Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mohammed Abu Nimer - Nonviolence and Peacebuilding in Islam

..Abu-Nimer starts [his book "Nonviolence and Peace Building in Islam"] with an overview of the many studies done on just war and Islam. It is clear that there is a school of thought in Islam that justifies acts of war and the use of force under certain strict conditions.. [but, says Abu-Nimer] Jihad should above all be understood as a struggle for the individual Muslim to become a better Muslim.
What Abu-Nimer mainly objects to is that too little research has been focused on the other side of Islam - namely the traditions and teachings of nonviolence and peace building in Islam. It turns out that both the Quran and the traditions of Muslim societies harbour treasures of nonviolence and techniques for resolving conflicts.

The word `Islam' is itself defined as the "making of peace." The Prophet says: "Break your bows, sever your strings, beat stones on your swords" (to break the blades). Peace (salam) in Islam means not merely an absence of war, but also the elimination of the grounds for conflict and the waste and corruption it creates. Peace is God's true purpose for humanity. The Quran also affirms the sacredness of human life: "And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people."

There are countless stories on how the Prophet Mohammed acted as an arbitrator when two parties were in conflict which shows that third-party intervention is an acceptable option to end fighting in Islam. During the Meccan period of the Prophets life (610-622 C.E) the Prophet showed no inclination towards the use of force in any form, even for self-defense. He practiced a nonviolent resistance that was reflected in all his teachings during that period, when Muslims were a minority and under threat. Although tortured, accused of blasphemy, humiliated, ostracized, he permitted himself neither violence nor even swearing. The Prophet always prayed when he was persecuted during the Mecca Period, saying, "Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do". Something we Christians have no problem recognizing! Some of the Prophet's followers asked him to invoke the wrath of God upon the Meccans because of their persecution of Muslims. His reply to them was: "I have not been sent to curse anyone but to be a source of rahmah (compassion and mercy)."

Justice is the ultimate goal of Islamic religious teachings. It can be argued that pursuing justice and peace through nonviolent strategies is the more viable and effective method for achieving it. Except for the existence of one God, no other religious moral principles are more emphasized in the Quran and the traditions than the principles of justice, uprightness, equity and temperance. The notion that peace cannot be achieved without justice is echoed in the works of numerous peace-building researchers and activists.

There are a few new Islamic scholars that have begun to study the connection between Islam and nonviolence. One that Abu-Nimer mentions is Satha-Anand. He argues that even if Islam once accepted violence as a way of defense it is today forbidden because of the modern technology of war that has been invented. Since Muslims are forbidden to kill civilians and since modern weapons can't generally distinguish between soldier and civilian it means that Muslims should not use violence. But Muslims are not allowed to be passive either when they face injustice, so therefore they should use nonviolence as a way to resist injustice.

So there seems to be a good foundation for a nonviolent struggle in Islam. Has this been practiced by Muslims? It leads us to the practical part of the book. Abu-Nimer shows us examples of different nonviolent campaigns in Muslim communities: the mass protests against the British in Egypt in 1919, the revolt of Muslims of Peshawar Pathans in Pakistan 1930; the Palestinian general strike of 1936; the 1948 Iraqi upraising; the Iran Revolution of 1978-79; the Golan Druze resistance movement in 1981-82; the activities in defense of al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem since the 1970s; the Sudanese insurrection of 1985 and the first Palestinian Intifada, which began 1987.

The most famous Muslim nonviolence resister in modern time would be Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his "Army of God", consisting of people from the Pashtun-people who used to be known as feared warriors. It was a nonviolence movement of about 100 000 people who struggled nonviolently for twenty years against the British occupation in what is today Pakistan. Khan said: "There is nothing surprising in a Muslim or a Pashtun subscribing to the creed of nonviolence. It is not a new creed. It was followed fourteen hundred years ago by the Prophet all the time he was in Mecca, and it has since been followed by all those who wanted to throw off an oppressor's yoke. But we had...forgotten it." When recruited the "Servants of God" had to sign a ten-point pledge in which they swore to serve God and to live by nonviolent principles.

