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Did September 11 change a religion? | ticker VIEWS



Twenty years ago, the world changed. The September 11 attacks, and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq shifted the global terrorism discourse forever

September 11 sparked a new age in terrorism. It placed transnational attacks as a central threat to international norms and security.

The collapse of the Twin Towers; the Pentagon explosion; and the airliner crash in Pennsylvania became vivid reminders that a person’s ordinary day could come to an abrupt and devastating end at the hands of violent extremists.

Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Twenty years on, their stories are not too distant. The images are not in black and white. They are in colour, on our television screens and even referenced popular culture.

“We do not fight Islam, we fight against evil.”


As the world pauses to mark this sombre anniversary, it calls for a reflection on how September 11 changed stereotypes forever.

Representations are important

A few year years ago, I interviewed Shehzi Yusaf, a clinical psychologist who forms part of the Psychology from an Islamic Perspective Interest Group.

The group looks at the mental health concerns of Muslims, and ensures a platform for the definition and nature of Islamic psychology.

But Yusaf said the September 11 attacks had created a lifetime of mental health symptoms for her Muslim clients.

“They have just lived in that era of hostility towards their religion,” she said.

A 2017 study found “significantly more terrorism” has occurred on both a domestic and international front since the September 11 attacks.

Smith and Zeigler’s research concluded that “Jihadist terrorism looks to have become more enduring and wide-spread in the past 15 years.”

Sadly, this appears to have changed perspectives of the Muslim faith.

A 2015 report from the Scanlon Foundation found some groups of Australian Muslims reported high levels of discrimination, including 51 per cent of those who were born in Australia.

The organisation provides grants to improve social cohesion across Australia.

Yusaf said between 15 and 22 per cent of Australians support discrimination based on religion.

Similarly, I recall interviewing Ambreen Mirza who works with Islamic women.

When Mirza gave me the address to her business, she told me to keep it strictly private because of her ongoing fear associated with being Muslim.

“When we work with young people, a lot of their challenges of people a Muslim is not being labelled a terrorist.”


I was stunned, I didn’t think this happened in contemporary society, and it was largely because of the 9/11 attacks.

Who is responsible?

Mirza believes the media, and far-right politicians are to blame for the xenophobic rhetoric on Muslims.

It’s hard to disagree with her. We’ve all seen the September 11-inspired films like United 93, Zero Dark Thirty, or The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Terrorists depicted in the film United 93.

In these films, men with dark features and excessive facial hair are stereotyped as terrorists.

London-based actor Omar Berdouni, who played one of the terrorists in United 93, didn’t expect films like this to be made.

“Not only the passengers were hijacked that day. Also my religion was hijacked in a way that they were killing innocent people in the name of Islam, which couldn’t be far from the truth,” he said.

Emergency services played a key part in the post-9/11 recovery. Photo: U.S. Secret Service.

But xenophobic or Islamaphobic politics isn’t going anywhere. From the Trump Administration’s hardline stance on Muslim immigration, to Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban labelling Muslim migrants as “invaders”.

Ambreen discussed the road out of September 11, and how it shifted depictions of Muslims in contemporary society.

“Often Muslims may not look Muslim, but people aren’t sold on that idea.

“If people don’t get the hijab or they don’t get the traditional ethnic Muslims then they’re not convinced. It’s like they want the ‘real thing’.”


“They think that they are some form of ‘moderate Muslim’, and you’re thinking ‘I’ve never called myself that’,” she said.

What does research tell us?

Even if we put the anecdotal evidence aside, there’s a suite of research into September 11 representations of Muslims.

In fact, research suggests the ‘war on terror’ discourse “ties together terrorism, national security, war and Muslims”.

It also plays into the narrative about Muslims being “‘inherently’ violent, threatening and as potential terrorists”.

“Here in the United States our Muslim citizens are making many contributions in business, science and law, medicine and education, and in other fields.”


