September 8th, 2014
03:55 PM ET

Revisiting 'Why Do They Hate Us?'

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

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

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Topics: Fareed's Take • Middle East • Religion

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. kwhill1

    Super! Thanks Kim!

    September 8, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
    • kwhill1

      Super. I will have a pizza. Half pepperoni and the other half beef and cheddar.

      September 9, 2014 at 5:48 am |
  2. banasy©

    Revisiting the revisited column? Okay.

    September 8, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
    • banasy©

      I will be revisiting my local pizza parlor and be having a small pan pepperoni pizza.

      September 9, 2014 at 5:53 am |
      • banasy©

        Not I.

        September 9, 2014 at 11:18 am |
  3. Nick

    Its a little simplistic. What about the Chenyans; what about Dagestanis, Abu Sayyef in the Phillipines, and Boko Haram in Nigeria, etc and so on. Many of those in ISIS and other such Islamic extremist groups are foreign fighters in the Arab territories. When you watch videos you hear translations being made so fighters can understand eachother. Many are from Pakistan. With all due respect, your show used to stand apart but now Global GPS is becoming more and more just another media platform for NeoCons who have begun to dominate your guest rosters in the past few months.

    September 8, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
    • Nick

      I keep it simplistic. A pepperoni pizza and nothing else on it.

      September 9, 2014 at 5:55 am |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    @ banasy©.
    I'm glad to see that you are posting more. It's not nearly as good when you're away.

    September 8, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
  5. George patton

    @Joey. I concur. And same to you!

    September 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      @ George patton,
      So do you want to join my Country Club? I mean, the one where we sip expensive wine and ignore the thousands of murders our country commits?
      When I take you there, bring your yacht, as the members will want to see it...and don't mention the Netherlands or anything about courts.
      Review Debrett"s.

      September 8, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
      • banasy©

        East Coast or West Coast? Ivory tower or just bourgeoise stone?
        The building material is very important.
        Appearances must be maintained.

        September 8, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Frashini©

        I shall have one slice of pepperoni pizza and a glass of red wine, thank you.

        September 9, 2014 at 6:00 am |
    • George patton

      I shall enjoy a pepperoni pizza. Add bacon and cheddar.

      September 9, 2014 at 6:07 am |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Why do they hate us? You ask. It's our senseless expansionist policies abroad that's making them do it!

    September 8, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Frashini©

      Why do they hate us? Because we have the best pepperoni pizza in the world.

      September 9, 2014 at 6:09 am |
  7. Ferhat Balkan

    Becuz... Haters gonna hate?

    September 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
    • Ferhat Balkan

      I want veggies on my pepperoni pizza.

      September 9, 2014 at 6:12 am |
  8. Dave Yarin

    Looking back on your 2001 column reminded me of another column that I believe you wrote. It was October 2000; you had just been named the Foreign Desk Editor at Newsweek, and the USS Cole had just been attacked. If I recall correctly, in your column discussing the Cole attack, you mentioned that it was just the beginning, and eventually terrorists would look to cause an attack on US soil, which of course took place 11 months later. Am I recalling that column correctly?

    September 8, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
    • Dave Yarin

      I often enjoy pepperoni pizza while I read or watch the news. It's what I do.

      September 9, 2014 at 6:17 am |
  9. Keep it simple, Fareed!

    Fareed, you are a student of history. You know that the Islamic World ruled from Spain to Indonesia for several centuries. Well, from 1750 thru 1950, the Europeans defeated them. This caused what I refer to as the "base" of anger, hatred & disappointment. Then, in 1950, Israel comes into their picture and swipes away even more of their world. the Palestinians are kicked out of their own home. Remember, 710,000 refugees? cause for more hatred. This is followed by several CIA Sponsored coups including the one that established Shah Reza Pahlavi into Iran. More cause for hatred. Then Israel kicks their behinds again and takes even more of their land. Then USSR takes Afghanistan. More hatred. Then 911 happens which causes Iraq to be destroyed for no reason. Even more hatred. Does the West understand this? Yes, they not only hate us now, they really really really hate us now. It is almost as if we have stabbed this bull all over its body, and now we are trying to analyze why it is spitting mad at us???

    September 8, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
    • so true

      good point. poking and prodding muslims seems to have become our permanent fetish. Yes, there is a historic reason for this fetish, but if one were to sit in a quiet room with Sigmund Freud, and really talk about it, for a few days, he would advise us to get over it, and learn to work WITH them muslims. What a refreshingly intelligent approach that would be! Imagine turning on the TV and seeing: "Breaking News", we are working with the muslims now. We killed zero muslims today. In fact, we just traded 300 trillion worth of good with them. How awesome would that be? The only problem with that approach: the war mongers would have to go hungry. hmmmmmmm. food for thought!