Although Abu-Nimer wants to show the world the good examples of nonviolence in Muslim communities he is also critical that there are not more efforts of peace building and nonviolence from the Arab world. The obstacles according to him are lack of creativity from the leadership, patriarchal social structures, extensive authoritarian control systems and a lack of critical self-examination. There are also different myths in the Islamic world that Abu-Nimer sees as obstacles to peace building. One widespread myth in the Middle East is that violence can eliminate conflicts. "What was taken by force can only be returned with force" is an old Arabic saying. Another myth is that nonviolence is not an effective method. Abu-Nimer mentions that one antidote to this myth can be to remind Muslims of the considerable experience the Prophet in waging nonviolent campaigns against his oppressors.

In the last part of the book Abu-Nimer makes a case study of the nonviolence during the first Intifada (uprising) in Palestine. Abu-Nimer shows convincingly that although the Palestinian Intifada is known for its violence it was really dominated by a massive and impressive nonviolent campaign. He is not saying that the Intifada was an islamic movement, because it was foremost a Palestinian struggle, Muslims and Christians side by side. But like the civil rights movement in the USA the religious institutions played a large part. The Palestinians gathered for political meetings in mosques and churches. The loudspeakers in the mosques were used to direct demonstrators or to encourage them in their efforts. Abu-Nimer argues that if it wasn't for their religion they wouldn't have been able to preserve their humanity and their patience. He shows it with the example of an Israeli soldier in Hebron being protected by an Arab family.

Before the Intifada, a primary symbol in the occupation was the armed guerilla. Now, in place of this symbol of heroic armed aggression stood a symbol of innocent suffering.

In conclusion Abu-Nimer says that Islam can both reinforce violence and nonviolence, and has done both in history. Much like Christianity I would say. Islam has not developed an explicit ideology of nonviolence and Muslims have done little preaching or teaching about nonviolence as a way of life, but the roots and the traditions are all in place creating a fertile ground for nonviolence.

Abu-Nimer's wish is clear with one of his last statements in the book: "Every religion can foster either violence or nonviolence. It is the responsibility of those who follow a particular faith to cull these resources for nonviolence from their religious scriptures."

Review excerpts by Martin Smedjeback for of Mohammed Abu Nimer's book "Nonviolence and Peace Building in Islam".

Friday, July 27, 2007

Gila Svirsky - To UN Security Council on the Contribution of Women to Peace Process

Your Excellencies,

Allow me to begin by telling you about the secret meetings held between Palestinians and Israelis that began 15 years ago. These meetings were secret because it was illegal for Israelis and forbidden for Palestinians to meet in those years. A number of groups were then getting together, but only one group persisted over time - resolutely grappling with the most difficult issues - and crafted an agreement that was signed and publicized several years before the Oslo Accords. Above all this agreement declared establishment of a free, independent and secure state of Palestine side-by-side with a free, independent and secure state of Israel as the core of a political settlement.

[T]he agreement was written by women. ...[T]hese women were neither marginal nor radical. Each delegation included prominent political leaders - members of parliament, government ministers, an ambassador, and a party head.

As for the content of the agreement, most of its principles have now become matters of consensus among both Israelis and Palestinians. Despite the current magnitude of brutality - or perhaps because of it - surveys consistently show that a decisive two-thirds of Israeli Jews would support a peace agreement that includes Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories, evacuation of most Israeli settlements, and creation of a Palestinian state. Most Palestinians hold the very same views. Indeed, only extremist political leaders on both sides fail to understand that these principles will ultimately set the terms of peace between our nations.

Clearly, the agreement was both pragmatic and moderate. In fact, had the women who wrote it been internationally recognized negotiators, the two Intifadas that followed might have been prevented..

At the grassroots level women have also been at the forefront of peacemaking. In 1988 women in Israel founded the movement now known as Women in Black. Dressed.. to mourn the victims on all sides, Women in Black has kept a one-hour vigil every single Friday for the past 15 years. On street corners throughout Israel, Arab and Jewish women hold signs demanding an end to the Israeli occupation and pursuit of a just peace.

The Women in Black movement quickly and spontaneously spread around the globe as a public forum for women to say “no” to war and injustice. In Italy Women in Black protest the Israeli occupation and the violence of organized crime. Women in Black in Bangalore, India call for an end to abuse by religious fundamentalists. During the war in the Balkans Women in Black, Yugoslavia set an inspirational example of interethnic cooperation. Today, Women in Black throughout the world are engaged in a struggle to prevent a war from being launched against Iraq. For their remarkable work, the international movement of Women in Black, represented by the movements in Yugoslavia and Israel, were nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace and won the Millennium Peace Prize awarded by UNIFEM [the UN Development Fund for Women].