As the U.S. marks the 20th anniversary of that fatal day, it’s worth reflecting on our own attitudes and choices.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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Watered down meetings for Pacific leaders



Solomon Islands Prime Minster concludes his second overseas trip in a week as strategic competition heightens

It’s hard to believe a time when leaders from the Pacific jumped on board their emissions-spurting jets to meet with the U.S. President.

But last week 12 leaders from across the Pacific gathered in Washington to meet with President Joe Biden in the first U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit.

“We honoured the history and values that our nations share and expanded our cooperation on key areas that will benefit our people for years to come,” President Biden said.

What was the meeting about?

Leaders from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia were among the guests at the summit.

They discussed maritime security, climate change, and economic development.

Of course, climate change is a crucial issue for these Pacific Island states, many of which are low-lying and vulnerable to the impacts of rising temperatures and sea levels.

These countries are already experiencing higher temperatures, shifts in rainfall patterns, and rising sea levels.

There are also long-term climate variables, which are expected to occur in the future.

The U.S. believes the summit was a platform to “reaffirm its commitment to the Pacific region” and “strengthen its relationships”.

But it was only a matter of time before the climate guise was dropped.

“The security of America, quite frankly, and the world depends on your security, and the security of the Pacific Islands.”


Security is the key word here, because President Biden’s definition of this, may differ from the low-lying states of the Pacific.

Why was it important?

One word: China. When Beijing’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi blitzed through 10 Pacific countries earlier in the year, he had a big deal on his mind: a regional security pact.

“China practices the diplomatic principle of equality among all countries,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The Pacific sensationally declined to sign up to the sweeping deal, which included greater economic and security ties.

Wang said the Pacific region should not to be “too anxious” about Beijing’s intentions.

“China is not a newcomer, but rather an old friend with Pacific Island countries,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Solomon Islands is the key example here, especially after Prime Minster Manasseh Sogavare’s stance on the Declaration following last week’s U.S.-Pacific Partnership.

Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele said he watered down the initial language because it “put us in a position where we’d have to choose sides”.

He added there were “indirect” references to China, however, officials later found “common ground” and Solomon Islands signed up.

It’s no surprise Sogavare was then seen standing next to President Joe Biden for the official photo at last week’s Washington Summit. Fiji’s leader Frank Bainimarama was also strategically on the other side.

It was the first time in 40 years where a Fijian Prime Minister had an official audience with the U.S. President.

Why is Solomon Islands at the centre of this?

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare met with Australia’s leader Anthony Albanese in Canberra today, where the pair reiterated their relationship as “proud Pacific nations”.

“I look forward to engaging with Prime Minister Sogavare on building a strong and prosperous Pacific region, based on principles of transparency, respect and partnership.”


Australia remains Solomon Islands’ largest development partner. But Sogavare’s state visit largely remained behind closed doors, with no media opportunities scheduled.

Prime Minister Sogavare welcomed Australia’s $16.68 million commitment to support the 2023 Pacific Games, and offer to support the next Solomon Islands’ election—an issue where earlier friction was caused.

Sogavare’s visit was part of Canberra’s plan to reduce friction between the two nation.

Earlier this year, Honiara signed a security alliance with Beijing. It stirred a diplomatic pot over concerns a Chinese military base could be established on the island nation.

Australia’s Prime Minister meets with Solomon Islands Prime Minister.

Australia’s then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked for greater transparency over the deal.

But Sogavare lashed out at Australian officials in his nation’s parliament, asking where the same transparency was over the AUKUS alliance between Australia, Britain and the U.S.

“I learnt of the AUKUS treaty in the media. One would expect that as a member of the Pacific family, the Solomon Islands and members of the Pacific should have been consulted to ensure this AUKUS treaty is transparent.”


The recent Washington summit was the perfect opportunity for President Biden to roll out the red carpet and discuss his administration’s plans for the Indo-Pacific region.

On the other hand, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “will keep in close communication with all parties” and “make good use of the mechanism of China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting”.

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How close to a full scale nuclear war are we really?



