This response is from About Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.
Peace be with you Bob,
Thank you for your very polite message.
How do we deal with al-Qaeda and more recently ISIS? Well, really we need to focus on two issues: the first is the international law debate, while the other is relevant to what is called: “humanitarian intervention”.
As for the first, I think that the investigations should have been conducted by an international committee working closely with the FBI and the CIA, to uncover the real criminals behind the disaster of September 11th.
This is especially the case, given that many people from different nationalities died. This approach was rejected by the American administration.
Yet, America went for its “operation infinite justice” striking beyond its borders in order to fulfill other goals which were far beyond the apprehension of the 9/11 criminals.
There is a lot that we can discuss here from a political analytical approach. The disagreement is about who should go after the criminals and how it should be done.
What are the appropriate limitations of the process so that America would abide by international law in their legitimate quest?
Furthermore, both Afghanistan and the United States are bound by the Montreal Convention, which deals with acts of terrorism on civilian aircraft.
Under the terms of this treaty, a state suspected of harboring a terrorist, involved with bombing a plane, would be required to prosecute the alleged terrorist.
If it were unwilling or incapable of doing so, it would extradite the terrorist. Afghanistan expressed its willingness to try Bin Laden, and requested that the United States would provide any evidence, relevant to the case.
The US refused, and threatened to bomb Afghanistan if the suspect was not handed over.
I guess what happened in Guantanamo Bay makes these concerns even more pressing.
Dealing with al-Qaeda and now with ISIS is also about dealing with the causes of such hatred through humanitarian intervention. For example, we have to look at the issue of who should decide what is taught to children.
Here, allow me to quote the father of neo-conservatism in the USA, Irving Kristol, who wrote in his book; Neo-conservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea, that he was taught in his early childhood, at a synagogue, by a very strict Rabbi that they should spit on any church they pass.
It is experience of the world that teaches people the most important lessons. However, if you decide you want to teach children a better vision of the future, you need to be careful you don’t end up with different regimes simply teaching loyalty to the regime without any moral basis – i.e. “my country right or wrong”.
This is exactly how terrible events such the Holocaust become possible. A committed socialist might suggest that many Americans are teaching their kids an amoral, consumerist, capitalist way of life and that they should be given a different education.
But, imposing utopian socialist values can lead to the same amoral patriotism and hatred of the other.
Also, in an army you learn to obey whatever your orders are – that is your job. We all remember the empty excuse: “I was just following orders!”.
So, because of these dangers, I would be reluctant to allow any one, except the parents, to have the full authority in matters of education policies.
We owe all the children of the world the continuous effort to educate them and inspire them with noble moral purpose in life. This duty must take priority over any disagreements we have today so that future generations are able to avoid falling into the same holes we have fallen into.
Thank you again for your kind letter and let us all pray for justice and peace and struggle for human dignity.
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