In Israel, the women’s peace movement extends well beyond Women in Black. We are Bat Shalom, the organization formed to promote the principles of the pre-Oslo peace agreement described earlier. We are New Profile, women seeking to end the militarization of Israeli society. We are Machsom Watch, women preventing human rights violations at checkpoints. We are the Movement of Democratic Women, Jewish and Palestinian women citizens of Israel struggling for peace and justice. These and other organizations, joined together in the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace, are united in relentless effort to bring the bloodshed to an end.

The women’s peace movement in Israel is absolutely breathtaking: It is alive with new ideas, indefatigable as women have always been, and at the vanguard of creative thinking about how to get to peace. Israeli and Palestinian women march together under the banner “We refuse to be enemies”. Indeed, the Israeli and Palestinian women’s peace movements have already made peace: on paper, in our hearts, in the lessons we teach our children, and in the behavior we model. We are allies for peace, united in our struggle against extremists and warmongers on all sides.

Is it not preposterous that not a single Israeli woman, and only one Palestinian woman, have held leadership roles at a Middle East peace summit? Instead, the negotiators have been men with portfolios of brutal crimes against each other - military men who have honed the art of war and who measure their success by the unconditional surrender of the other. Is it any wonder that we are still locked in combat?

Ultimately this occupation, like every other in history, will come to an end. The general parameters of that ending are already drawn and in agreement. What we need now is leadership committed to swiftly concluding this era awash in blood, leadership that understands the price we pay in death and destruction for every hour of delay. What we need now is leadership with expertise at reconciliation and rapprochement. What we need now is women.

Thank you.

Address by Gila Svirsky representing Women in Black to the UN Security Council, October 22, 2002 on the subject of women at peace negotiations to spur compliance with Security Council Resolution 1325, which mandates the participation of women in all decision-making, including negotiations for peace.

Marc Gopin - Letter to Bill Clinton

[Written December 16, 1998, ..still relevant.]

Dear Mr President,

There have been a great number of private meetings between Jewish and Islamic religious clergy and leaders in recent months, as you are apparently aware. The challenge that we face in terms of moving these meetings into a phenomenon that will have a major impact on the peace process, is that they must become public at some juncture. This is the only way that these encounters will have a broad impact on the religious public in both communities. It is these communities that have housed the rejectionists of the peace process until now, and who hold the key to realigning the political structure in such a way as to allow the peace process to move forward.

There are two ideas floating about. One is that there could be a signing of a document, already in formation, by the highest religious leaders on both sides, that would formally embrace peacemaking as the only acceptable path for Jews and Muslims in the current context. This would have a profound impact, especially in terms of the effect on the public of witnessing the embrace of sheikhs and chief rabbis. Furthermore, there are major leaders on both sides that are interested not only in this one-time event, but also an ongoing interfaith committee that would not interfere with the details of the peace process, but would parallel its successes with spiritual and cultural reinforcement.

Everything that I, and many others in conflict resolution, have studied from around the world indicates that this is the key missing ingredient in many peace negotiations. The detailed, rational negotiations are critical, but they are constantly undermined by deep cultural and spiritual roots of mistrust and rage. We have a solution, and that is for there always to be a parallel peace process between the most respected members of the culture on each side. The secular members of the respective cultures are already well-represented in the peace process, but not the religious community, and everything indicates that they will continue to be obstructionist until their revered figures become a part of the process of envisioning the future, together with the other peacemakers. This is how everyone, religious and secular, can see themselves having a stake in the future.

Here is the challenge [deleted]. We must help them... The key to helping them.. is the prestige of your office, and especially the trust that you have engendered in the people on all sides of this conflict. ..[H]ere the rub. Few statesmen today understand as well as you do that the deep cultural, spiritual, and emotional roots of a people are critical elements in the construction of lasting peace, especially after terrible trauma and war. Religion and culture are the most powerful change agents in human psychology, and either they will be part of the problem of the Middle East, or they will be part of the solution. But they will certainly not be sidelined. All the evidence is clear on this.

There are thus numerous activists here and religious leaders who would welcome your leadership in this element of peacemaking, by simply inserting this idea into the state-to-state recommendations on how to proceed in the peace process, how to incorporate this form of peacemaking now.