      September 9, 2014 at 12:45 am |
      • so true

        This bombing of Muslims must stop. It is counter productive and does not achieve any good objective. Sigmund Freud was a pioneer in finding refreshing solutions to many problems. How would he handle today's global problems? Well, he would give a pepperoni pizza party and make sure that each pizza was thin, well cooked, and had double pepperoni.

        September 9, 2014 at 5:37 am |
    • the freudian approach

      Can we get some muslims into that same quiet room with us, along with Sigmund Freud helping us to figure it out? What a great idea. There are actually some very very smart muslims living permanently in the US at this very moment. How about we make an open forum discussion happen, at a huge university campus auditorium or city civic auditorium, and advertize it for 3 months, so that many folk attend? we should have christians, muslims, non-religious people, every race, all colors, castes and creeds, attend, and then we can have a really smart guy like Fareed guide the event. Wow, now we might actually get somewhere with that. communication really is the key.......

      September 9, 2014 at 12:56 am |
    • Keep it simple, Fareed!

      Why do they really hate us? We need to ask ourselves, do they have a Pizza Hut? What about a Pizza Inn or Papa Johns. Are they able to order pizza from Dominos for delivery like us or Israel? What about a Mr. Gattis or Cici's Pizza buffet. Let's think about it.

      September 9, 2014 at 5:45 am |
    • Keep it simple, Fareed!

      Keep it simple. One large pepperoni pizza, thin of course, and sliced Chicago style. And a bottle of wine. No complications.

      September 9, 2014 at 6:04 am |
      • banasy©

        What is "sliced Chicago style"?

        September 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
      • bobcat2u

        You know banasy, ie, the way they slice it in Chicago, as opposed to the way they slice it in New York or on the Gulf Coast.
        I've heard it's all in the wrist.

        September 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • banasy©

        And here I had no idea that there were regional "styles". Huh.

        September 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
      • bobcat2u

        A pizza by any other name smells just as cheesy. No matter how you slice it.

        September 9, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
      • banasy©


        September 9, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        @ Regina,
        "Sliced Chicago style" is a' l'Al Capone.

        September 13, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
  10. the freudian approach

    I feel that such an open and televised discussion would be very productive. People of all races will be there and pepperoni pizza shall be served. Thin and crispy of course. One step closer to world harmony.

    September 9, 2014 at 5:29 am |
  11. Tony

    No need for Freud here just facts... umm, lets see...

    Fareed asked, "why do they hate us?" simply,my dear: 1) we have a huge amount of money to spare into anything we wanted thanks to taxpayers; 2) we have the largest military mighty power over sea and at home; 3) we piled up the world's cultures right here at home then we modeled it into our own caprice as long as it's profitable; 4) we're a pagan society, many creeds to worship regardless color or ethnic background; 5) culturally we live the present into the future, never look back in time; 6) we're a censorial culture in which predominates immediate gratification rather then later; 7) we barbecue and drink freely, they don't; 8)we have the best intelligence driving money maker beautiful women, they don'; 9) we have the best most secular universities around the world and the best brain in the market, they don't; 10)we're a two fold political society: democratic but also kick ass-interventionist; (11 we're the technology epicenter most imaginative and the cream of the best society/civilization western-culture the world can offer at the present moment, there's no other model available... our presence in the world is the equivalent of a magic-wand to cure misery, poverty and lift lethargic culture everywhere, our presence is only here to inseminate the world with our American-seeds for millenniums, the Muslin, Russia or China cannot stop our future trajectory to the unthinkable, even today with the worst president of the US's history we still are the winner....

    September 9, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
    • dream on, kid

      I was about to say: Go Tony Go! Until I read the last sentence. Are you that afraid of black people? Obama is half-white, for crying out loud. Don't be so afraid little boy. Didn't your mommy and your bible teach you to love people of all races? Shame on you! And you actually have half a brain....

      September 9, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
    • dream on, kid

      hey Tony, arrogant little white boy. Let me deflate your balloon just a little, so that you can enjoy your ride down from the stratosphere! Your comments are actually very positive, because they describe America of the past. Notice I said PAST??? Nice, Tony, very nice. But, my dear fellow, here is what America is like today: many many kids have grown up really spoiled, with everything material imaginable, every iGadget imaginable, and that has made them softees. You know, the kind that can't hold down a job, because they want to party on monday and friday, in addition to the weekend? You know what I mean yes?

      September 9, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
    • banasy©

      My personal favorite was #7.

