As we approach the anniversary of 9/11/2001, I want to leave a simple message of tribute to those who died then (on 9/11) and now, serving in the military. May God bless and comfort their families. Never forget that day, or the days that followed, when we as a nation stood hand in hand together. Not Republican and Democrat, but Americans. May we get back to that.
I have been doing a series of posts on bigotry, because some people think all Muslims think alike. Below is a letter from a Muslim, in regards to 9/11, I think its important for us all to read. It was printed in Time one year after 9/11.
As an Egyptian, I find myself compelled to apologize to the American people for what happened to them on Sept. 11. I apologize because one of those involved in that horrible disaster was Egyptian. As a man of letters, I declare myself innocent of having any part in the creation of the culture that spawned these individuals.
A long time before New York City’s Twin Towers were destroyed, many towers in my country were brought down by this same brand of perpetrators. They killed President Anwar Sadat, who initiated peace with Israel and liberalism in Egypt; they killed the Egyptian writer Farag Fouda, a defender of freedom and secularism; they stabbed our Nobel laureate, Naguib Mahfouz, when he was 82 years old, after discovering that 30 years earlier he had written a novel they considered the work of an infidel. They said they had not read the novel. Who told them it was sacrilegious? Someone living in a cave in the mountains of Afghanistan, or sitting in a London café or a mosque in New Jersey, told them so. In Egypt alone, these fundamentalists have killed more than 1,000 policemen and ordinary citizens, Christian and Muslim alike. In one of the most beautiful places on earth, the temple of Queen Hatshepsut in Luxor, they slaughtered nearly 60 tourists in 1997. In Algeria their sickles endlessly harvest the souls of the poor and helpless. They have committed all these crimes with the purpose of establishing the kingdom of God on earth and have succeeded only in turning our lives into hell.
In my country, art, education and the economy have all been leveled to a ground zero. I’m convinced, though, that the problem we face is not religious but political. And so it will never be solved with a religious summit. If you hold a meeting of Muslim sheiks, Christian pastors and Jewish rabbis, they inevitably come out with blissful smiles and report that they have found their values to be mostly identical, and they are right.
Extremism may claim God as its redeemer, but it’s really the selfish product of lunacy. In America, the most free and modern nation of our time, you see it too. You saw it with Jim Jones, who told his flock in Guyana to follow him into death by drinking poisoned Kool-Aid, and you saw it when David Koresh created his own small hell in Waco, Texas.
In my part of the world, the Arab Middle East, a great tragedy results from our governments’ well-intentioned attempts to cure society of extremism through education. These leaders, however, don’t teach what they should to produce the values they want. They seek moderation and enforce piety. They seek citizens who value life, yet their school curriculum’s exalt the value of science and ignore philosophy and history and the liberal, humanistic values they embody. That is why those who excel in such a system are no less immune to the call of extremism.
Our governments assume that people need to understand Islam in its purest form to stay religiously moderate. The result is the mass production of true believers, not good citizens. Because people initially welcome the imposed piety but then gradually realize it doesn’t equip them to meet the challenges of getting through life, life becomes a morbid burden. To shake off this burden, some of them, usually young men, can’t wait for natural death and decide instead to take a short cut to heaven.
Before ascending, they must have a cause that’s canonized by their community—the greatest cause on earth, capable of justifying their sacrifice in the eyes of their kin. It’s not enough to die fighting for their country; they must be fighting for God. Once they have secured that cause, they search for a way to ennoble it in the eyes of ordinary people who do not share their holy delusion but whose admiration they crave. They know that most people respect logic and reason. So they go looking for a nationalistic cause: this is what Osama bin Laden did when he claimed the Palestinian cause as a justification for the destruction of Sept. 11.
But beneath their claims is a sadder truth: these extremists are pathologically jealous. They feel like dwarfs, which is why they search for towers and all those who tower mightily. We must admit that we failed to teach these people that life is worth living. These extremists exist now, and will exist forever, so the question before us must be, How can we defend both our lives and theirs? We in the Arab world love freedom and want the chance at a decent life. We are not different from you, as it sometimes seems. We may be just temporarily backward. Working together, our governments must decide how, with what culture and by what actions, they will combat the influence of those who hate life.
—Ali Salem is a playwright and the author of several books, including “Journey into Israel.” He lives in Cairo
Never forget my friends, never forget. And thank you to Ali Salem and other Muslims and Arabs who have spoken out against extremism. Thank you to all people who have sent their respects to our nation and to the families of the fallen. Thank you to all the troops, both foreign and domestic that fight for the cause of freedom. The troops who are volunteers, knowing that we are at war, but still raise their right hand. Thank you to our brave fire and police personnel, who when others are running out, you are running in. Thank you to those nations who send their young men and women to fight beside ours.
If I missed anyone, please accept my apology. I can never say thank you enough for all those mentioned. They are the new hero’s of our time. All of us would do well to fashion our life like theirs. May God bless them all. There is one more thing I would like to say to our fine young men and women in our armed forces. It is a little prayer I pray daily. I would ask us all to say this little prayer. That goes out to our Muslim soldiers as well.
May God keep you safe, never too hot, never too cold, never too hungry, never too lonely, always thankful, always enlightening, may He shield your eyes from the things that would haunt you. May He shield your body from the enemy. May He wrap His loving arms around you at all times. May He remind you at all times, that His love and grace is sufficient. May He heap blessings upon you and your family, and keep them from worry. May He bless the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, and free them from al qaeda and the Taliban.
We all know that freedom is never free. I would ask my readers to go up to a veteran, a police officer, any fire personnel, any current service member of our armed forces; Buy them a cup of coffee, or dinner, or even just shake their hand. Let them know you appreciate their service. Remember it is because of these men and women, that you are free, safe, and live the way you do.
We seldom think of it, but we should. How many police and fire official’s die in the line of duty every year?? How many are retired because of injury in the line of duty?? Do you know?? Have you ever thought about it?? What about our military personel, how are their families taken care of if they die in battle?? Are they provided for?? What about their children, is there money for them to go to college?? What can we do to help??
These are important questions, that you should be asking. You should be trying to assist where you can. We get calls for this charity, and that charity, but these people never call out for help. We are a generous nation, there are charities you could donate too that helps with the above. Please consider donating to them.