The timing is critical. As you know, Ramadan begins on Sunday, and in other parts of the Arab world, it has been used by extremists to unleash terrorism. Furthermore, the failure of the troop withdrawal.. in addition to the Iraqi bombing, may make this a perfect time for [extremists] to attack sending the two populations into a tailspin of violence. This new path could be a way to engage Islam and Judaism now, or very soon, in a way that will make them a powerful symbolic force for pursuing peace and valuing the lives of others, even as the political and land issues remain bitter for now, and divisive, with no concrete end to the negotiations in sight. I firmly believe, based on the evidence, that cultural processes, and the symbolic power of gestures by major leaders, have an extremely powerful effect on populations, one that may bring about the realignment of political forces that we need in Israel and the Territories to move forward.

Thank you very much for considering this, and I will be glad to pursue this further with you at any time.


Rabbi Dr Marc Gopin
Center for Strategic and International Studies
George Mason University

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sara Roy - A Jewish Plea

I grew up in a home where Judaism was defined and practiced not so much as a religion but as a system of ethics and culture. God was present but not central. Israel and the notion of a Jewish homeland were very important to my parents, who survived Auschwitz, Chelmno and Buchenwald. But unlike many of their friends, my parents were not uncritical of Israel. Obedience to a state was not a primary Jewish value, especially after the Holocaust. Judaism provided the context for Jewish life, for values and beliefs that were not dependent upon national or territorial boundaries, but transcended them to include the other, always the other. For my mother and father Judaism meant bearing witness, raging against injustice and refusing silence. It meant compassion, tolerance, and rescue. In the absence of these imperatives, they taught me, we cease to be Jews.

Many of the people, both Jewish and others, who write about Palestinians and Arabs fail to accept the fundamental humanity of the people they are writing about, a failing born of ignorance, fear and racism. Within the organized Jewish community especially, it has always been unacceptable to claim that Arabs, Palestinians especially, are like us, that they, too, possess an essential humanity and must be included within our moral boundaries..

Why is it so difficult, even impossible to incorporate Palestinians and other Arab peoples into the Jewish understanding of history?..

In [the Israeli mindset], compassion and conscience are dismissed as weakness, ..pinpoint surgical strikes constitute restraint and civility and momentary ceasefires, acts of humanity and kindness. "Leave your home, we are going to destroy it." Several minutes later another home in Gaza, another history, is taken, crushed.. Our warnings have another purpose: they make our actions legitimate and our desire for legitimacy is unbounded, voracious. This is perhaps the only thing Palestinians (and now the Lebanese) have withheld from us, this object of our desire.

If legitimacy will not be bestowed then it must be created. This explains Israel's obsession with laws and legalities to insure in our own eyes that we do not transgress, making evil allowable by widening the parameters of license and transgression..

We can easily ignore their suffering, cut them from their food, water, electricity, and medicine, confiscate their land, demolish their crops and deny them egress -- suffocate them, our voices stilled. Racism does not allow us to see Arabs as we see ourselves; that is why we rage when they do not fail from weakness but instead we find ourselves failing from strength. Yet, in our view it is we who are the only victims, vulnerable and scarred. All we have is the unnaturalness of our condition..

Judaism has always prided itself on reflection, critical examination, and philosophical inquiry. The Talmudic mind examines a sentence, a word, in a multitude of ways, seeking all possible interpretations and searching constantly for the one left unsaid. Through such scrutiny it is believed comes the awareness needed to protect the innocent, prevent injury or harm, and be closer to God..

Holocaust survivors stood.. as a moral challenge among us and also as living embodiments of a history, way of life and culture.. As the rightful claimants to our past we should ask, How much damage can be done to a soul? But we do not ask. We do not question the destruction but only our inability to complete it, to create more slaughter sites..

Where do Jews belong? Where is our place? Is it in the ghetto of a Jewish state whose shrinking boundaries threaten, one day, to evict us? We are powerful but not strong. Our power is our weakness, not our strength, because it is used to instill fear rather than trust, and because of that, it will one day destroy us if we do not change..

I have come to accept that Jewish power and sovereignty and Jewish ethics and spiritual integrity are, in the absence of reform, incompatible, unable to coexist or be reconciled. For if speaking out against the wanton murder of children is considered an act of disloyalty and betrayal rather than a legitimate act of dissent, and where dissent is so ineffective and reviled, a choice is ultimately forced upon us.. between Zionism and Judaism.

