September 11th, 2008
07:02 PM ET

Spending seven Septembers hijacking my religion back

Editor's Note: We are devoting many posts today to the anniversary of 9/11, with first-hand accounts, insight, and commentary dedicated to that day seven years ago that changed our world. Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of themuslimguy.com and Contributing Editor for Islamica Magazine in Washington DC.
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Arsalan Iftikhar | BIO
Founder, themuslimguy.com

Mahatma Gandhi once said that, “I have nothing new to teach the world…Truth and nonviolence are as old as the hills.” Since time immemorial, our human experiment has revolved around the enlightened advancement of collective human thought. Within the current ungodly global mix of perpetual war, everlasting human poverty, extremist terrorism and global racism; our human race has completely and utterly lost its collective mind. Since our world has gone completely bonkers, the unquenchable thirst for social justice of this young American Muslim human rights lawyer and public diplomat must be positively channeled at this juncture of infinite global sadness towards a purpose-driven life guided down an untaken road called Islamic Pacifism.

9/11 was ten days after my twenty-fourth birthday. As a second year law student at the time, even though I had already lived more than two decades; in many ways, my life only truly began at 8:46 am EST on September 11, 2001. Because as an American Muslim, that would be the day that my country was attacked by people who would also infamously hijack my religion.

Since that fateful day seven Septembers ago, my life as a human rights lawyer, media troubadour and public diplomat has now become one big absurd game of television musical chairs and YouTube video clips. From CNN to The TODAY Show to BBC World News, I have spent a dizzying chunk of the last several years on the proverbial 'hot seat'; as a global Muslim public intellectual for over a billion mainstream Muslims who never want to be represented by the bobble-headed terrorist, Osama bin Laden.

So alas, with my trusty ThinkPad and red Swingline stapler, that day began my never-ending quest to condemn terrorism as an international media spokesperson, defeat hate crimes as a leading American Muslim civil rights lawyer, educate the general public about Islam and help create a millennial version of Islamic Pacifism for our entire global community today.

This revived gentle giant of global pacifism shall welcome all people; regardless of any race, religion or socioeconomic status. Whether you are white, black or purple, whether you are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or celebrate Festivus; our next generation of youthful global pacifists can help reclaim our culture of humanity from sinister warmongering dinosaurs with names like Osama, Coulter, Hamas and Cheney.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that, “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” By giving global pacifism a millennial makeover, we shall use the witty humor of Jon Stewart, the humanistic nuance of Noam Chomsky and the fearless determination of Nelson Mandela to quench our collective thirst for social justice.

With the hipster slyness of Danny Ocean to the groovy idealism of John Lennon, for anyone in the world who has ever earnestly prayed for a Muslim Gandhi; you can sleep peacefully at night knowing that the life memoirs of this young Muslim pacifist shall one day be playfully entitled ‘The Autobiography of Gandhi X’.

Finally proving that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, everyone can rest easy knowing that Barack Obama is not the only brown civil rights lawyer from Chicago with the audacity of hope running through his every vein.

Do not worry, ladies and gentlemen, a billion Muslim pacifist sisters and brothers continue to challenge those who hijacked Islam and we will spend our lives serenely hijacking it back; by any peaceful means necessary.

Even though some Americans may mistakenly think that Muslims only know recipes for Molotov cocktails; here are some other societal contributions of Muslims to modern civilization:

For example, it was Muslims who invented algebra.

Most people would also probably be surprised to learn that it was a Muslim who designed the Sears Tower in my sweet home of Chicago.

Even more surprising is the fact that 4 out of 57 Muslim nations on earth have already elected female heads-of-state; something that we as Americans have been unable to do thus far in history.

Additionally, the greatest American boxer ever, Muhammad Ali; and the funniest dude in America, Dave Chappelle, are both Muslims.

Most importantly, 3 out of the last 5 Nobel Peace Prize winners have been Muslims; one for fighting poverty in Bangladesh, one for disarming nuclear weapons and Shrin Ebadi, the Iranian Muslim human rights lawyer valiantly fighting for the rights of women worldwide.

