Hajj Hysteria

Category: Americas, Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society Topics: Hajj Views: 2663

For only the second time since the attacks on our country two Septembers ago, has the Justice Department elevated the national color-coded threat level to orange, indicating a "high" risk of a terrorist attack. Attorney General John Ashcroft said the government had received intelligence information that Osama bin Laden's terror organization sought to attack Americans at home or abroad during the time of the annual hajj pilgrimage to the holy Arabian city of Mecca. The five-day hajj involving millions of Muslim pilgrims from around the world culminates this week. However, to elevate the national security level to again conveniently coincide with an Islamic holiday, does nothing more than perpetuate the notion that this "war on terror" is actually a war on Islam.

Hajj is one of the most sacrosanct tenets of Islam. The Hajj represents the struggles and messages of prophets past, and is a testament to every Muslim's belief in Allah, the monotheistic deity of the prophet Abraham. The ancient rites of Hajj have been passed down through the annals of Islamic history. It serves as a constant reminder of our human mortality and fallibility. The different rites of Hajj exemplify the plights of our beloved prophets. During Hajj, every Muslim's focused aspirations must be to re-enact the experiences of Prophet Abraham, whose selfless sacrifice has no parallel in the history of humankind. Hajj also symbolizes the lessons taught by Abraham's son, Ismail, whose example of obedience and submission cannot be duplicated by any living being; and the final prophet, Muhammad, who firmly stood on the plains of Arafat and proclaimed the completion of his mission, which solidified and sealed the sovereignty of one Creator over all of creation. The essence of Hajj embodies the zenith of a Muslim's plight towards worldly purification, repentance, and spiritual renewal. Instead of issuing the alert highlighting the culmination of Hajj, perhaps President Bush would have been more accurate in associating the greater terrorist threat to his bombastic rhetoric in attacking Iraq.

The amalgamation of the impending invasion on Iraq and the recent heightening of our national security level is something that President Bush and his cowboy cronies should ponder heavily before storming into Baghdad on their blazing saddles. It seems quite evident that the new alert level is due more to the imminent invasion of Iraq than it is due to the congregation of Muslims half a world away in Arabia. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, D-Ohio, a leading congressional opponent of war with Iraq, said the change in alert level provided evidence that "[Bush's] march to war, far from making our nation more secure, has raised the threat to Americans." Even some patriots paid to attack other countries are showing their discontent with the Bush regime's unfettered zeal to obliterate innocent Iraqis. Former generals like Norman Schwarzkopf, Anthony Zinni and Wesley Clark have all expressed concern about the rush to war.

"Candidly, I have gotten somewhat nervous at some of the pronouncements [Defense Secretary] Rumsfeld has made," General Schwarzkopf told The Washington Post, adding: "I think it is very important for us to wait and see what the inspectors come up with." Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times quotes General Anthony Zinni as saying about Bush and his hawks: "I'm not sure which planet they live on, because it isn't the one that I travel...[If] we intend to solve this through violent action, we're on the wrong course."

This is not the first time a terrorist alert has opportunely been timed to coincide with a Muslim holiday. In the past, similar government alerts were issued during the month of Ramadan. Although Muslim Americans are committed to protecting humanity as mandated by Islam, we categorically reject the insinuation that Islamic traditions and terrorism are inextricably linked. Instead, we should focus on a son hell bent on waging an unjust war and jeopardizing American lives in order to reclaim the sins of his father from two presidencies past.

Arsalan Tariq Iftikhar serves as Midwest Communications Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim advocacy group. He attends Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.

  Category: Americas, Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society
  Topics: Hajj
Views: 2663

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Older Comments:
assalamu alaykom;
you are right sir; i think that the justification of war is not convencing to many people,so they try to convince the american people of war by making them live the danger of being exposed to terrorism. any way my point is that as a muslim i was never tought that christians are terrorists, even when i was studying crossades, for we believe that crossaders did not represent the real spirit of christianity or christians, so we don't think at the recent time that the recent christians are terrorists.if one family member is a thief, does that mean that the whole family are thiefs? of course not.so let us be wise and use our brains and think a little wisely. what if i was a christian and you are a muslim would you like being treated as muslims are in the world after 09/11?. i want to let the people know that here in egypt we live together muslims with christians as we always used to be, and for your knowledge there was alot of jewish people among us before the creation of the state of Israel and they were part of the society, sharing thier brotheres of the egyptian people thier happiness and sorrows as they were all egyptians regardles of religion. may god spread his peace on earth.

