Normally, I post an article reflecting on my conversion to Islam and reflect on the impact 9/11 had on that decision, but today I have decided to sum up my reflection with May God Bless America and all humanity and give us all the strength, wisdom, and compassion to rid the world of all forms of tyranny, radicalism, oppression, and death. That said, I decided to share an article from a dear friend and brother.
The tower formerly known as Sears stood empty. Lake Shore Drive, the Loop, and State Street presented an eerie silence not seen since perhaps, well…ever. Stores closed early, professional sports games were cancelled, and a sudden sinking feeling seemed to pull at the depths of every American soul. Friday marks the 8 year anniversary of that date, September 11, 2001; a day, like Pearl Harbor, that will live in infamy.
Americans across the country awoke to news never witnessed by this generation. News of an attack on domestic soil. Was it a missle? Was it just an accident? Perhaps there was pilot error? As our government scrambled to find answers we waited in fear and hope. Fear that more attacks were on their way, and hope that God protect our nation and every citizen within our nation. Finally news broke that a man named “Osama bin Laden” claimed responsibility for the attacks. While American Christians, American Jews, and American Muslims (along with countless m faiths) mourned the devastation of their country together, Muslims in America felt a particular pain. A pain that can only be known the day your faith is hijacked by terrorists.
In the coming days America would find that nearly 3000 of its fellow citizens, innocent citizens, lost their lives. Women, men, children, elderly, black, white, brown, Christian, Jewish, and yes, even Muslim Americans went to work that day, went to day care that day, went to see a loved one that day – and never came home. Every lost life made American Muslims question again and yet again, why Islam? Why did these terrorists have to hijack Islam?
For terrorism in the form of Nazism or Apartheid, for example, can easily be distinguished. Such forms of thought by definition require their adherents to suppress those unlike them. Such forms exist only to create devastation and destruction. However Islam is an Arabic word that by definition means peace! It is a religion that teaches, “whosoever killed a person, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind” (Holy Qur’an Chapter 5 Verse 33). Again, the Prophet Muhammad taught, “A Muslims is one by whose hand and tongue people are safe. A believer is one from whom people know their wealth and lives are safe.” (Bukhari)
With such clear invocations it becomes inconceivable that anyone, no matter how incompetent, could misconstrue the true message of peace inherent to Islam. As the old adage goes, ‘common sense isn’t all that common.’ However, out of the rubble, out of the turmoil, out of the anxiety and uncertainty, something special happened. All was not lost. What rose was a better nation, a better America. Americans across the country began to reach out – churches reached out to mosques, mosques reached out to synagogues. In the coming days countless religious communities organized joint prayer services, invoking God’s good grace and help. We put aside our differences and joined together as Americans, as humans. In a lesser country, a weaker country, such an atrocious event as 9/11 could very well have torn the country in two. Perhaps in another time the same could have happened to our great nation. However, the day Islam was hijacked by terrorists did not serve to break apart our nation. Rather, our nation became stronger and our people became better people.
That is not to say we are ‘perfect’ and things have wrapped up neatly like the conclusion of a television sitcom. However, any task worth doing is worth struggling for. Neither was America founded in ease, nor will America remain as the greatest country in the world with ease. Along the road there have been bumps and surely these bumps won’t disappear with some magic potion. However, one thing is for sure. History has testified that the day Islam was hijacked by terrorists was not a victory of the terrorists. Rather, it was a victory over the terrorists by Americans of all faiths. May God Bless America.