On Sept. 10, as Afghans celebrated Eid, many decided to protest against the Islamophobic events planned in Florida. During the protests, NATO troops, surrounded by angry protesters, opened fire, killing at least one person in Badakshan province. It is easy to become partisan in assigning blame for this death. Many will blame Terry Jones. Others will blame the media. Many others will blame the mullahs who stoked Afghan anger. No doubt, some pundit at Fox News will blame the protester himself, and most people in Afghanistan will blame NATO.
It barely matters anymore who pulled the trigger in Badakhshan. The point is that progressive thought is being lost in the places where it would matter the most. In the nine years since 9/11, there has not been a single domestic Muslim reawakening in any of the Organization of the Islamic Conference's almost 60 Muslim-majority countries. In countries like Pakistan, mosque leaders still make the same anti-American references. They still exhibit the same resistance to change. They still get treated with kid gloves by governments that are run by culturally dislocated Muslims.
Stuck between the growing contempt for traditional Muslim values in the American mainstream, and the regressive inertia of traditional Muslim societies around the world, are the real victims of bin Laden's perverted violence, as well as the disproportionate and self-defeating military responses thatnow have the seal of approval of two successive U.S. presidents.
The most dubious aspect of the industrious coverage of burning Qurans and protests against the building of a Muslim community center of course, is that on this ninth anniversary, justice and closure seem as far away for the victims of 9/11 as they did nine years ago. The hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and Afghans have brought little, if any comfort to the 9/11 families.