On September 11, 2001 the United States of America was victim to an attack that would suffer immeasurable repercussions. Aside from loss of human life, a sense of humanity has been perilously extinguished. Almost a decade later, unanswered questions still overwhelm the loved ones of those lost, those who survived, and the millions of people around the world who in one way or another were affected by the events of 9/11.
Each year as the anniversary approaches, we are inundated with images of what transpired on that fateful day. While the images of the towers falling and of the planes engulfed in flames are pivotal, there are other images that should press upon us. Lest we forget the images of mankind, of humanity, together vying for freedom, for safety & comfort, for understanding, and for the humbleness of God's grace. Men and women, children of all ages were united. All races were shown walking the streets of New York, faces covered with ash, riddled with horror, grief and despairing concern. Hundreds of people were scurrying through the streets and later walking across bridges trying to find their way home. When you looked to the right there was fellow man, when you looked to your left, the same.
Many theories have been deduced about what happened that day and who is at fault and where to cast blame. Perhaps there is only one conclusion that can be drawn and that is that the attacks of 9/11 were not done by religion, it was the result of man. We should not mask the man behind religion simply because it seems to make more sense to rebel against a large group as opposed to a few individuals. The Islamic community at large has suffered immensely for the thoughts and actions that triggered the 9/11 events. Islam is a religion, a culture and a way of life as is Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and so on. A fundamental right to life is our ability as humans to be able to use a combination of education and understanding to arrive at our own conclusions as to what belief system suits us best as an individual. Even having no belief at all is still a belief. With this knowledge comes the burden of being able to arguably "agree to disagree" which comes with the assignment of being able to respect one another in our position.
Should Christians or all Caucasians today around the world be condemned for their role in the slavery of Africans? Should all Germans be held accountable today for the tragedy of the Holocaust? What about the crimes committed against our own people, our own race, and our own religion? When will we move beyond punishing a race, a culture or a religion for the sins of 9/11?
When religion is being used as a reason to discriminate and to restrict the free will of others the practice of racial profiling is placed front and center. When Rev. Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center vowed to shed light on the dangers of Islam by hosting an international "Burn Koran Day', this is precisely what he did and for those who feel that he is justified in this reasoning, they should truly reevaluate his effectiveness as a spiritual leader, especially one of a "nondenominational' church. More than a debate, this was a lewd attempt at sparking an inner-country war without any consideration being given to the broader picture. Jones ventured out without regard for our troops, of which represent different races and religions, currently stationed abroad in the countries he blatantly sought to outrage by threatening such a disrespectful and shameless act. With days leading up to the 9/11 memorial he also showed lack of concern for placing our country at risk for another attack to marking the anniversary.
The outpouring of discrimination over a potential Mosque being built near the site of Ground Zero is synonymous with the attacks made against our country because of "man', based on politics and power, in addition to ignorance and fear. We move further away from the liberties of our constitution that our civil rights leaders fought tirelessly to seize. We are traveling backwards down the road of civil unrest, where equality and peace is not the thirst that we quench. This is the terrorism from within that we perpetuate. This is man, but not clearly not man-kind.
One thread at a time, the fabric of America is slowly being undone, every time we allow hatred to pull society apart at the seams. The true challenge is to first read, second decipher and lastly, respect the values of other religions. For many, we must begin in our own backyards using these steps to fully appreciate what is being asked of each us relative to our place in humanity.