The September 11th terrorist bombings have provided enough fodder for the rumor mills to churn out all kinds of conspiracy theories. They range from legitimate questions to outright hoaxes. Unfortunately, many Muslims including some respectable journalists fell into the traps, which were obviously planned to ridicule Muslims.
One of the most laughable ones was the Q33NY hoax, which is still being widely distributed around the net. The email asks the reader to do the following:
“Did you know that a flight number from one of the planes that hit one of the two towers was Q33NY.
In MS Word, type in that flight number.
Enlarge the font size to 26 (any big size). Change the font to Wingdings
What you should end up seeing is:
As soon as the Muslims got this email, they enthusiastically began forwarding it and soon it spread all over the world. The creator of this message wanted to link the terrorists who bombed the WTC towers to the Zionists. While the connection between Zionists and the bombings needs to be investigated, this email doesn’t help at all for several reasons.
First, none of the four planes involved in the attack had a flight number of “Q33NY.” The numbers of the four planes involved were as follows. 1) American Airlines Flight 11 2) American Airlines Flight 77 3) United Airlines Flight 93 4)United Airlines Flight 175.
Secondly, the ‘NY’ in the supposed flight number suggests that flight was destined for New York, which is also not true. The four planes involved were all heading to San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Now turning to conspiracy theories of a more serious nature the information is presented here and the readers are urged to reach their own conclusions. The website of the pro-Hezbullah Al-Manar Television claimed that Four thousand Jews employed by companies housed in the World Trade Center stayed home from work on September 11, warned in advance of the impending attack on the World Trade Center. The report said : “Arab diplomatic sources revealed to the Jordanian al-Watan newspaper that those Israelis remained absent that day based on hints from the Israeli General Security apparatus, the Shabak, the fact which evoked unannounced suspicions on American officials who wanted to know how the Israeli government learned about the incident before it occurred, and the reasons why it refrained from informing the U.S authorities of the information it had.”
President Bush in his address to the nation on Sept.20 mentioned that about 130 Israelis had dies in the attack. But Eric Lipton of the New York Times reported on Sept.22 that there are conflicting reports regarding the exact numbers of Israeli victims of the WTC tragedy. Lipton writes : “..Alon Pinkas, Israel’s consul general here, said that lists of the missing included reports from people who had called in because, for instance, relatives in New York had not returned their phone calls from Israel. There were, in fact, only three Israelis who had been confirmed as dead: two on the planes and another who had been visiting the towers on business and who was identified and buried.” http://rutlandherald.nybor.com/News/Story/34244.html
Furthermore, there is a report about the arrest of five Israeli citizens for “puzzling behavior” near the World Trade Center within hours of the attacks. First reported by the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz Daily on September 17th, this story has so far been icompletely ignored by mainstream media in the US and elsewhere. The paper reported that they worked for a moving company owned by a Israeli. They were arrested by the FBI some four hours after the attack on Twin Towers while filming the smoking skyline from the roof of their company’s building in New Jersey. They reportedly were caught videotaping the disaster and shouting in “what was interpreted as cries of joy and mockery.”)
What is puzzling is that the American media which has been so quick to report all kinds of ‘breakthoughs’ chose to overlook these significant arrests.
The suspicions there might be a hidden hand behind these attacks is strengthened by several other facts. Conicidentally, on the day of the terrorist attacks, Arab American and Muslim leaders were in Washington to meet President Bush. The relations between the President and the Muslims had become strained and the meeting was much anticipated. When the planes hit the towers, the meeting was hastily cancelled. Did someone didn’t want the Bush administration and Muslims to improve their relationship???
Additionally, in the months leading up to the terror attacks, Israeli newspapers have carried several reports expressing their alarm over the growing Muslim populations in North America and Europe.
The Ha’aretz Daily of June 13,2001 reported : “Amajor demographic change is taking place in Western Europe. The number of Muslims is increasing, while the number of Jews is on the decline. This demographic trend has political implications for the status of Jews in Western Europe, but also, in many cases, on the position of Western European countries toward Israel.”
In a June 17 Jerusalem Post article titled ‘America’s changing faces,’ Daniel Bloch refering to American Muslims wrote: “The Muslims have become more politically sophisticated. No more the hostile tactics of Malcolm X and Farrakhan or the anti-Jewish rhetoric of the Arab-American organizations of the Eighties. Its PR is geared toward the soft sell, interfaith cooperation, and coalition building with religious groups, Jews included
They are also cultivating the secular non-Zionist groups, such as the Jewish Labor Committee. They work on political campaigns, such as Bush for President. They are members of labor unions.”
In another Ha’aretz article published on June 20, 2001, titled ‘The impact of the ‘Arab vote’ in the United States,’ Eliahu Salpeter wrote: ‘Nevertheless, the growth in the number of Muslims, their increased political awareness (the most politically active members of the American Muslim community are university students), and the decline in the number of Jews as a result of assimilation will play a key role in the balance of power between the forces vying for influence in Washington. This change in the balance of power can already be felt in the activities of Arab lobbying groups in the U.S.Congress.”
Was some one jealous of the rising demographic and political power of Muslims in the West? Did someone wanted to turn the Americans and Europeans against the Muslims.
Another latest conspiracy theory has been put forward by none other than Lord Parekh, the Labor peer. According to The Telegraph newspaper Lord Parekh speaking in Mumbai, India blamed ‘American anarchists’ for the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. He said: “My own suspicion is that the attacks could well have been masterminded by American anarchists.”
In conclusion there are many conspiracy theories and we will see more of them in near future. Muslims especially journalists must be extremely cautious in broadcasting unsubstantiated claims and should not do anything which will make them a laughing stock of the world.
Mr. Ayub Khan is a student and freelance journalist. His articles have appeared in Islamonline and Muslim Observer.