Arabs, Muslims and September 11

Arabs, Muslims and September 11

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The unconscionable tragedy that besieged our nation September 11 has shocked Americans. Indeed, images of the carnage that traveled around the world proved how vulnerable the world is to barbaric terrorism.

But as that shock turned into anger, a dangerous mix of emotions began to settle across America.

 

Talk-Radio callers queued on the phone to vent their anger after the attacks. "We need to nuke them all!" said one caller. "Throw all foreigners out of the country," declared another.

Television news broadcasts brought in so-called experts to discuss the identity of the perpetrators. "All fingers point to the Arabs," alleged one analyst. "We need to keep our eyes on those Muslims," concluded another.

These hateful comments were the backdrop to the fear that swept the Arab and Muslim communities here in the United States. Mosques were fire bombed, Muslim women were harassed and some who "looked like they were from that part of the world" were attacked.

 

Regardless of who is ultimately found to be responsible for these terrorist attacks, no ethnic or religious community should be collectively blamed. Blaming ethnicity and religion as the root of this catastrophe only drags countless more innocents into a cycle of hate.

Grouping Muslims or Arabs with terrorists is unjust and prejudiced. Even as the unscrupulous criminals behind this tragedy cloak themselves under a veil of religion, we in the civilized world should distinguish between religious beliefs and murderous terrorists.

 

Indeed, all Muslims are utterly and completely disgusted at any acts of violence carried out in the name of their religion. In fact, such violence contradicts the views, teachings and ideals of Islam and Muslims. Islam expressively forbids such acts of violence.

 

Arabs and Muslims are as afraid of this terrorism as are all Americans. The results of terrorism do not distinguish between different religions or different races as it is blinded by its politically motivated goals.

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We as Americans must not ignore the principles of freedom, equality and understanding that are the foundations of this nation. For are principles not meaningless if discarded when they are least convenient? May we all take a moment to remember the values on which this nation was founded and let freedom, equality, and understanding bind us in these tragic times.
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