NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 11- The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States was commemorated throughout the world on Sunday with Kenya urging the international community to focus its efforts in dealing with the root causes of terrorism.
Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula told a press conference in Nairobi that fighting terrorism was not enough and that there was need to identify and deal with underlying causes.
“We must establish the root cause of extremism and in so doing we must also stop profiling because there is no nation that is a terror nation, there is no religion that is a terror religion there is no community that is terror community; these are activities of wayward individuals.” He said.
Wetangula claimed the genesis of intolerance and extremism can be traced to the conflict in the Middle East between Israel and its Arab neighbours.
“Whenever there is a tiff between Israel and one of it’s neighbors, the reverberations go far and wide. You hear people grumbling in Malaysia, Indonesia and everywhere, so we also know that if we can be able to bring lasting peace to the Middle East we will be able in a small way perhaps to tackle some of the root causes of this extremist behavior,” he said.
He said Kenya on its part will continue to advocate for lasting peace in the Middle East.
World marks decade since 9/11 attacks
From US troops stationed in dusty post-9/11 battle zones to dignitaries in capitals across the globe, the world paid tribute to the victims of the attacks.
With the war sparked by the attacks still raging in Afghanistan 10 years on, US soldiers paused at Bagram and other bases across the country in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 people killed when the Twin Towers came down.
In Kabul, US Ambassador Ryan Crocker joined dozens of embassy staff and troops for a ceremony at the embassy which included the lowering of the American flag, prayers and speeches.
“Some back home ask, why are we here? It has been a long fight and people are tired,” Crocker said. “The reason is simple: Al-Qaeda is not here in Afghanistan, and that’s because we are.”
A Taliban suicide bomber drove a truck into a NATO combat post in eastern Afghanistan, killing two Afghans and wounding around 100, many of them US soldiers.
The US Embassy in Baghdad, in the Iraqi capital’s heavily-fortified Green Zone, observed a minute’s silence at 9:11 am (0611 GMT), followed by brief remarks over the mission’s public address system by Ambassador James Jeffrey.
“It was strictly in-house, low-key and didn’t involve anyone from outside the embassy. The flag was at half-mast, but I think that is the case for all US missions around the world,” US Embassy spokesman Michael McClellan told AFP.
While US President Barack Obama prepared to address a ceremony at Ground Zero in New York, the families of British 9/11 victims attended a packed memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London to commemorate the 67 Britions who died in the 2001 attacks.
“We gather in this cathedral today to remember before God all who died in the atrocities in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania 10 years ago and to pray with those whose lives were changed forever that day,” said Reverend Graeme Paul Knowles, the dean of St. Paul’s.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague meanwhile said that Al-Qaeda, which carried out the attacks, was “weaker than at any time in the decade since 9/11”.
“Political progress through peaceful protest in the Middle East and North Africa has shown (Al-Qaeda) to be increasingly irrelevant to the future,” he said in a statement.
In a moment of discord, around 50 protesters brandished anti-US banners and chanted slogans outside the US embassy in London where a minute’s silence was being held.
An AFP journalist at the scene said the group burnt a small piece of paper with a picture of the US flag on it. Police formed a line near them but there was no violence.
Ten years on, Islamic militancy remains a global threat against which the world must unite, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.
“The struggle against radical Islamic terrorism, which is, in effect, a description of the past decade, is at its peak; it is not yet over. We must all unite, countries that aspire to life, certainly the democracies that cherish life, and act in concert against this blight.”
Germany marked the aniversary with an ecumenical memorial service for the victims at Berlin’s American Church led by representatives of the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths and attended by President Christian Wulff.
The guests, who also included former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, leader of Germany at the time of the attacks, observed a minute of silence.
At Checkpoint Charlie, the former Cold War border crossing between East Berlin and the American sector of the city, a US flag was flying at half-mast and a sign read: “We will not forget September 11, 2001. We Berliners.”
In the first of the global memorials, the US rugby team attended an emotional service in New Zealand hours ahead of their opening World Cup match against Ireland.
At the ceremony, David Huebner, the US ambassador to New Zealand, said 9/11 was a day “to commemorate the triumph of the human spirit”, a rare day “that galvanised the collective hearts and minds of humanity”.
Pope Benedict XVI called on world leaders to resist the “temptation to hate” as he remembered the victims at a mass in Ancona, Italy.
In a letter to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the leader of the world’s Roman Catholics said the tragedy of the attacks was all the worse because those behind it claimed to be acting in the name of God.
The European Parliament will pay tribute to the victims with a minute of silence when the assembly reconvenes Monday, its president Jerzy Buzek said Sunday.
“We will stand not just shoulder to shoulder, but also hand in hand, with the American people”, the former Polish premier said in a letter to US Vice President Joe Biden.