The fools amongst us

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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Older Comments:
We all have our hopes and fears - that is what the Governments work upon. Every time the fear factor is heightened, credence is gained by those who would manipulate members of the public. How many times has the fear factor been raised without anything happening? Let us not lose our balance - let us be openminded.

Sister (UK) - may you receive what you ask of Allah for others (Ameen).

Christopher Ward - In my thinking, retaliation is insufficient, in attempting to better assure our own salvation. In my thinking, we should attempt to discern what genuine merit there might be, in our mortal enemy's agenda - and ourselves pursue it (for its own sake, not ours).

Salma - there are at least a few devout Muslims (in the UK, for instance) who seem to think that the 9/11 hijackers were themselves devout Muslims. So do I, for that matter. By the way, one of my heroes is a Jew who decided to go to work that day - having a strong premonition that doing so would result in his own death - and he kept his non-Jewish, wheelchair-bound friend company (who was trapped on the stairs) until the building collapsed. May it be Allah's will that detainees everywhere are treated in as just a manner as Allah enables them to be treated (Ameen).

I agree with this article except for the part where it says that Muslim were involved with Sept 11.It is very hard for me to believe.Even some non muslim Americans dont believe this.Osama and his cronies are not that good or any other foolish terrorist group.

I think Islam probably is being taken over by extremists who are not really Islamic. But I am not really sure. I have a muslim friend who told me once that almost nothing was forbidden by Islam, i.e. many things can be justified. So of course I think terrrorism is wrong and I think most people who call themselves muslims think it is wrong but if there are many interpretations of Islam how can one say that it is truly unIslamic when there are obviously lots who think it is ok? In regards to going to war in Iraq I think it was a good idea. Many say we are more vulnerable since the attack but I think it is true that no matter what we would be vulnerable until bin Laden and his terror group are destroyed and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is figured out. The terrorists cannot be reasoned with and we must do what we think is right regardless of how much more in trouble it will supposedly put us. People said we would be more vulnerable after war with Afganistan but we had to do it to try and get those who got us. If the USA was a predominantly muslim country and a bin Laden like person was christian and conducting terrorism in a similar manner, the Muslim USA would have reacted in the same way. This is evidenced by recent wars between India and Pakistan and Iran v. Iraq. Sometimes one must fight even if they do not like it. Sound familiar?

I get and agree with Hassaballa's general message, but I think he's too easy on the Bushistas. Their goal is to protect and enrich their sorry butts at our expense, not to protect us.

Excellent article!

It should go more in detail and describe where this deep ignorance and hate that blankets Islam comes from.

Islam has been hijacked by a women opressing, backwards, point missing ARABS!

No body wants to say it...but it's the ARABS who view themselves as superior to the rest of the Ummah.

They are the ones who sponsor the twisted interpetations of Qur'an and export it to undeveloped nations via their puppit imams.

NO BODY WANTS TO SAY IT and this web site will not print it.

ARE U SURE ITS A MUSLIN WHO BOMBED THE WORLD TRADE CENTER OR IS IT ONE OF THE PLANS OF THE JEWS 2 GET TO THE MUSLIMS.IF U WATCH TOO MUCH T.V. THEN U BELIEVE WHAT U HEAR. imagine no jew come 2 work on spt 11 2001? why God know.america is a very big bully here in kenya its arresting innocent people coz they suspect them of terrorism and they trying to pass terrorism bill which diprives us of our civil liberty.its sayz to govrt that no bill means no money(AID).what i mean is that they can arrest detain u without acess to a lawyer they recently aressthed a 17 yr old boy that he had to do his examination in jail hanst seen his parents for months life is horrible so what do u expect us to do?AMERICA HAS NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE WHATSOEVER IT.AND IS EVIDENT EVERYWHERE AND WE ARE THE ONES WHO SUFFER THE MOST FROM THEIR DECISION THATS WHY HERE IN KENYA PEOPLE JUST HATE AMERICA!!we live in a world that everybody must do what he thinks is right ans according to the QURAN &SUNNAH.

To Mohamed Nur Mohamed,

your view of the terrorists is disturbing to me as a Muslim. Regardless of the injustices done to our fellow Muslims at the hands of Western powers, there is no permission to kill civilians in Islam. This point has been made very clear and there is no room for broad interpretations.

The terrorist have killed civilians soleley based on their cultural heritage of revenge, not Islam. There have been numerous oppression done to Muslims throughout history, and Muslims had not reacted by killing their enemies' civilian population, they knew the prohibition of it.

When the prophet foretold of these times when the nations of the world would come together against us, he did not instruct us to kill their civilians.

Doing wrong in response to wrong only makes things worst, as we can see what terrorism has accomplished in the Muslim world.

I give you two examples of how terrorism is counterproductive. When Bosnians where massacred in the early 90's, if Bosnians responded with terrorism against the Serbs, it is very likely that Bosnians would still be massacred today. The U.S. would most likely not have stopped it. The same goes in South Africa, if the black Africans would have resorted to terrorism toward the whites, the Aparthaid government would not have had sanctions that finally weakened them. Although, many were killed and oppressed for a long time before the world noticed their plight, there would not have been sympathy for them if they used terrorism as their choice of resistance.

