Initial reactions to this question are "why does it matter, they've attacked us and we must retaliate?" However in order to deal with this situation we must be able to understand where these people are coming from, both so we can have a since of human compassion and so we can handle the situation correctly. The terror attacks that are coming from these Middle East people are not senseless acts of violence. These are people that feel we want to destroy their culture. This is evident through Middle East interpretations of these attacks based on the impact Westernization has had on Middle East countries and then on their populations and the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism.
These fanatics are not lone wolf terrorists. In spite of every Islamic country condemning the attacks of September 11, there seems to be a certain admiration for Osama Bin Laden and other extremists. It has even been printed in the Pakistani periodical The Nation that "September 11th was not mindless terrorism for terrorism's sake. It was reaction, revenge even retribution. (Zakaria 1)" These people truly believe that this is a Holy War of Biblical proportions. This prevailing attitude of the Islamic people that this is a Holy War hearkens back to ancient essays predicting a great clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, and this prophecy seems to have been self-fulfilled.
Although some will argue that Islam is simply a violent religion, in reality this is simply not true. The Quran, similar to almost every other great religious writing, is filled with vague poetics, discussing both the virtuous nature of peacefulness and the vile nature of non-believers. Islam itself is not at fault, it has simply been perverted by the events that have led to our current situation.
Since the Crusades of the 11th century, Islam and the Western world have battled, and during this time there have been long periods of peace (Zakaria 1). It has even been argued by some that religious minorities have fared better under Muslim rule than Christian rule. Even as late as the 1950's Jews and Christians lived peacefully under Muslim rule (Zakaria 1). In deciding why these events have unfolded now, one must look at the history of the US and Western influences in the Middle East since 1948.
The beginning of Western influence in the Middle East traces back to Egypt in the 1950's (Zakaria 2). Gammal Abdel Nasser was the prototypical new Western leader in the Middle East. He led Egypt from 1956 until he suffered a sudden heart attack in 1970. He had led a coupe in 1954, envisioning Egypt as a new modern state, and had almost without bloodshed taken control of the country (Zakaria 2). In 1956, he pronounced Egypt a socialist state with Islam as the official religion. Nasser, armed with ideas of self determination, socialism and Arab unity became the savior of the Middle East.
At the height of Nasser's reign, Syria had formed an alliance known as the United Arab Republic...