In reading a report coming from the AP where Osama bin Laden’s “voice was heard commemorating one of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers and calling on young Muslims to follow his example in martyring themselves in attacks.” All I will say is, “Osama, you first!”
A true martyr is one that will die for a cause and in battle holding their beliefs intact. Such was the case with St. Joan of Arc who fought on the battlefield. She fought trying to unify France and went up crown of England. So far, Osama is still very much alive and is in hiding. He will send others to do his dirty work in killing innocent people and that is not the mark of a leader, but a true coward.
A martyr is one that will confront his or her enemies as they face their certain deaths. Even those 19 hijackers were not martyrs since their victims were innocent people who did not form our foreign policy.
When St. Joan of Arc was captured and tried for heresy, she did confront representatives of the law sworn to uphold those laws and who saw her as an abomination and a heretic. At trial she stated to the judges trying her, "I saw them with these very eyes, as well as I see you." When she stated, “them” she was referring to the voices of St. Michael who called her to this higher calling. But, notice that she did confront those who saw her as the enemy and she them when she said, “as well as I see you.”
As defined by Dictionary.com a martyr is “a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause: a martyr to the cause of social justice.” Did those innocent passengers aboard those planes, in the towers, in the Pentagon put those hijackers/terrorists to death? The answer is no. They were just going about their normal business like you and me. What great suffering took place when those hijackers’ lives were ended in an instant as those fireballs surrounded them?
Another definition a martyr according to Dictionary.com is, “to make a martyr of, esp. by putting to death.” They took their own lives along with innocent people. Let us call those acts for what they truly were, both acts of suicide and homicide. There is absolutely no virtue or spirituality in both of those acts.
The AP reported that these videos “showed him urging Americans to convert to Islam and railing against capitalism, globalization and democracy as failed philosophies.” If anything, he sounds like an angry blogger or anarchist. A true spiritual leader is one that would not urge others to take the lives of innocent people. Who gave Osama the right to be judge, jury and executioner?
Frances Fragos Townsend who is Bush’s homeland security adviser had this to say of Osama bin Laden, “We know that al-Qaeda is still determined to attack, and we take it seriously," She then goes onto say, "But this tape appears to be nothing more than threats. It's propaganda on their part." In hearing bits and pieces of what bin Laden had to spew, it is exactly how I would categorize what he has to say. Some have even sent me what is included in his diatribes and you know what? I couldn’t care less about hearing his opinion. Stay in that cave, Osama until with the help of God, we do get you!
I would rather hear of our foreign policy blunders from a peaceful man in Congressman Ron Paul who is a doctor then a monster that advocates the taking of innocent lives.
In my opinion a true spiritual leader is one that brings people together for peaceful means and one that does not use violence. They will try to form partnerships between people who have not sat down to iron out their differences. Former President, Jimmy Carter is one that I do see fits the bill as he brought together “Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel,” for the Camp David Accords.
Another clear example is when former Senator George Mitchell ironed out what was to be called the Good Friday Agreement. That agreement took place on, “On April 10, 1998, the Peace Process in Northern Ireland took a giant step forward. On that day, representatives of almost every political party in Northern Ireland came to a general agreement on how to proceed in the interest of peace.” While it did suffer set backs, at least it was a start. These set backs only came about due to, “the disbanding of the power-sharing arrangement that was the cornerstone of the Good Friday Agreement.”
Even a reporter can be seen as a spiritual person helping others to see the sameness between two different cultures. Jennifer Barrios of Newsday reported how both Jews and Muslims both fast during their respective celebrations of Ramadan and Yom Kippur. While Ramadan lasts longer, both groups practice their respective faiths in a similar fashion.
Newsday even reported, “Nayyar Imam, president-elect of the Islamic Association of Long Island” stated of fasting, "Physically, you can feel how hunger is," He goes onto say, “And then there's a spiritual reason -- you purify yourself." I find such beauty in that lesson to all of us. It helps all of us to understand the Muslim faith even better and one that is far superior than anything Osama can try and teach us.
As a person that is not really religious, if I were seeking out a religion to follow; would I follow the teachings of Osama bin Laden as he urges Americans to turn through violence to Islam or Nayyar Imam? I would choose Nayyar Imam since I abhor the taking of innocent lives.
In reading this past article, “Imams and Rabbis for peace”, I was struck by this statement made by Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron who is the former Chief Sefardic Rabbi of Israel when he said, “when I see all of the imams and rabbis coming together, this is a message to the Creator that we are here to do your will, that is to bring peace." Notice the operative word which is peace. That is a far cry from the violence Osama bin Laden advocates when speaking to his followers or those he is trying to convert to Islam.
At this conference to help Jews and Muslims come together a wonderful remark was made by Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, “I gave a full interview in Arabic, calling on Muslims everywhere to unite with the Jews as members of one family, the family of Abraham.” I wish we would hear his name more frequently and various heads of state would engage with him.