23 August 2010

What every family of 9/11 should know

Dear families of 9/11, I wish you could see the caring and the pain that Muslim families around the world felt with you on that day.

Three Cups of Tea is a book that tells the true story of an American mountain climber named Greg Mortenson who nearly dies but his life is saved by a poor Muslim village near Mount Everest.  He promises to come back and build a school for them.  Thus begins his epic quest to build schools for needy Muslim communities all over Pakistan and Afghanistan.

On 9/11, he is traveling to the opening of another remote school in the mountains.  There is an opening ceremony, with the keynote speaker Syed Abbas, a "supreme religious leader" of Shiite Muslims in Baltistan of Northern Pakistan.  Abbas says,

"We share in the sorrow as people weep and suffer in America today... Those who have committed this evil act against the innocent, the women and children, to create thousands of widows and orphans do not do so in the name if Islam.  By the grace of Allah the Almighty, may justice be served upon them."

"I request America to look into our hearts," Abbas continued, his voice straining with emotion," and see that the great majority of us are not terrorists, but good and simple people.  Our land is stricken with poverty because we are without education..."

Mortenson says, "By the time Syed Abbas had finished he had the entire crowd in tears.  I wish all the Americans who think 'Muslim' is just another way of saying 'terrorist' could have been there that day.  The true core tenants of Islam are justice, tolerance, and charity, and Syed Abbas represented the moderate center of Muslim faith eloquently."

After the ceremony, women  from the village lined up to offer condolences to the Americans, pressing gifts and eggs into their hands "begging them to carry these tokens of grief to the faraway sisters they longed to comfort themselves, the widows of the New York village."
The true tragedy is that all but 12 Republicans in the House voted against health benefits for 9/11 responders last month.  

WAKE UP AMERICA!  Don't allow politicians to cloud your knowledge with slimy arguments against the mosque two blocks away from ground zero. The vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, and these hateful arguments only spread ignorance. The politicians speak out against the mosque are only strengthening Osama bin Laden's power, a power that thrives on ignorance and fear.  The more America screams hate, the easier it is to recruit terrorists.  As Americans, we must fight back against this ignorance.

Forbidding this mosque is like forbidding the construction of a community church near a site where the Ku Klux Klan held a massive hanging and murdered lots of people.  The Ku Klux Klan consider themselves Christian.  Do they represent Christianity?  Not by a long shot. Would the average Christian even consider the Ku Klux Klan to be a part of Christianity as well?

It's the same type of fear that made Americans think it was okay to send Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II and the fear that fueled the Communist witch hunts during the Cold War.

Know your enemy.  The enemy is not peaceful Muslims.  The Qur'an promotes peace, education, and women's rights.  The enemy is the terrorists, an entirely different breed.  As Obama said, "The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics--a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam."

Oh, wait.

George W. Bush said that, not Obama.
See his full speech here.

But I disagree with Bush's words. Terrorists are not following an Islamic extremism, because they are not following Islam at all.  Just as the Ku Klux Klan is not following an extremism of Christianity, their horrible acts against humanity make it impossible for them to be truly Christian. 

The mosque, called Park51, is a community center with a basketball court and cooking classes. It embodies peace, it embodies religious harmony as its board of directors is full of Christians and Jews as well.  The founder, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is a peaceful man who has been sent on numerous speaking tours by both Bush and Obama to promote tolerance in Arab and Muslim nations. 
"Islamic extremism for the majority of Muslims is an oxymoron," Iman Feisal says.  "It is a fundamental contradiction in terms." 

The outrageous arguments against Park51 are just a smokescreen. Politicians are manipulating our emotions to buy votes for this fall. Don't be fooled.

And don't sit quietly, either.  Stand up, speak out, talk to your friends, family, and neighbors.  Don't let manipulative politicians drive America toward a hateocracy.

Required reading:

There is No "Ground Zero Mosque"
How Fox Betrayed Petraeus
Taking Bin Laden’s Side

Quotes from 9/11 families who support Park51
Build That Mosque
Three Cups of Tea (on Google Books)

1 comment:

Manpreet said...

The only person who's come out of this debate sounding sane: