Yet again, the government raised the terror threat level to Orange, or "High Risk of Terrorist Attack." This decision was based on an increased level of "chatter" among suspected terrorists, credible intelligence from human informants, and information gleaned from the interrogation of captured terrorist suspects. Although this has been done before, I was more worried this time around. As I was listening to the news about the government's decision, I reached down into the depths of my soul and prayed to God: "Lord, please do not destroy us by the actions of the fools amongst us."
This prayer was borne of a feeling of sheer helplessness. I know the government is doing all it can to protect the homeland, including recently grounding six planes that were due to fly to the United States from France. Nevertheless, the government can not guarantee that the United States will not be attacked, and so I prayed.
I made this prayer--"Lord, do not destroy us by the actions of the fools amongst us"--as both a Muslim and an American. As a Muslim, I prayed to God for protection from the actions of the terrorist fools amongst us. These people have no shame, no heart, no respect for human life. The use the garment of Islam to cloak their cult of murder. With each terrorist attack, they further damage the image of Islam and smear all Muslims with the putrid stain of their murderous actions. The fact that these monsters saw the attacks of September 11 as a "victory" for Islam serves to expose their utter foolishness. And so I prayed.
As an American, I prayed that God does not cause America to be destroyed by the actions of her Administration. I am not calling President Bush or anyone else in his administration a fool. Nevertheless, some of the foreign policy decisions have been seriously misguided, if not downright foolish. The war in Iraq is a prime example. With each passing day, more American soldiers are killed, more Iraqis join the resistance movement--despite Saddam Hussein's capture--and more precious taxpayer money is required to keep the peace. All this and weapons of mass destruction still have not been--and probably never will be--found. Meanwhile, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to fester, further poisoning the Holy Land with the blood of innocents and tarnishing the image of the United States across the world. Adding insult to injury, the war in Iraq has increased the risk of terrorist attacks against Americans while alienating long-time allies because of America's arrogant unilateralism. And so I prayed.
I prayed hard, in fact, because the specter of another terrorist attack on American soil worries me deeply. It goes without saying that the loss of any innocent life would be a profound tragedy for humanity. But the other repercussions of a terrorist attack are also of deep concern. First of all, in the event of another September 11-like attack, I truly fear the possibility of Arab and Muslim Americans being interned in camps like the Japanese during World War II. After all, Korematsu vs. United States, the famous Supreme Court decision which upheld the internment of Japanese Americans, has technically never been overturned by the Supreme Court. The economy, which still has some weakness despite recent gains, would collapse and be left in utter shambles. What's more, it is quite likely that Congress would pass an even more "Patriotic" Act that would strip away even more of our precious civil liberties. And so I pray. I pray that God does not destroy us by the actions of the fools amongst us. It may not seem like a lot, but it is the only thing I have the power to do. And never underestimate the power of prayer.
Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago physician and columnist for the Independent Writers Syndicate. He is author of "Why I Love the Ten Commandments," published in the Book Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith (Rodale).
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