9/11 anniversary causes divisive debate

Yesterday’s tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the USA was the cause of commemorations and discussion all over the world — not least in Iceland where one politician used the day to attack Muslims.

Leader of the newly formed Right Green party (not connected to the ruling Left Greens), Gudmundur Franklin Jonsson, was living in New York at the time of the attacks and working on Wall Street. He was interviewed by DV in one of the most read and discussed articles of the weekend. In it he said that Muslims come “from another world”. DV later interviewed the head of the Muslim Association of Iceland, who criticised Jonsson for his views.

“Of course I fully understand the Americans’ actions in the war on terror following the attacks on the 11th September 2001. It doesn’t do anyone any favours to tread lightly when you’re dealing with terrorists,” Jonsson said.

“This was an attack on the Western culture and lifestyle. Muslims have a completely different understanding of the world the Westerners. People in those countries live in a completely different world to us. Muslims come from another world, they are two dissimilar worlds and it means nothing to mix them together; they should just be allowed to live free from each other,” Jonsson continued.

He experienced the attacks first-hand and says he lost everything in the ensuing financial market turbulence. That is why he has no sympathy for Osama Bin Laden and is happy he was caught and killed, he says.

Salman Tamimi, the leader of the Muslim Association of Iceland responded in a separate interview with DV: “These were terrible crimes, but in no way do they serve to show how dissimilar the cultural worlds of Muslims and Westerners are. Every single person is fundamentally the same: people want to be free and be valued and not be repressed.”

Opinions like Jonsson’s depress him: “We only have one world for all people and it is far from true that Muslims come from some other world. I believe my and my son’s expectations from life are just the same as all the other people God created. I reject these explications [Gudmundur Jonsson’s] outright. Otherwise what exactly have I been doing here for 40 years? It is grievous to split people with these kind of speeches and seed distrust between each other.”

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