I absolutely agree with the author. I think that it is typical of the Bush Administration. First he says that true Muslims are against killing - in this respect he is correct; but to link a terrorist attack to the Hajj is ludicrous, insulting, and divisive. As the author says:"During Hajj, every Muslim's focused aspirations must be to re-enact the experiences of Prophet Abraham, whose selfless sacrifice has no parallel in the history of humankind." Using the same logic, perhaps the Muslims should think that Easter is a good time for us to attack them.
Terrorists are not true Muslims, and people who want to rush into war are not true Christians.
In the Ten Commandments, the "shall not kill"; does not have exceptions. I think that God will forgive us if we have to kill in order to save many more lives, but it better be the very last
I am a Christian, and the more I study my own religion as well as Islam and Judaism, I find there are many more similarities than differences.

I must agree that Bush is a war monger, yet it is religion and money which causes wars. The person who commented about 'Allah's wrath' against Bush and his followers is as just 'dead' as Bush and his followers. We all use our deities to serve our own needs as expressed through our personal behavior. Yes, religion serves as an alternative to logic and greed serves the devout religious people and the rest as well. Hearing of Abraham and his son, and the supposed personal sacrifice, just makes me sick. Try being a sold woman enduring life as a sex slave, 4 million new ones each year. This condition exists as "the religious" carry on with dogma older then the ages. Let the next world take care of itself, ditch your foolhardy religious passion and actually help someone in need. I have a Muslim girlfriend, live in a Buddhist dominated area and was raised Christian. These 'mindsets' only weaken you. We agnostics may have to save the religious from each other. So much for loving one another. The mask of religion doesn't hide the behaviors which contradict it. Signed : Prepared To Die in the name of Religious Hysteria

I couldn't've agreed with you anymore my brother.
May Allah guide all of us including Bush and Sharon in the right path.

Asalamu Aleikum,

In the name of Allah the Gracious the Merciful.

It is quite interesting to read this article and understand where the author is coming from. I can personally relate to all of those points the author touched on.

The thing that is so fascinating is that we( Muslims) are in times of proving that Islam is the only religion that will have a meaning and benefits in the life here and the life after.

On the other hand, in order for us to do that, we have to struggle for every freedom and respect we have as humans and as muslims. I am born as a muslim in world that is far away from where I live today and the United States. I thank Allah(SWT) everyday for first and foremost making me a muslim, a beleiver in him. I also thank Allah(SWT) for giving me plenty. Plenty meaning another day to live on this plant and to worship him. As we all know that is plenty my dear sisters and brothers.

In anyhow, I read the article, found it interesting and hope that Allah(SWT) will watch over all the beleivers around the world, especially our dear brothers and sisters in Iraq. It seems that war is approaching them and the only war that will matter is the one that is supported by Allah(SWT). May Allah(SWT) bless the people of Iraq and bless us all. AAMIIN.

ASAlamu Aleikum

I am catholic man and I have no personal problems with Muslims or the nation of Islam. I do feel however that many of what are known as "radical" Muslims do pose a serious threat to all people not just Americans. I do not understand how any religion could incite these "radicals" to somehow think that killing is by any means ok. I also understand that many Muslims feel that they are judged unfairly because they are grouped with these radicals when in fact they are very peaceful people. And I know that many people feel that U.S. government does kill many people because of greed, which may or may not be true, but I don't think that anymore killing will solve the problem. If everyone, Christians, Jews, and Muslims, could learn tolerance instead of hate, everyone would be better off. No one will win this war...everyone just suffers through the battles.

...just so we may understand

Osama is not the voice of Islam as the US/UK wants to lead the rest of the world to believe.

Remember that Osama was once the 'tool' of the US/CIA, so making "him" to say what they want is really easy. Notice how it is no longer video tapes, but voice tapes. (because the last tape was waved-off as FAKE).

Notice also how everything seems to coincide and even the message contained within seems to forge the very thoughts of what the US/UK are pushing to align in our minds or at least the minds of the UN. Or have we forgotten that the Blair presentation was a clear case of plagarism at its best. Or even that the many places of 'interest' presented by Powell was proven to be nothing more than dumpsters.

Or have we forgotten that it was the US/UK that sold them the weapons / chemicals in the first place to fight against the Iranians.

How can we trust our politicians anymore ? Where is the UN ? Where is Kofi Adnan ? If the US could have the Picasso piece covered for the UN presentation what other influence can it have on the UN? The UN is no longer acting in the interest of the free world. Should it not take to task the countries that are already in violation of UN resolutions? There are really obvious answers to all of these, but where are we headed.

Just so we remember that it is Humanity that is at risk, whether it is for the OIL or for the Power, it will be Humanity that will inevitably lose.

Live simply so that others may simply live..the truth is surely about to surface.


Wait till Bush and ..Tony Blair get a taste of Allah's punishment then they will learn not to mess with Muslims. Let peace be upon all Muslims.