Rabbi Hillel the Elder long ago emphasized ethics as the center of Jewish life. Ethical principles or their absence will contribute to the survival or destruction of our people. Yet, today what we face is something different and possibly more perverse: it is not the disappearance of our ethical system but its rewriting into something disfigured and execrable.

..For my parents-defeating Hitler meant living a moral life. They sought a world where "affirmation is possible and . . . dissent is mandatory," where our capacity to witness is restored and sanctioned, where we as a people refuse to be overcome by the darkness..

..What then is the source of our redemption, our salvation? It lies ultimately in our willingness to acknowledge the other - the victims we have created - Palestinian, Lebanese and also Jewish - and the injustice we have perpetrated.. Perhaps then we can pursue a more just solution..

Excerpts from an essay to be published in "The War on Lebanon", by Interlink Publishing, Spring 2007. Sara Roy is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University. The full text of Sara's essay may be found here:

Friday, July 20, 2007

U.S. Aid to Israel: Interpreting the 'Strategic Relationship'

"The U.S. aid relationship with Israel is unlike any other in the world. In sheer volume, the amount is the most generous foreign aid program ever between any two countries", says Stephen Zunes, associate professor of Politics and chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco.

Although Israel is an "advanced, industrialized, technologically sophisticated country," it "receives more U.S. aid per capita annually than the total annual [Gross Domestic Product] per capita of several Arab states." Approximately a third of the entire U.S. foreign aid budget goes to Israel, "even though Israel comprises just…one-thousandth of the world's total population, and already has one of the world's higher per capita incomes."

U.S. officials have argued that this money is necessary for "moral" reasons, some [arguing that] Israel is a "democracy battling for its very survival." If that were the real reason, however, aid should have been highest during Israel's early years and declined as Israel grew stronger. Yet, according to Zunes, "99 percent of all U.S. aid to Israel took place after the June 1967 war, when Israel found itself more powerful than any combination of Arab armies."

The U.S. supports Israel's dominance so it can serve as "a surrogate for American interests in this strategic region [and elsewhere in the world]." "Israel has helped defeat radical nationalist movements" and has been a "testing ground for U.S. made weaponry." [T]he intelligence agencies of both countries have "collaborated," and "Israel has funneled U.S. arms to third countries that the U.S. [could] not send arms to directly,…Iike South Africa, like the Contras, Guatemala under the military junta, [and] Iran." Zunes cited an Israeli analyst who said: "'It's like Israel has just become another federal agency when it's convenient and you want something done quietly."' Although the strategic relationship between the United States and the Gulf Arab states in the region has been strengthening in recent years, these states "do not have the political stability, the technological sophistication, [or] the number of higher-trained armed forces personnel" as does Israel.

Matti Peled, former Israeli major general and Knesset member, told Zunes that he and most Israeli generals believe this aid is "little more than an American subsidy to U.S. arms manufacturers," considering that the majority of military aid to Israel is used to buy weapons from the U.S. Moreover, arms to Israel create more demand for weaponry in Arab states. According to Zunes, "the Israelis announced back in 1991 that they supported the idea of a freeze in Middle East arms transfers, yet it was the United States that rejected it."

In the fall of 1993-when many had high hopes for peace-78 senators wrote to former President Bill Clinton insisting that aid to Israel remain "at current levels, [citing] massive procurement of sophisticated arms by Arab states." The letter neglected to mention that 80 percent of those arms to Arab countries came from the U.S. " I'm not denying for a moment the power of AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee], the pro-Israel lobby," and other similar groups, Zunes said. Yet the "Aerospace Industry Association which promotes these massive arms shipments…is even more influential." This association has given two times more money to campaigns than all of the pro-Israel groups combined. Its "force on Capitol Hill, in terms of lobbying, surpasses that of even AIPAC." Zunes asserted that the "general thrust of U.S. policy would be pretty much the same even if AIPAC didn't exist.

"An increasing number of Israelis are pointing out" that these funds are not in Israel's best interest.

