91/11/2001: The Day That Changed America
The Muslim World Reacts
Reprinted from Junior Scholastic, November, 12, 2001

The September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. shocked and horrified most of the world. After the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan refused to hand over Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the attacks, President George W. Bush ordered air strikes in that country.

U.S. military forces have targeted bin Laden and terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, not innocent civilians. However, some have been killed accidentally.

The Afghan people have already suffered greatly under the Taliban regime. Many Muslims in the U.S. feel a special bond with the Afghan people and their plight. "I just wanted to cry," said Aziza Hussain, 15, a sophomore at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in Sudbury, Massachusetts, after the air strikes. "I've always believed that you can solve your problems without fighting. Killing more innocent people is not going to solve anything."

Some Muslim students here support U.S. actions. "I understand that something had to be done and that the Taliban weren't cooperating," says Mehdi Alhassani, 17, a senior at Belmont Hill School in Belmont, Massachusetts.

Others say they are happy that the U.S. government is trying to help the starving Afghan people by dropping food and medicine into their country.

Reactions Across the Globe
Around the world, many Muslim leaders have condemned bin Laden and other terrorists. They say they will support the U.S. war on terrorism and help rid their own countries of terrorist organizations.

The leaders of Syria and Iraq, however, have refused to condemn bin Laden. They oppose the U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan. So does Iran, but it has promised other help in the war on terrorism.

Anti-U.S. demonstrations have broken out in several Muslim countries, including Indonesia, Egypt, Oman, and Iran. In Pakistan, which neighbors Afghanistan, a series of violent demonstrations have taken place. But, says Pakistan's President, Pervez Musharraf, most Pakistanis support U.S. actions.

President Bush has said repeatedly that this is not a war against Muslims or the Islamic religion. Rather, it is a war against terror.