More on Muslims 9/11, Terrorism, Bin Laden Video

12 09 2007

ISLAM-OPED: 9/11 EVOKES PAINFUL MEMORIES FOR U.S. MUSLIM – TOP

ISLAM-OPED is a national syndication service of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) designed to offer an American Muslim perspective on current political, social and religious issues. ISLAM-OPED commentaries are offered free-of-charge to one media outlet in each market area. Permission for publication will be granted on a first-come-first-served basis.

CONTACT: ihooper@cair.com
TEL: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726 (c)

Please consider the following commentary for publication.

ISLAM-OPED: 9/11 EVOKES PAINFUL MEMORIES FOR U.S. MUSLIM
By Danette Zaghari-Mask
WORD COUNT: 471

[Danette Zaghari-Mask is executive director of the Orlando chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Orlando). CAIR is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. Contact her at: dmask@cair.com For a photo, see: http://www.cair.com/Chapters.aspx#Orlando]

On the anniversary of 9/11, the memory of those once full of life evoke painful thoughts. I cringe at the panic that they must have endured, and join the mourning of fellow Americans who lost loved ones.

Even if we did not know someone directly effected by the tragedy, we know where we were when the towers fell or when the Pentagon was hit.
I delivered my first child 13 days after 9/11. In the days leading up to his birth, I wept.

I wept as a human, as an American and as a Muslim sickened by the reports of militants who claimed “victory” under the banner of Islam.
I gave birth and then cried as a mother for having endured, only to bring a new life into such a troubled world.

Since that time, opportunities have arisen to speak to my fellow Americans about Islam and Muslims. I, like millions of Muslims across the world, stood in solidarity against terrorism and a firm conviction that Islam, by its very definition, rejects terrorism.
Islam is an Arabic word that translates as “peace through submission to God.”

Those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks did not discriminate between people of different faiths; rather, they discriminated against every person who did not submit to their twisted ideology.

The perpetrators of 9/11, and those with an agenda to silence the moderate Muslim majority, want us all to believe that Islam itself is the instigator of terror. If we can defeat those ideas in our own minds, we can defeat the mesmerizing effect of those who seek interfaith division and discord.

There are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims in the world who overwhelmingly desire peace and look to Islam for inspiration.

I am teaching my son the Quran, the Muslim holy book. He is learning that if someone kills another it is “as though he has slain all mankind, and he who saved one life should be regarded as though he has saved the lives of all mankind” (5:32).

He is learning the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad: “The best jihad is saying a word of truth in the court of an unjust ruler” and a believer is one “in whom all of mankind has a sanctuary for its life and property.”

Today, I have more optimism and more reasons to be hopeful than six years ago.
My son celebrated his birthday early this year with contagious courage and spirit. His smile is so wide I think sometimes it will touch the creases of his brown eyes.

He and all of our children are, after all, the possibility beyond the borderline that creates “us” and “them.” The memory of 9/11 motivates me to raise my son to achieve his full potential.

Our children are seeds of peace and, with the right nurturing, future friends of peace.

—–

CAIR: U.S. MUSLIM GROUP BLASTS BIN LADEN VIDEO – TOP
United Press International, 9/11/07
http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2007/09/11/us_muslim_group_blasts_bin_laden_video/6189/

A Washington-based U.S. Muslim advocacy group Tuesday condemned a new video in which Osama bin Laden praises a Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist.

Posted on Islamic Web sites, the video does not show bin Laden but has a still photo of the al-Qaida founder and about 14 minutes of bin Laden purportedly talking about one of the hijackers.

Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the hijackings and the suicide airliner attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon near Washington six years ago.

“The despicable actions of the 9/11 hijackers should be repudiated by all Muslims, not praised as examples to follow,” a statement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations said. “There can be no moral, ethical or religious justification for such cowardly attacks on innocent civilians. CAIR joins with Americans of all faiths in mourning the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, and asks that we all use today’s anniversary to enhance our efforts to repudiate religious extremism and to promote mutual understanding.” (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-NY: MUSLIMS MOURN 9/11 VICTIMS – TOP

(NEW YORK, NY, 9/11/2007) — The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) participated in a moment of silence for the victims of the 9/11 attacks at Sunday’s “Muslim Day Parade” in that city.

Hundreds marched down Madison Avenue to celebrate their commitment to interfaith peace and tolerance. CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif joined Senator Bill Perkins, Councilmember Robert Jackson and other community leaders to address parade attendees.

“CAIR-NY mourns with all Americans over the tragedy at Ground Zero,” said CAIR-NY Community Affairs Director Faiza Ali. “We send our sincere condolences to the families of 9/11 victims. Their loved ones will not be forgotten.”

CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CONTACT: CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif, 212-870-2002, 732-429-4268, alatif@cair.com

CAIR-AZ: READERS REFLECT ON LIFE 6 YEARS AFTER 9/11 – TOP
Arizona Republic, 9/11/07
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/0911911reflections.html

Initially, Fawzia Tung didn’t think the attacks on Sept. 11 really affected her life. She was wrong. She soon realized it had a big impact on the way she viewed her religion.

Tung, 50, is a Chinese Muslim living in Phoenix and working for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. But it was only after the attacks that Tung unconsciously took her life down a more politically active path.

At the time of the attacks, Tung was a stay-at-home mom to seven children. She felt very free living in the U.S., able to practice her faith openly. She had no qualms about wearing her scarf in public because nobody paid any notice. But things changed the day the four planes crashed.