The Israeli paper Yediot Aharonot described Israel as "'the godfather's messenger' since [Israel] undertake[s] the 'dirty work' of a godfather who 'always tries to appear to be the owner of some large, respectable business."' Israeli satirist B. Michael refers to U.S. aid this way: "'My master gives me food to eat and I bite those whom he tells me to bite. It's called strategic cooperation." 'To challenge this strategic relationship, one cannot focus solely on the Israeli lobby but must also examine these "broader forces as well." "Until we tackle this issue head-on," it will be "very difficult to win" in other areas relating to Palestine.

[This] short-term thinking behind U.S. policy " is tragic," not just for the "immediate victims" but "eventually [for] Israel itself" and "American interests in the region." The U.S. is sending enormous amounts of aid to the Middle East, and yet "we are less secure than ever"-both in terms of U.S. interests abroad and for individual Americans. Zunes referred to a "growing and increasing hostility [of] the average Arab toward the United States." In the long term, said Zunes, "peace and stability and cooperation with the vast Arab world is far more important for U.S. interests than this alliance with Israel."

This is not only an issue for those who are working for Palestinian rights, but it also "jeopardizes the entire agenda of those of us concerned about human rights, concerned about arms control, concerned about international law."

The above text is based on remarks, delivered on. 26 January, 2001 by Stephen Zunes - Associate Professor of Politics and Chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at San Francisco University.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Jerusalem Peace Agreement

The following was cooperatively formulated by Rabbi David El Harar, Sadek Shweiki from Abu Tor East Jerusalem, Eliahu MacLean and Sheikh Ismail Jamal and represents a beautiful statement of interfaith solidarity, understanding and common ground. It is a preliminary writing as recorded by Dr Rabbi Marc Gopin in his book "Holy War, Holy Peace, How Religion can bring Peace to the Middle East", pp 53-54.

The honorable Sheikh Ismail Jamal begins with this introduction:

"Jerusalem is the city of the prophets, a city of love, compassion and peace. The message of God came out from Jerusalem to the whole world. This message is shared by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. A Hadith said, "Jerusalem, you are My Light and you are My Garden in this world. Whosoever dwells within thee is accepted by me. Whosoever abandons thee is rejected by me. You are the place of the Gathering and the land of the Judgement."

The Jerusalem Peace Agreement:

We, as representatives of the two faiths, of Islam and Judaism, agree to the following:

Both the Torah and the Qur'an are expressions of faith which speak of the divine reveleation of the oneness of G-d. Islam and Judaism both take pride in being a divine instrument of enlightenment for the world. As such they teach their faithful to honor every human being as the living image of G-d.

The Holy Torah revealed to Moses, peace be upon him, the prophet of the Jewish people, calls for the respect and honor of every human being regardless of race or creed. Moreover, the Torah states that special respect and feeling of brotherhood are due to all believers in the faith of the one G-d. Thus Muslims, who worship the same God as the Jews, are the primary recipients of these feelings of brotherhood.

The Holy Qur'an revealed to Mohammed, peace be upon him, the prophet of Islam, calls for the respect and honor of every human being regardless of race or creed. Moreover the Qur'an states that special respect and feeling of brotherhood are due to all believers of the faith of the one G-d. Thus Jews, who worship the same God as the Muslims, are primary recipients of these feelings of brotherhood.

Based on these eternal truths of the Holy Torah and the Holy Qur'an, we declare that no human being shall be persecuted, physically or morally, because of their faith or the practice of their beliefs. We also express our wish for greater harmony and understanding between the believers - Muslims and Jews. We the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac, the children of Abraham, are united today to offer our prayers from the heart of G-d. We pray for the end of all enmity and for the beginning of an era of peace, love, and compassion.

Reflections on 9/11 - John Brady Kiesling

The hypnotic television footage of the Twin Towers collapsing.. horrified [the international community] no less than it horrified Americans. But they were nervous; America was a wounded elephant. Would we trample the world flat in pursuit of our flee-sized tormentors? ..[M]ost Europeans were anxious to calm us down and prevent a clash of civilizations with their Muslim neighbors.

[T]he murder of 2800 innocent people erased the legitimacy that Al Queda's suicidal bravery was supposed to win them with ordinary Muslims.
[It had been a gross miscalculation.] After 9/11 no reasonable US request would be refused [anywhere in the world]. ..It never occurred to me America would choose to behave like a wounded elephant..
"Diplomacy Lessons, Realism for an Unloved Superpower", by John Brady Kiesling, pp 13,14