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By Fareed Zakaria
Watching the gruesome ISIS execution videos, I felt some of the same emotions I did after 9/11. Barbarism, after all, is designed to provoke anger and it succeeded. But in September 2001, it also made me ask a question: "Why Do They Hate Us?"
I tried to answer it in an almost 7,000-word essay for Newsweek that struck a chord with readers. I reread the essay this past week, to see how it might need updating in the 13 years since I wrote it.
I began the piece by noting that Islamic terror is not the isolated behavior of a handful of nihilists. There is a broader culture that has been complicit in it, or at least unwilling to combat it. Now, things have changed on his front but not nearly enough…
…By 2001, when I was writing, almost every part of the world had seen significant political progress - Eastern Europe was free, Asia, Latin America, and even Africa had held many free and fair elections.
But the Arab world remained a desert. In 2001, most Arabs had fewer freedoms – political, economic, social – than they did in 1951. The one aspect of life that Arab dictators could not ban, however, was religion, so Islam had become the language of political opposition to these secular regimes.
The Arab world was then left with secular dictatorships on the one hand and deeply illiberal, religious groups on the other – Hosni Mubarak and al Qaeda. The more extreme the regime, the more violent was the opposition.
This cancer was deeper and more destructive than I realized.
Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column