Since President Vladimir Putin’s latest warning that he is ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, the question of whether or not the former KGB spy is bluffing has become much more urgent.

There are several reasons why Putin’s nuclear warnings have the West worried. First, Russia has been increasingly aggressive in its actions in recent years, from annexing Crimea to intervening in Syria. This has led to a feeling that Putin is becoming more and more reckless and unpredictable.

Second, Russia has been beefing up its nuclear arsenal, with reports indicating that it now has more nuclear warheads than any other country in the world. This increase in firepower makes Putin’s threats all the more credible.

Last but not least, there is the fact that Putin is a former KGB agent. This means that he is no stranger to playing games of brinkmanship and bluffing. In the past, he has used nuclear threats as a way to get what he wants. For example, in 2008, he threatened to aim nuclear missiles at European cities unless the United States agreed to drop plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

The West is worried

Given all of this, it’s no wonder that Putin’s latest nuclear threats have the West worried. Only Putin knows if he is actually bluffing, but given his track record, it’s certainly a possibility.

If a nuclear weapon were used in Ukraine, it would cause a massive humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands of people would be killed or wounded, and millions more would be displaced. The economic and social damage would be enormous, and Europe would be plunged into chaos.

In addition, the use of nuclear weapons would also have devastating consequences for the rest of the world. The nuclear non-proliferation regime would be dealt a serious blow, and there would be a renewed risk of nuclear war.

The world would become a much more dangerous place.

Nuclear impact

A nuclear explosion in Ukraine would have a regional impact, but it could also have global consequences. The use of nuclear weapons would violate the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and this could lead to other countries acquiring nuclear weapons. In addition, the risk of nuclear war would increase, and this would have a negative impact on the entire world.

The UN has condemned Russia’s threats of nuclear war, and it has called on all parties to refrain from any actions that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons. The UN Secretary-General has said that there can be no military solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and he has urged all sides to return to the negotiating table.

Russia has several allies in its war against Ukraine. These include Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Russia also has the support of China and Iran.

The war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on energy prices.

Due to the conflict, there has been a disruption in the supply of natural gas and oil from Ukraine. This has led to an increase in prices for these commodities.

The West can only threaten Putin further, as they’ve done all year, since President Biden warned that Russia was about to invade Ukraine.

Every step of the way, Putin has done exactly what the West has feared.

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“These are the guys?” Putin’s Dad’s army



Vladimir Putin’s army is in a bit of a pickle. They’ve been drafting retirees, and telling conscripts to use tampons for bullet wounds.

This isn’t exactly the most impressive fighting force we’ve ever seen. In fact, they look more like dad’s army than anything else.

It’s clear that Putin is desperate to beef up his forces, but it seems like he’s just throwing bodies at the problem instead of actually preparing them for battle.

Pictures from Sevastopol in Crimea show groups of men — many well into their 50s and 60s gripping weapons and wearing uniforms.

Several appear in questionable fighting shape.

This could be a big problem for Russia if they actually get into a serious conflict. We hope for their sake that they never have to find out.

Thousands of Russian men are fleeing the country to avoid conscription. This just goes to show how unpopular Putin’s policies are, even among his own people.

The Kremlin is now trying to catch thousands of Russian men as they try and leave the country. But it’s not going to be easy.

Many of these men are willing to risk everything to avoid being drafted into Putin’s army.

It’s estimated that up to 100,000 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine since the conflict began.

This is a huge loss of life for Russia, and it’s all thanks to Putin’s reckless policies.

Many of these soldiers were just boys, barely out of their teens. They had their whole lives ahead of them, but they’ll never get to experience it now.

It’s tragic, and it’s all thanks to Putin. He needs to be stopped.

At the same time, a video shared on social media shows a Russian officer telling new recruits what to expect.

“I say right away if you are near the fire, you are f***ed,” she says, before reeling off a list of items they will need to acquire themselves before entering the war zone.

“Take sleeping bags with you, you will sleep where you have to.”

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