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Reflections on 9-11

Ibrahim Mumin | 11/9/2011, 12:52 p.m.
Ibrahim Mumin

An Islamic Response

My G_d and your G_d are the same G_d. If that is the case, then why did the men who hijacked three planes feel their cause was great enough to kill on 9/11 more than 3,000 people.

That day, a Tuesday in 2001, not only was our nation attacked, but our humanity too. On December 8, 1941, addressing the nation after Pearl Harbor was attacked; President Franklin Roosevelt began his speech "a date that will live in infamy." That date and 9/11 are now two dates in American history that live in infamy in the minds of those who lived and remember that day.

Often conversations of that day begin with "where we were when we heard the news." The media reminds us each year with images of the twin towers collapsing, the second plane crashing into the second tower, smoke billowing from the charred ruins of the Pentagon, and scattered wreckage in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Yet, out of the twisted metal of the twin towers, the wreckage in Pennsylvania, and the billowing smoke of the Pentagon, Americans came together. The men and women who died on that Tuesday are unsung heroes, casualties of a war none of us knew we were fighting.

Ten years later, those of faith have come closer together. Others claiming to be men and women of faith have chosen competitive religion over compatible religion. This was the community shared by Ebrahim Rasool, Ambassador from South Africa to the U.S. at the 10th Anniversary Program at Masjid Muhammad in Washington, D.C.

On September 10, 2011, commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11, an esteemed and distinguished panel convened for an open dialogue called "Democracy in the Time of Crisis." Panel members included: a former civil rights freedom rider, Pastor Emeritus Reginald Green of Walker Memorial Baptist Church, Chairman of the Board for the Washington Post Donald Graham, Maryland District Court Judge Hassan El-Amin, Director of Marketing and Communication at the American Red Cross Cheryl Kravitz and South African Ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool.

"That which unites us is greater than that which divides us," Retired Air Force Chief Master Seargeant and Masjid Muhammad's resident Imam Talib Shareef said in his opening comments and added, "The men who killed three thousand people on 9/11 should not be called terrorists, they should be called criminal...would Prophet Muhammad kill innocent women, men and children? 'No'- therefore the criminals/terrorists cannot be considered Muslim or following the Islamic faith. Those who died are unsung heroes."

Ibrahim Mumin, who facilitated the panel, explained that a major objective of the program was to provide an opportunity for members of Masjid Muhammad to "tell their own story." He also mentioned that he had asked each of the panelists to respond to the findings of the Gallop Poll and the Pew Research Center report which said Americans' attitudes towards Muslims is more negative today than it was immediately after 9/11 2001.

Pastor Green used his experience as a 1961 freedom rider fifty years ago to draw upon America's situation today. "Today, 50 years after the freedom rides, we are still struggling as a nation, as a people with various spokes, like those on a wheel, to get to the center, which is G-d. How we get there defines who we are as human beings. G-d has made each of us differently with our own DNA with a responsibility of being harmonious with one another."

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