      September 9, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
  12. chri§§y

    Lol must be a guy thing @ banasy! Especially if its all in the wrist as bobcat said! Lol

    September 9, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
    • bobcat2u

      I see you caught my drift. LOL

      September 9, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
      • banasy©

        Somebody wrassles their pepperoni way too much.

        September 9, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
  13. dream on, kid

    I'm not done yet, Tony the Ace, who is better than everybody! Now let's talk about the reality of American family life. Ever heard the word "divorce" Tony m'boy? Yeah, nasty little word huh? 50% of your awesomely superior country is divorced, my friend. It's that "spoiled brat syndrome" that kicks in and ruins everything huh? And now let's talk about drugs. Ummmmm, do you know that 50% of Americans are getting high regularly, if not on nicotene and alcohol, its on every illegal substance imaginable? And don't get me started on prescription medication abuse. Do you know how many percosets and xanax and vicodins are being abused in USA annually? It's in the billions Tony m'boy, the billions. I guess it's all that "instant gratification" that needs to kick in huh?

    September 9, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
  14. dream on, kid

    Sorry Tony, not quite finished yet. let's talk about ridiculous debt now, my friend. Do you know the average American is in debt over his or her ears? And your wonderful country is in the "Mariana Trench" when it comes to national debt. Know what it feels like to be lugging a sack filled with US $ 20 trillion tied around your neck Tony? Guess not. You wouldn't be so buoyant with a weight like that shackled to your ankles, that's for sure. Now let's talk about decadence Tony. Party, party, party..... that's what American kids want to do, all the time huh? Well, unfortunately, it takes hard work to sustain a superior nation, not the "party animal" philosophy. No wonder this ship is sinking!

    September 9, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
  15. pepperoni pizza is really really really bad for you

    And last, but not least, is deception, Tony m'boy. We have become a nation that lies all the time. Our politicians lie to us, our news media lies to us, we lie to each other, we lie to our spouses, we lie to our kids. It's all a lie Tony, dear, all one big fat lie! Don't you agree? With so many lies flying around, there is no room for the truth anymore. And this false modern day American existence that is based on greed, just causes us to lie even more! If we ever hope to "get back to where we once belonged", we need to get back to the truth. Telling the truth, Living the truth. And truly working hard! And definitely not eating too much pepperoni pizza, because, yes indeed, they LIED to you...... pepperoni pizza is really really really bad for you!

    September 9, 2014 at 8:43 pm |
    • Ferhat Balkan

      You know it's amazing how much media coverage as well as attention ISIS gets by our government... I was recently reading some articles on global warming which seem to somehow get sidelined every time. According to reports, the CO2 greenhouse gas emitted by human activities was 396.0 parts per million (ppm) in 2013, that's 2.9 ppm higher than in 2012. They mentioned that the increase was the largest since accurate an reliable readings began around 1984. So basically our planet is being cooked in an oven, yet the media and the government is talking about the "imminent" ISIS threat and the other various terrorist organizations in Africa etc. In other words, they're seeking war. Why? It's simple really, war brings profit to the weapon manufacturers. Those same manufacturers fund the corrupt politicians as well as invest in or have some control over the media. They'll continue to lie or exaggerate, as long as it suits their pockets.

      September 9, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
      • awesome comment, Ferhat

        Yes indeed, Ferhat. It is exactly as you are saying. That's why I love reading your comments. god bless you, my friend. Global warming is slowly but surely going thru the roof, but our war mongers have us totally focused on murdering muslims. just unbelievable. Their sick game is all about money.......

        September 9, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Good post, Ferhat. Thank you.

        September 9, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        @ awesome comment,
        You think that wars are about money?
        What do you think that the Global WarminguhClimate Change/Green/Bedbug Industry is about? Jesus?
        Money is Green.

        September 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
  16. chri§§y

    Exactly @ Ferhat. We need to get new blood in Congress, and i mean all of them! Term limits have to be a must, to ward off the tendacy for corruption. The longer theyre in office the more comfortable and lazy they become!

    September 9, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Thank you, chrissy. I fully agree.

      September 9, 2014 at 11:55 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Why dose most of the world dislike Ted Cruz , and why would Rick Perry pretend to be a smart ?

    September 10, 2014 at 2:20 am |
    • go back to being a tank engine

      Thomas, please go back to being a Tank Engine. You are much better off that way!

      September 10, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
  18. chri§§y

    Wars ARE about money! Money and greed! Wth difference does the "color of money" mean? What an odd comment altogether!

    September 13, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
  19. Philip

    OK. One more time. The world hates USA GB ISRAEL because of obesity and debt. Because of armies being sent out to acquire mire stuff for flag wavers. And drug addicts. Weapons makers/war profiteers. Throw in a few gay priests raping boys and you get the picture.

    September 13, 2014 at 7:40 pm |

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