I am an American and I am a Muslim. As I struggle to hear the voice of the Muslim community in this country I find it necessary to tell them where I stand.
I stand with people suffering in their grief, sharing the memory of the eerie silence in our skies in the days that followed the horrible tragedy on September 11.
I stand with people who raised billions to support the families of the victims - who took strangers into their homes - people whose taxes feed and shelter more of the downtrodden of the world, including the Muslim world, than any other country. Despite their hectic schedules, they find time to organize and participate in food drives, walks, road races and telethons for noble causes.
I stand with people who came out in droves to protect, help and comfort their Muslim neighbors in the days following the attacks on NY. They gave reassurances that they do not blame all Muslims. In turn, we make statements regarding the responsibility the West must assume for "why the world hates it".
I stand with people that are not Muslim yet defend Islam, and a country that immediately emphasized its anti-hate crime laws and did what it could to protect its Muslim citizens (and many Muslim non-citizens). People in this country are struggling to learn about Islam, and most do not lump all Muslims into a single-minded consciousness - although our paranoia, silence, inaction and defensiveness were sadly predictable.
I stand with people who realize their laws pertain to them. We think it is the rest of the world that needs to learn about Islam when in fact much more importantly it is Muslims that must learn about their own faith, teachings and history. Why do so many Muslims think the words in the Qur'an speaking against oppression do not apply to them?
I stand with a country whose laws are more compatible with the ideals of Islam than any Muslim country today. This country allows us to construct our mosques, take religious holidays, practice our faith freely and even allows Muslim women to wear burquas. Many Muslims feel Islamic law must prevail if Islam is to survive. The five basic pillars of Islam are typically not enforced through legislation in mosques or Muslim countries. Belief in a single supreme entity, prayer, fasting, charity and pilgrimage to Mecca are essentially enforced nowhere, tracked nowhere, considered the responsibilities of the individual, and followed nonetheless. Yet many Muslims think secular societies, that leave choice and responsibility to the individual, are incompatible with Islam. The sad reality is that most countries under Muslim law are crumbling under their own self-inflicted wounds.
I stand with people who, despite the horror and shock they are experiencing, would never allow OBLs dead body to be dragged through the streets of NY. When this happens in the Muslim world we say "see how desperate they are".
I stand with people who do not consider this a war with Islam despite the fact that OBL and his supporters have made this declaration. If this does become a war with Islam, we should make no mistake at who has waged and defined it as such.
I stand with people who acknowledge their history, have the strength to admit their mistakes with dignity and take responsibility for their actions. Too many Muslims are incapable of admitting any wrongdoing or error in the Muslim world, and we therefore do nothing to correct what is ultimately our responsibility. We are now blaming the US for the fact that Muslim countries are not democracies? While some in this country may not be ashamed of what is happening in the Muslim world blaming its behavior on others, make no mistake that our children, will feel shame unless given something of which to be proud.
I stand with a country concerned over the rights of women. This country may have given women rights 1300 years after they were established in Islam, but unlike the Muslim world they did not take them away afterwards.
I stand with people who understand this is a war we must fight, yet still put forth efforts to preserve life, question the bombing of Afghanistan and are concerned over collateral damage. Muslims issue statements against the bombing of Afghanistan indicating it will victimize the innocent and create widespread resentment across the Muslim world. Muslims need to offer other viable solutions and speak out to Muslim leaders around the world. Innocent people have been dying in Afghanistan for a long time at the hands of so-called Muslims in the name of Islam, and will continue to do so without intervention. Do we truly believe these brave Afghan women risking their lives to teach their daughters to read have a problem with attacks aimed at Taliban tyranny? Inaction will accomplish nothing - dialogue alone is hopeless with the ignorant who expect the world to give them money for a proper execution area so that football can be played in the football stadium.
I stand with a country that allows its citizens and non-citizens to openly criticize it, with people unafraid to hear opposing viewpoints. There is very little open discourse in the Muslim world, and for that which does exist, women have been essentially excluded. Muslims are not unworthy of our criticism when it is deserved. We must begin thinking rationally, critically for ourselves or Islam will continue to move into the hands of the ignorant radicals. How can Muslims expect to influence change in American foreign policy without demonstrating the thoughtfulness and worthiness of our views?
I stand with people not consumed with paranoia, convinced there is some major conspiracy against them.
I stand with people whose heroes are those who save lives, not those who take them.
I stand with people who "get it", even though they can't begin to comprehend the events of Sept 11. While Muslims undoubtedly are suffering in a manner different from the rest of the world, we must take care not to overlook the broader picture. Lives are stake - not just Muslim lives but countless numbers for generations to come. We must protect our children and cannot afford to be silent.
I stand with people of integrity, character and reason, people I respect.
I stand united with the people of my country, America, and its allies.
Condemnation of these violent acts goes without saying. On its own it is completely insufficient.
I stand ashamed of our silence. I need to hear you. Your children need to hear you. Your families in the censored Muslim world MUST hear you. Where are you?
Amina Khan is a Systems Data Analyst in New England.
I am proud to be a muslim and i'm not afraid to show it.
couldn't agree more. we need to take a stand for freedom, independance, and preservation of life
That's my sentiments. May Allah forgive my unintentional mistakes.
99% to speak up not only here, but throught the Islamic World.
and may Allah bless you for having the courage to speak the truth.You have spoken the words that was on my mind.I have been looking and listin to hear from all of the Sheilks and Imams that goes around the country speaking with so much Islamic knowledge and wisdom.I have not heard of one of them calling a news conference and speaking to the American people Muslims and non Muslims,to explain to them the majority of our views on terroism,which is non Islamic and we strongly comdem it.Sister Khan I agree with you.