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9/11 Conspiracy Theories Live

When most Americans hear these theories, they just laugh – it never occurs to them that anyone could take them seriously. The New York Times does an article on 9/11 conspiracy theories just as that tragic anniversary approaches:

9/11 Rumors That Become Conventional Wisdom
Justin Lane for The New York Times

CAIRO — Seven years later, it remains conventional wisdom here that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda could not have been solely responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and that the United States and Israel had to have been involved in their planning, if not their execution, too.

Many in Cairo see the attacks as part of an anti-Muslim plot.
This is not the conclusion of a scientific survey, but it is what routinely comes up in conversations around the region — in a shopping mall in Dubai, in a park in Algiers, in a cafe in Riyadh and all over Cairo.

“Look, I don’t believe what your governments and press say. It just can’t be true,” said Ahmed Issab, 26, a Syrian engineer who lives and works in the United Arab Emirates. “Why would they tell the truth? I think the U.S. organized this so that they had an excuse to invade Iraq for the oil.”

It is easy for Americans to dismiss such thinking as bizarre. But that would miss a point that people in this part of the world think Western leaders, especially in Washington, need to understand: That such ideas persist represents the first failure in the fight against terrorism — the inability to convince people here that the United States is, indeed, waging a campaign against terrorism, not a crusade against Muslims.

“The United States should be concerned because in order to tell people that there is a real evil, they too have to believe it in order to help you,” said Mushairy al-Thaidy, a columnist in the Saudi-owned regional newspaper Asharq al Awsat. “Otherwise, it will diminish your ability to fight terrorism. It is not the kind of battle you can fight on your own; it is a collective battle.”

There were many reasons people here said they believed that the attacks of 9/11 were part of a conspiracy against Muslims. Some had nothing to do with Western actions, and some had everything to do with Western policies.

Again and again, people said they simply did not believe that a group of Arabs — like themselves — could possibly have waged such a successful operation against a superpower like the United States. But they also said that Washington’s post-9/11 foreign policy proved that the United States and Israel were behind the attacks, especially with the invasion of Iraq.

“Maybe people who executed the operation were Arabs, but the brains? No way,” said Mohammed Ibrahim, 36, a clothing-store owner in the Bulaq neighborhood of Cairo. “It was organized by other people, the United States or the Israelis.”

You can read the entire article at The New York Times.

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September 10, 2008 Posted by | Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Middle East, News, Political Issues | 14 Comments

Moroccan Blogger Jailed

You can read the entire story, which appeared today, on BBC News Africa:

A Moroccan blogger has been jailed for two years for showing disrespect to the monarchy, say the man’s family.

Mohammed Erraji, 29, was convicted after writing an article claiming King Mohammed VI’s charitable habits were encouraging a culture of dependency.

There has been no official comment on the case, but rights groups claim Erraji did not have a fair trial.

A BBC reporter says criticising the king is an offence in Morocco and the royal family remains a taboo subject.

Morocco has previously caused international outrage with its treatment of internet users.

Earlier this year, Fouad Mortada was sentenced to three years in prison for creating a false profile on the internet site Facebook using the identity of the king’s brother.

He received a royal pardon following protests from internet users around the world.

‘Disastrous’
Erraji claimed in an internet article that the king’s charity towards Moroccans was stifling development by encouraging people to be lazy.

“This has made the Moroccans a people without dignity, who live by donations and gifts,” he wrote.
The BBC’s James Copnall in the capital, Rabat, says he was particularly critical of the practice known as grima – giving lucrative licences to run taxis and other transport in exchange for begging letters.
Erraji said this did not happen in developed countries, where hard work rather than begging is rewarded.

He was arrested by the authorities last Friday and accused of “lacking the respect due to the king”.
In court on Monday, he was given a two-year prison sentence and fined 5,000 Dirham ($630:£356).

September 10, 2008 Posted by | Africa, Blogging, Character, Community, Cross Cultural, Leadership, Living Conditions, Morocco, Political Issues, Social Issues | | 7 Comments