The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remarks during his speech at the United Nations yesterday claiming that ‘the majority of the American people as well as other nations’ believe that some segments of the US government were behind the 9/11 attacks has attracted plenty of publicity today and has earned a strong rebuke from President Obama who said the comments were ‘hateful’ and ‘offensive.’
I have certainly come across plenty of Muslims and others who believe that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were not perpetrated by al-Qa’ida but were instead carried out by the US itself (or, in some versions, Mossad).
What are we to make of this? When I have questioned some Muslims who believe that the US government arranged the attack themselves they have said that it is simply not possible for Muslims to be so well organised as to have planned the 9/11 attacks. In other words, Muslims are just too dumb to stage such terrorist spectaculars.
Anyway, it is not just many Muslims who seem to believe this nonsense. The results of this poll conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org on behalf of the University of Maryland a couple of years ago found that substantial minorities – not the majority that Ahmadinejad claimed – across the world believed this also. I quote:
“…In European countries, the majorities that said al Qaeda was behind 9/11 are not overwhelming. Fifty-seven percent of Britons, 56 percent of Italians, 63 percent of French and 64 percent of Germans cited al Qaeda.” However, significant portions of Britons (26%), French (23%), and Italians (21%) said they did not know who was behind 9/11. Remarkably, 23 percent of Germans cited the US government, as did 15 percent of Italians.”
Just bonkers. And depressing. Depressingly bonkers.