9/11 Didn’t Change Everything

Ten years after the September 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden has been killed, and al- Qaeda has been diminished to a shell of its former self. But the anti-Western hate that drives the terror group is still echoed by some Muslim leaders:

As millions of Americans remembered the nearly 3,000 men, women and children killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated his claims that the U.S. staged the attacks to justify overseas military aggression and profit from weapon sales.

Many are tempted to shrug off Ahmadinejad’s genocidal, anti-Israel and anti-American rants as just bluster, even while his regime is on the brink of building a nuclear weapon. But he represents a lingering problem in the Muslim world that has yet to be resolved a decade after the 9/11 attacks. Bigotry, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism still have a prominent place in the political culture. And American intellectuals too often try to dismiss that rhetoric, or even explain it away as a legitimate response to U.S. or Israeli actions. This is the same atmosphere that spawned the hijackers, that protected bin Laden and that bolstered and funded al-Qaeda. Remembering 9/11 also means acknowledging the noxious beliefs that led to it – and taking them seriously.