I think Bush is a sad old lonely idiot and Tony Blair is his dog they belong together. Bush should realise no one wants war especially the Muslims and i think it should stop immediatly.

To Mike and R. Lin:

You're playing right into the government's hands by being terrified and hysterical little citizens, bravo! Especially R.Lin: you're foaming at the mouth, speaking incoherently, and saying inanities even before anything happened!

"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. . . . All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." Georing said this, and we know who he is. I too am a little concerned; I have kids. But I refused to act as a paranoid loose cannon, directing my panic and hate blindly.

Pres. Bush wins the war (after unspeakable humanitarian damage,) our troops are there, and the whole is watching. What if the US finds no evidence? What if it was all a hoax? Worse yet, what if -supposing Iraq is our bane- we do get hit in the US; what did all that destruction avail us? What will Mike and R. Lin say to the misery we inflicted upon Iraqi children? Oops, duh? That's it?

And what of the effectiveness of conventional combat in fighting terrorism. Here's OBL alive and well after an inconceivable bombing campaign. Don't you people ask yourselves: what are we really doing in Afghanistan at $1b a month (believe it!) what have we accomplished? Then ask your leaders 'what have you done so far, and are these appropriate methods to fight this war of ideology?'

Someone asked "Why do they hate us." Well, for crying out loud, look into why they hate us. Our foreign-hegemonic-imperious-I'm holier than thou-in you face-we will dominate the world-reshape the Mid East-making Israel the only dominant force with weapons of mass destruction-and to hell with the rest of the objecting world opinion-we are right-and all of you are wrong-policy is the reason you fools. So -slap, slap- wake up and demand the right thing of your leaders.

I got a proposition for you "R.Lin." First dump the BS which makes your premise so flawed. You sound like nutcase hopped up on tabloids and cable TV. How often do you get out ? All this nonsense about chemical weapons is rouse designed to cash in on your ignorance and fear. SMALL POX ? Why are health care professionals REFUSING to take the new vaccine for small pox ? Heres why - They're educated and know that its unnecssary. Only an uneducated simpleton would buy this rubbish as reality.
You seem fond of quoting the Quran to support the "kill the infidels" distortion common among anti-Muslim propogandists. Heres a hint..read the whole thing and keep the context. You need the satanic verses from your phony bible if you're looking for a venegfull God.
You sound like an idiotic christian evangellical fanatic who is caught between myths and propoganda. Is there no end to brainless dolts like you ? The solution is simple, stop interfering in the affairs of others and elect credible officials instead of the gang of criminals which you have now.

As an American Muslim it disturbs me to see my own government elevating the terror alert to coinside with the end of the Hajj. I agree it makes the "war on Terror" look and I feel is a war on Islam. Other than DPRK the Bush administration has attacked Islamic countries. As an American I am ashamed of Bush and hope that Muslims around the world know that not all Americans agree with the alert and President.

I agree this is not a war, This is the mass murder of the unprotected Muslim population. but Christians. Bush does what Sharon says.. and Sharon gets his command from book called Bible..."Now therefore KILL every male among the little ones, and KILL every woman (female) that hath known man by lying (having sex) with him. "But keep ALIVE for yourselves all the GIRLS and all the women who are VIRGINS." NUMBERS 31:17-18 ".. there are many example of massacre in bible. They do what their religion tells them... but its ok...God will burn them in hell in oil they want... Ameen

This is not a war on the Muslims. It is the protection of all peoples. If Bush was a bloodthirty warmonger only interested in destroying Muslims then why would he put our soldiers at risk in Turkey.

How islamic America do you plan to prevent or deal with small pox, saran, VX, and radiologic-bio epidemics in the USA?

Innoculations are not yet ready.
There are no antidotes available for many things.

Prevention of disease and death to innocents in the USA is the only course left and is necessary, don't you agree? Perhaps inspections will work; soon enough? Do we have the extra time?

OSBL & SHussein have "promised" to deliver destruction now. They are and use "martyrs of Islam" to deliver such terrors. So who's linking terror and war with Islam but islamic extremists?

And why would any Islamic do so?
Because they hate Israelis, Americans, Christians and the world trade/economic system is what they say. They call those they hate "Crusaders" and "cowboys" and "demons".

You of Islamic City use the same terms ...
Chrisitans and Jews are termed "infidels"...
The Koran says Alah directs you to kill infidels..