“Right after it happened, I was terribly conscious I was wearing a scarf,” she said. “I felt like everybody was looking at me.”

Her husband urged her to stay home if she could. He would do the grocery shopping, a monumental offer. For Tung, it was stay home or heed her husband’s advice to go out without her scarf, an option she had never until that moment considered.

“I know a number of friends who took it (the scarf) off right after 9/11,” she said.

Tung was conflicted. She always considered her relationship with Allah a private one. But her scarf became a symbol in the wake of the attacks.

“It was never a social thing before. All of a sudden it became something different,” Tung said.

A woman at a garage sale told Tung she supported her and held no ill will toward Muslims.

She decided to stand tall for her religion. Tung went to work at an Islamic school and later joined the staff at CAIR.

Looking back, Tung believes the social effects of the attacks had a positive influence on her.

“I didn’t do anything particularly Islamic before that,” she said. “I was just living my life.”

CAIR: A HIJACKED IDENTITY: MUSLIM AMERICAN REFLECTS ON SEPT. 11 – TOP
National Public Radio, 9/11/07

LISTEN: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14318955

The events of Sept. 11 changed the lives of many Americans, including American Muslims. Arsalan Iftikhar, a regular contributor, and former representative to the Council on American Islamic Relations, explains how the attacks impacted his work as a spokesman for Muslim Americans in the national media.

CAIR-CA REP REFLECTS ON EFFECTS OF 9/11 – TOP
Munira Syeda, Orange County Register, 9/11/07
http://www.ocregister.com/life/style-span-font-1840625-bold-weight

Scurrying about my Berkeley apartment six years ago, I was preparing to leave for a journalism conference in Lake Tahoe. I turned on the TV, and noticed morning news programs running footage of the collapsing Twin Towers. On first impulse, I dismissed the coverage as a faraway international disaster.

Soon, reality hit me. Grief over loss of 3,000 innocent lives replaced indifference, and then quickly gave way to fear. I cringed, secretly praying – God, don’t let it be Muslims. Before long, America learned al-Qaida was behind the attacks.

Over the years, I have spent considerable time educating co-workers, friends and strangers about the basic tenets of Islam, its principles of respect, brotherhood, establishment of human rights and peace and justice. However, I have also observed tremendous backlash against all things Muslim.

From prejudice to discrimination to outright hatred, the American Muslim community has been targeted frequently by a minority who view American Muslims as the “other.” In fact, a USA Today/Gallup Poll conducted last year shows strong feelings against Muslims. Nearly 40 percent of the respondents claimed having at least some prejudice toward Muslims. Another estimated 40 percent also favored having Muslims bear special identification to prevent future terror attacks on our soil.

Despite that, there also has been much support and sympathy offered to the Muslim community after 9/11. Japanese Americans, the Latino and African American communities, Christian, Jewish and other faith observers have stood by Muslims during difficult times. They too had personally experienced, or witnessed discrimination and prejudice promoted against various other minorities. Native Americans were driven out of their homeland, Blacks were enslaved and segregated against, and Japanese Americans were interned. As new immigrants, Jews, Asians, Italians and Catholics weren’t treated any better either.

As I write this column, I ponder the post 9/11 world we live in. I think about the irrational fear that has gripped us and impacts our judgment. The continued civil rights violations and the controversial Patriot Act, the aggressive call for profiling of Muslims and Arabs at airports and other places, the misadventure in Iraq, and the political turmoil the Bush Administration is embroiled in are all examples of this fear.

We proudly claim how 9/11 has not changed us or our values. Let us look around, though. We are now a nation consumed by an alarming level of polarization. The Democrat and the Republican split, the pro-war/anti-war camps, and the conservative versus liberal factions are a symptom of the deeper unrest and anxiety challenging our society.

Nonetheless, I believe in America as a great country for not only Muslims but people of all backgrounds and colors. Our nation’s greatness lies in the founding principles of pluralism, inclusion and equality for all.

Americans used to converse with each other. We used to dialogue. Now, we bicker. We compete in who can shout louder. We feel so threatened by the other side that we quickly attempt to silence it.

We must change our ways. We must make a concerted effort to change our un-American policies and attitudes. Otherwise, we will have allowed al-Qaida to redefine America, and not for the better.

[Munira Syeda is Communications Coordinator for Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area.]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAIR CONDEMNS BIN LADEN’S PRAISE FOR 9/11 HIJACKER
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/11/07) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today condemned a new video by Osama bin Laden in which the terror leader eulogizes a 9/11 hijacker.

In a statement, the Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said:

“The despicable actions of the 9/11 hijackers should be repudiated by all Muslims, not praised as examples to follow. There can be no moral, ethical or religious justification for such cowardly attacks on innocent civilians. CAIR joins with Americans of all faiths in mourning the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and asks that we all use today’s anniversary to enhance our efforts to repudiate religious extremism and to promote mutual understanding. ”

CAIR issued a joint American Muslim statement of condemnation within hours of the 9/11 attacks and published a similar statement in a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post just days later.

SEE: CAIR Full Page Advertisement, Sunday, September 16, 2001, Washington Post
SEE ALSO: U.S. Muslims Repudiate Rhetoric, Worldview of Al-Qaeda (CAIR)

To read about CAIR’s other anti-terror initiatives, go to:
http://www.cair.com/AmericanMuslims/AntiTerrorism.aspx

CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

– END –


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