%) support the noncombat “nation-building” role the military has taken on in Iraq and Afghanistan. The public and pre-9/11 veterans are less enthused. Just 45% of both groups say they think this is an appropriate role for the military.

• While nation building gets mixed reviews, large majorities of veterans and the public support the use of unmanned “drone” aircraft for aerial attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Nearly nine-in-ten (86%) veterans of all eras say this is a good thing; 68% of the public agrees.

• Both the public and veterans oppose bringing back the military draft. More than eight-in-ten post-9/11 veterans and 74% of the public say the U.S. should not return to the draft at this time.

Officials dispute decision to remove female passenger from Detroit flight on 9/11 anniversary

DETROIT — An airline that reported suspicious behavior by two men aboard a flight from Denver on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks said authorities in Detroit removed them — and a female passenger who is half Middle Eastern and claims she was later strip-searched — without consulting the pilots or crew.

However, airport police and the Transportation Safety Administration said authorities responded after getting an in-flight alert from Frontier that three passengers were engaged in suspicious activity.

The crew “responded to concerns expressed by passengers on their aircraft about the suspicious activity of two gentlemen . and only two gentlemen,” Kowalchuk said. “After that, what happened was out of the control of the Frontier crew or anyone at Frontier Airlines, for that matter.

Poll Suggests Canadians Less Tolerant after 9/11

Montreal Gazette – September 8, 2011


A majority of Canadians say society has become less tolerant of various ethnicities and faiths since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a new study shows. Over half of Canadians surveyed in an Ipsos Reid poll for Postmedia News and Global TV said that Muslims are discriminated against more now than they were 10 years ago. However, Canadian Muslim groups say the impact of 9/11 was good and bad on the Muslim community.

“On the good side, there has been the ability for Canadians to access their fellow citizens with Muslim backgrounds, to get to know them more, and essentially have the ability to get accurate information about Islam in the Muslim community which has been a great thing for those who want to have that information,” said Kashif Ahmed, a national board member with the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Other findings include: 74% of Canadians agree that “our society has become less tolerant of others since the 9/11 terrorist attacks”; 60% think that Muslims in Canada are discriminated against more than before the attacks; and 59% say the 9/11 attacks have given them a negative impression of certain ethnicities and religious faiths.

Tariq Ramadan to Speak at 9/11 Forum in Montreal

The National Post – September 6, 2011


The Dalai Lama will join controversial Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan in Montreal for the Second Global Conference on World’s Religions After Sept. 11 organized by McGill University and the Université de Montréal. Organizer Arvind Sharma, a professor of comparative religion at McGill, says the goal is to debate how religions can contribute to peace in the world. Rather than promising inspiration in a world plagued by religious tumult, the conference has already stirred up controversy and dissension as critics charge that the Dalai Lama is being duped into promoting Islamic fundamentalism. Mr. Ramadan will be participating in a panel discussion on Peace Through Religion with Robert Thurman (Buddhism), Gregory Baum (Christianity) and Steven Katz (Judaism). In addition to the Dalai Lama, there will also be a presentation by author Deepak Chopra.

For Tarek Fatah, founder of the Canadian Muslim Congress, this is just a way of saying religions are above reproach and tacitly endorsing Sharia law, and he is furious the Dalai Lama would be asked to support that. Mr. Sharma says he understands that Mr. Ramadan is a controversial figure, but says he is the most prominent voice on the place of Islam in the modern world.

Ten Years after 9/11: The Threat Remains


The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has stirred up debate as to whether the response to the attacks by the West was effective in diminishing the threat of terrorism. The Telegraph concludes that some elements were effective (such as improvements to the work of security services, which have succeeded in frustrating several attacks), but others were not. It is, therefore, a fact that the threat of attacks from terrorists inspired by Islam is as real as ever. For Islamism to wither into insignificance, more needs to be done ‘to ensure that Muslim communities within the West embrace the values of tolerance and respect that we cherish’. According to Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, it was vital to break up structures of isolation that were allegedly fostered by the state’s political multiculturalism. Similar plans were communicated by PM David Cameron earlier this year, when he claimed that state multiculturalism had to be replaced by a national identity that all can embrace (as reported).

Addressing the same issue, the Mirror reports that, on Saturday, Tony Blair warned on Radio 4 that the war on terror was not over yet. He said it was naive to believe that the West’s response to the 9/11 attacks had radicalised Muslims extremists. According to Blair, “(t)hey believe in what they believe in because they believe their religion compels them to believe in it”. The threat would only end, once this ideology was defeated.