It is also important to point out that the Middle East in its present form, with its current borders, is largely a creation of the western powers in the early 20th century, designed for their interests and their enrichment, rather than in the interests of the people who live there.
From this perspective, those of us who live comfortable lives in the predominantly Christian west are centrally implicated in the crisis in the Middle East, and in the advent of global terrorism.
So what does this mean for social work, and for social workers?
I believe social work has responses to make, at different levels.
However in most of these, social workers have not been high-profile, and have been seen by others as marginal, when compared with lawyers, economists, development theorists and international relations experts.
Unfortunately, this potential has not been realised, and the responses to terrorism have, almost without exception, served to exacerbate the issues which led to the problem.
One of these, which in the current climate is particularly courageous, is to apply a classical social work systemic analysis to terrorism, refusing simply to pathologise the individual, though of course strongly and unreservedly condemning their violent actions, but seeking to understand those actions in a wider context, just as a social worker would do with any offender.
That context is historical, political and cultural, and the actions of terrorists must be understood this way.
Powerful nations of the west have chosen to flex their muscles and reassert their power and dominance, rather than to stop and reflect and examine their own responsibility in shaping a world where there is such inequality and such injustice that some people feel they have no alternative but to resort to the methods of terrorism.
We have seen many more deaths as a result of the reaction to 9/11 than there were on that tragic day itself, and the death count keeps climbing.