So, which side of the line are you on???
The line is clear, friend or foe of the USA post 9-11.
There may be other options than war. What are they and when? Perhaps the only option left is agressive preventaive action, up to and including war. Now. When is whatever prudent action you propose soon enough to prevent widespread death of innocents in the USA?
Again, what do you propose NOW, quick, to defend in the USA? Or don't you care to help or defend?Again, are you with or against US?
IF you are a citizen your vote counts more.
Respectfully, R.Lin

This is not war, this is Muslim-bound-Massacre. This is the mass murder of the muslim population under the patronage of the surrounding Muslim countires lead by Saudi Arabia. Basically, Muslim countries are arranging one of the greatest massacre of humanity, mostly Muslims. Shouting the slogans like "war is the last resort" or "war should be the last option" etc... are also false. I am asking, what is the problem first of all? Iraq is clean. Iraq is not attacking anybody? Iraq is in full compliance of the security council resolutions? It was U.S. that has pulled the inspectors in 98, not Iraq! So, why should we say that "war is the last option". There should not be a war at all, even as last option. Again, this is not war, but mass-murder. We should all condemn the Muslim countries in the strongest words possible. Secondly, protests should be conducted in front of the frontline-Muslim countries, not anywhere else.

Shuja Syed

exactly! bush is a bloodthirsty blind fool who will make any excuse to step on others that have what he wants--in this case it's Iraq and Muslims and they've got oil. What a jerk....I hope he gets punished for this. Maybe humiliating him in public...hahaha nobody agrees with him. isn't that a big enough hint to stop where he's at and what he's doing? Oh well...in the end, Allah will give him what he deserves whether it be good OR bad.

The terror alert is elevated in my country due to intelligence information. The fact is these are "Islamic Extremists" who want to kill every man woman and child in America. Therefore they make a statement by performing attacks around there holidays or Christian or Jewish holidays. Osama has released two new audio tapes which if you look at history are almost always followed by terrorist attacks. We live in America Muslims hate us, and want to kill us. So we protect ourselves by keeping the population informed.

In the Name of God, Most Gracious Most Merciful...

Articles like this infuriate me. Perhaps if Muslims were willing to admit that in fact there are Muslims who believe killing innocent people is an appropriate action to take around the Hajj, and more importantly were willing to focus our own struggles on fighting against people like OBL, we wouldn't be in this mess. Muslims simply expect the rest of the world to understand the difference between terrorists and Muslims, yet Muslim terrorists are threatening the world IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, and we are basically silent (other than complaining it's not ALL Muslims). I personally demand that all Muslim countries and religious leaders aggressivley seek out and destroy these "Muslim" enemies of Islam.

Bush may burn Iraqis with napalm and even nuclear. Wait until he feels the taste of God's punishment.

Excellent comment

I just wanna say that WAR is always not a solution to solve such (any) problems but the fuel to all the problems which will make the existing problem more complicated to solve. By just having the thought of having WAR is even impossible to think because this world is really connected to each other whether financially educationally,culturally because we are all HUMAN BEINGS, the difference we have is really a beautiful thing to really have. One must appreciate or even celebrate of having many different faces of human beings, different cultural aspects,different characteristics.We must understand the reasons behind why are we different.There is really a deep and and amazing knowledge behind the world we live in with different human beings.I think we would function much better if we try to understand one another and live side by side with peace and harmony.Before understanding the uniqueness of other cultures and people around the world we must compare how our culture is and what think of our own particular culture and lifestyle.Every one thinks as the way you think your culture is,so understanding other cultures of the world would greately bring forth something we never expected in our lifetime.Human beings are sacred beings as other creature living on earth.So by thinking or seeking ways to destroy or put distress among such particular people is a grave mistake a MAN can commit with his own GOD giving WILL.By the way we live in 21st century, we were fighting since the beginning of time, so no matter what,WAR is always seeking to destroy such beautiful and amazing human beings. WAR CAN BE JUSTIFIED ONLY WHEN DEFENDING THE PRICIPALS OF THE HUMAN DIGNITY AND LyVlIhOoD. OTHERWISE WAR IS GOING ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE WHICH IS TOTALLY WRONG ACCORDING TO THE UNIVERSAL INSTINCTS OF ALL THE HUMAN BEINGS INCLUDING ME.Find ways to solve these issues rather than ugly WAR where blood is shed.Mother cries,more orphans,more widows and so on.COMMUNICATION,PEACEFUL DIALOGUE= P E A C E !

This is not 1991 and this is not Gulf War 2.

My dear brothers and sisters this is 2003 and this war will be World War 3. Muslims should start taking appropriate steps to prepare themselves!

No one wants war. It is unjust. It's a very hasty choice and not wise at all. I really wish everyone could just get along and live peacefully. Everyone has different religious beliefs and such. But we are all human and all must treasure our earth. It is our home. I wish we could all get along free of fear, hate and prejudices.

Bless us all.