Campus Reform | Profs blame 9/11 on US foreign policy, racism at event featuring speakers with ties to terrorists

Profs blame 9/11 on US foreign policy, racism at event featuring speakers with ties to terrorists

Rutgers University and San Francisco State University sponsored a 9/11 event with multiple speakers that blamed the attacks on American policies.

UCLA professor Robin Kelley also said that 'every generation learns is that U.S. empire threatens the future of humanity.'


Several speakers at the Rutgers University and San Francisco State University-sponsored  virtual “roundtable discussion” “Whose Narrative? 20 Years Since 9/11 2001”  laid blame for 9/11 on America.

Director of AMED Studies at SFSU Rabab Abdulhadi began this year’s 9/11 event by holding a “moment of silence” for all those who were killed on September 11, 2001. She then announced that the event will “depart from the US centric approach by remembering and thinking of all those who have fallen around the world as a direct result of U.S. interventionist and imperialist wars.”

History professor at University of California Los Angeles Robin Kelley then explained that 9/11 was a “manifestation of U.S. empire and the racism that undergirds it.”

“The lessons I think that every generation learns is that U.S. empire threatens the future of humanity,” Kelley continued.

Abdulhadi had introduced Kelley before his remarks and also stated that she wished to “challenge conventional wisdom” that 9/11 was a “unique and exceptional watershed.” 

She continued by saying that this line of thinking “revolves around and builds upon the US and Israeli exceptionalism, legitimize imperialist wars and interventions, including the so called war on terror, justify the security state with its increased surveillance and profiling, incarceration, torture, rendition and assassination, and promotes hyper masculinity and a call colonial gender and sexualized violent order of modern modernity and civilization.” 

[RELATED: University-sponsored 9/11 event features speakers with ties to terrorists]

Deepa Kumar, a professor at Rutgers University, claimed that 9/11 was a “turning point” for America because it “strengthened and consolidated U.S. imperialism” as well as “strengthened the domestic national security state.”

Kumar said that after the fall of the Soviet Union following the Cold War, the United States needed to find a new adversary. That new adversary, according to Kumar, was Islam. 

“Pockets of the ruling elite, particularly the neoconservatives, began to write about Islamic fundamentalism as a potential key threat to U.S. global interests,” Kumar said.

She proposed that domestic programs were started to “police the racial Muslim” such as “intrusive surveillance” which she then compared to the surveillance perpetrated by “East Germans under the Stasi.” 

“Also, Muslims have been registered, detained, deported, tortured through measures like solitary confinement, and trapped and so forth,” she continued. 

 Kumar conjectured that America’s future “imperial dominance” will not be a “war on terror” but rather a “war of terror” against “people in the Middle East, North Africa, Central and South Asia.”

UC Berkeley ethnic studies professor Hatem Bazian stated that a “good Muslim is the one that hugs the United States, that embraces everything of imperial power, that prescribes to the imitative project in all its particulars and totalities and begin to push this framing.” 

Bazian also argued that “Islamophobia is not about the Muslim.” Rather, it is about the “western power structure, using the Muslim as the subject in order to drive this Imperial policy, and centered with military industrial complex in the front part, or the front power dynamics.”

[RELATED: WATCH: Students think 9/11 lessons should omit 'gruesome' details, 'avoid placing blame']

Wilfred Laurier University professor Jasmin Zine revealed that her first thought when she watched the Twin Towers fall was “please don't let this be a Muslim responsible for this attack.”

“Because we knew that it wouldn't just be those individuals who are responsible, that would be held accountable, but Muslims around the world would pay a price, and there would be a collective guilt and burden of responsibility as a result,” she continued.

She also discussed “liberal Islamophobia” in the United States and Canada as a “celebration of differences in the Mulsim presence” but simultaneously an “impulse of fetishistic fascination with the exotic otherness of Muslims” and a “racial disavow.”  

Former South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as a “people’s uprising” against “imperialism” and “White supremacy” joining in an “anti-war, anti-imperialist coalition.”

“And the lesson from 9/11 is to resist and to form anti-imperialist solidarity of all the forces from Black Lives Matter [and] the anti-war movements of Europe and North, North America, to Africa, Asia, Latin America,” he continued.

[RELATED: 'There is Blood on US Hands' message appears at students' 9/11 memorial]

Lebanese American University professor Rania Masri admitted that 9/11 was not the issue. Instead, it was then-President George Bush’s speech following the attack. 

“For me, the horror wasn't 911 itself, which I experienced back when I was living in North Carolina. For me the horror was George W. Bush's speech, I found his speech to be completely horrific, because here he was openly declaring, quote, forever wars,” Masri said. 

Masri goes on to say that Bush and subsequent leaders committed the “terrorist act” of conducting “forever wars” following 9/11. 

“What would be uncommon… would be for the United States not to invade and destroy and bomb and commit atrocities against other peoples of the world,” she continued.

Panelist Sami Al-Arian suggested that action should be taken because of America’s “false narrative of imperialism and settler colonialism.”

“What America needs today is a massive grassroots movement to mobilize, organize, resist, and change, particularly among the communities that have been impacted and affected by this so-called Global War on Terror that we have seen just in the past few weeks. How it has been exposed, and defeated,” he concluded.

[RELATED: American Studies department's only 9/11 event focuses on 'anti-Blackness'] 

Previously, Campus Reform reported on the SFSU Arab Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora (AMED) group that attempted to hold a virtual event featuring terrorist hijacker Leila Khaled last year.

Campus Reform also reported on SFSU employing Rabab Abdulhadi who is known to have participated in events with Khaled. She also posted on Facebook that she “wanted to grow up to become another Leila Khaled.”  

Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook told the group they could not use their streaming services for the events.

Another panelist for the 9/11 roundtable event Sami Al-Arian plead guilty in 2006 to providing amenities to a US recognized terrorist organization the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He was ultimately deported to Turkey as part of his punishment.

Campus Reform reached out to the mentioned panelists as well as Rutgers University and San Francisco State University but did not receive a response.