The Palestinians should hate the terrorist among them as much as their oppressors, because the terrorist have given legitamacy to their oppressors. As a matter of fact, Israel uses Palestinian terrorism to deny Palestinians their own state. They have no intention of given the West Bank to the Palestinians, and they know Palestinian terrorism is the best reason not to give in. They provoke the Palestinians and break ceasefires on

you better know the disease before you develop the drug. Terrorist is the same thing. if we really want to stop the terrorist, we have to figure out why they doing this. i don't think they just kill people because they don't care, but there is something that makes them do this. if they don't care people i believe at least they care themselves. nobody like to blow up himself. they are human being like us. so why do they do it? well they have no choise. the best example is plastian people, who we are calling them terrorist. they have no place to live, no peace, no food even no freedom to go around the city. who is doing that to them? people. and what we do about it? we helping them to keep doig it. so this is the real situation. first know why they doing it and then go the right direction. otherwise we are not going to solve this forever, whether we prayed, arrest or attack a country and kill inccont and not inccont people.
know the disease and develop the drug

It is well-documented that the United States is a country increasingly excercising reactive policies in conjunction with its culture of violence; it is isolating itself, and becoming increasingly arrogant in its good fortune of the past century -- sadly, it is drifting astray as did all the highly fortunate nations of times bygone. It conducts its domestic affairs with much secrecy, little if any intellectual reflection, and no regret. Mr. Hassaballa, your concern is entirely warranted, and Mr. Norman, interment camps are entirely possible. A cursory review and analysis of history reveals that anything and everything is shamefully possible. Now, as always, our prayers and voices must be lifted high; perhaps we may experience mercy from the best of judges.

While the intenstions are noble, Br. Dr. Hesham is opening the can of worms the enemies of islam would like, than there are "REAL MUSLIMS" behind modern day terrorism. this is niave and I hope that his understanding of what is happening in the world is nothing less than an assult of islam.

Just like the 9-11 "hijackers", you know, the nude bar going, drinking Venice Florida "flying circus, we are force fed LIES that these characters are "fanatical fundementalists", when we know that the most LIBERAL MUSLIMS WOULD NOT WALK IN THE SHADOW OF SUCH PLACES.

I think Br. Dr Hesham open is eyes some more to see that this is all not SHAME on muslims, but a SHAM from G.Dubya Bush, his jewish zionist NEOCON handlers, the Carlyle Group who represent the military-industrial complex of crooks and theives who WILL DO ANYTHING to push their agenda and inflat their pocket books, including RAM PLANES INO BUILDINGS abd BLAME 1 BILLION PEOPLE (muslims)


truly u have misundertood al-waraah and al-barrah.. Love n hate for the sake of Allah. You are trying to admonish the fact that Allah has stated that Kafirs will burn in hell for eternity. you are trying to cover up this distinction with your love theories. Truly we invite the kafirs in beautiful ways but there is a line! U r trying to smear this line.

I am sick to hear that we are americans, we are british, did Rasulullah (saw) ever say he was an arab! Infact he first said he wa a muslim and ended it there! He didnt make a distinction as to what region he was from.

We should all pray that Allah swt, lord of the world! Crumbles America into ashes like they come into our houses and take our br, fathers, etc. and try n put fear in our hearts! May Allah attack them and show them democracy!

p.s. i know u wont put this up on ur website but i thought i should pass it on...

In possible regard to the author's concerns about internment camps (for Muslim Americans): in Senator Cicero's oft-quoted speech on "the enemy within," wasn't Cicero actually referring to Julius Caesar - rather than to the various immigrants and libertarians of those times (as certain talk-show hosts would apparently have us believe)?

It seems, Dr. Hassaballa, that sometimes God simply won't let us continue on our merry way - at least not without compelling us, from time to time, to do things differently. Personally, I don't see how it profits us to dismiss our mortal enemies as fools. Generally speaking, their religion seems to be more like a source of strength and guidance than a more immediate or specific kind of objective. Perhaps if we ourselves attempted to discern our enemies' specific objectives then we might perhaps be enabled to perceive something worth pursuing ourselves - for Allah's sake, I mean to say. Whether or not Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) wills that we discern our enemies' objectives, I remain hopeful that the young people of Arabia will consider themselves fortunate to have worked for what they have received.

Allahu alim (God knows best).

Allah hafiz (God protect).

It is doubtful, in the event of a second 9/11 that Muslim-Americans would be interned like Japanese-Americans in the World War II. The best reaction would be to put an end completely to Muslim immigration. And those who object to such a decision would have the opportunity to quit American shores.

As in France, and Europe generally, it is about time Western democracies took a long hard look at Muslim immigration. Even though the reason given for Muslim immigration is the ageing of the European population generally, it would be far better to look for immigrants in Latin America who at least share some assumptions about democracy with the West and who frequently share Europe's Christian history. Why import a problem? A recent poll of young Kuwaitis showed that they did not believe Western democracy and Islam were compatible. So be it. The West should be realistic and not but its head against a problem that can easily be resolved by looking for young immigrants with some stake in making democracy work and who have no objectioins to secularism and the separation of Church and State.