From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’

Full post here.

On what Mohammed Atta may have been looking for in the Bab-al Nasr district of Aleppo, Syria, as an architectectural student:

“Just a few paces into the labyrinth, the din of vehicular traffic is replaced by the banter of conversation in the marketplace. A brief stroll deeper, and the voices of men are replaced by the voices of boys chasing after a soccer ball in a courtyard as a hijab clad mother looks on from the window above”

Beauty, the past, meaning, religious purity…and perhaps confirmation of what he already believed:

To Atta, the French planners’ imposition of modernist urbanism on this “Islamic-Oriental city” wasn’t just architecturally ugly—it undermined the traditional Islamic culture of the neighborhood. So did globalization, an economic force of impersonal, mechanistic transactionsthat bestows inordinate power on wealthy, non-Muslim countries

…restoring a supposed Middle Eastern golden age that existed before Western encroachment and secularization. Atta has written this arcadia into his thesis.”

…ideas that helped Atta lead, as Atta led himself, to New York on a path of extreme and radical violence, which is tough to discuss, let alone forgive.

Though I could still, aesthetically and politically, have some sympathy for Atta as our author informs us of his hometown:

“With the crumbling legacy of European imperialism and American-backed dictatorship written into its Paris-meets-Houston cityscape, Cairo is one of the world’s worst advertisements for East-West relations.”

See Also On This Site:  Christopher Caldwell points out that multiculturalism is an obviously insufficient set of ideas for dealing with the tensions between native Europeans and largely immigrant Muslims:  From The NY Times: Review Of Christopher Caldwell’s Book “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West”

Are secular humanism and the kind of political freedoms we enjoy in the West incompatible with Islam?:  From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism

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