But more important than Nobel Peace Prizes, Muslim culture has brought crunchy falafel, henna tattoos and yummy hummus to our American shores.

But all because of one terrorist cave-dweller, 1400 years of Pan-Islamic cultural and societal progress goes down the drain.

Thanks a lot, Osama…

Your ‘Gandhi X’ has also been cast in an upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio Hollywood spy movie thriller (Body of Lies with Russell Crowe) and has also emerged victorious at The Doha Debates in front of 300 million BBC World television viewers.

Honoring the fact that two Nobel Peace Prize winners and an American president (Bill Clinton) had also previously graced that same stage in Doha; this Muslim pacifist used that same global stage to call for the complete eradication of every form of global racism in the world, including Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism.

Black. White. Muslim. Jew. It doesn’t matter. It’s all wrong.

Nonetheless, I still get called a 'terrorist' by knucklehead racists because of my unabashed love of Islam and am still called a Muslim 'hippy' by knucklehead extremists for my unabashed platform of peace.

Well, since Islam means 'peace' anyway, I shall proudly wear the 'Islamic Peacenik' label as a badge of honor. Because with such seething hatred in the world today, the only thing that anyone can condemn me for is my seething love.

As the Religious Lefty or whatever other silly names Osama and Coulter can conjure in their puny little brains; this Islamic pacifist will continue to reclusively perch atop the shadowy rooftops of the world somberly awaiting the next global light beacon from the Muslim Bat-Signal in the form of silly Danish cartoons, ungodly acts of terrorism or diplomatic calls for reconciliation.

In explaining the utter human simplicity of my global pacifism, we should be reminded of the sage words of Albert Einstein: “My pacifism is an instinctive feeling; a feeling that possesses me because the murder of men is disgusting…My attitude is not derived from any intellectual theory but is based on my deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and hatred…”

It should be no secret that our world is in darkness tonight. A pacifist Mozart to every racist Salieri out there, by successfully turning the world into a United Colors of Benetton advertisement, we can ensure that the only thing that all the beautiful babies of the world will ever need to worry about is filling their cute tummies, pooping in their smelly diapers and deciding which color Nerf ball to play with today.

Alas, everyone on all sides should now lay down their bombs and/or water-boards for one moment and contemplate whether we collectively wish to take a path towards perpetual war or coexistent peace and align ourselves with devilish racist warmongers or choose to be on the side of loving warrior angels.

Until that wondrous day when racist warmongers worldwide are overcome with the righteous ferocity of global peacemakers, this Islamic Pacifist welcomes one and all to our globally-warmed Sherwood Forest as our merry band of billion pacifist believers continue to gently comfort the afflicted, ruthlessly afflict the comfortable and lovingly wonder if God will ever forgive us for what we have done to each other.

soundoff (244 Responses)
  1. Paul From Florida

    This is a wonderful writing and should be read by all. I heart is with the author.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:16 pm |
  2. Pablo from Asuncion

    It really left me speechless, I'm sending the link to my friends... I've read so many articles about jewish people and christian people talking about tolerance, but I think this is one of the best anti-racism and pro-peace pieces I've got the chance to read.
    Peace!!! And Human Rights everywhere!

    September 11, 2008 at 12:15 pm |
  3. felix

    Overall I agree with your message and think this is a well written blog. In the future I would refrain from attempting to inject so many attempts at humor and movie referrences. It distracts from the messages and makes you come across as too flipant. In addition, lumping Osama and Hamas with Coulter and Cheney is just plain ignorant. You lose credibility with educated readers. Its like comparing apples and dead babies. None the less, i feel your opinion is the minority message being vocalized. I have spent time in the middle east, mostly under developed areas where Koranic law prevails and mullahs hold the greatest sway. The message in these areas still has glaring contradictions of Isalm as a peaceful religion while simultaneously preaching "honour killings", jihad (solely in the killing of non-muslim context), and destruction of everything non-Islamic. Its hard to fault them too much. Most have never left a 5km area from their homes, cant read or even understand the arabic they memorize from the Koran. Until the rational people of Islam take back their religion, your words will never reach the audience that needs it the most.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:15 pm |
  4. Brad

    One thing that you forgot here is that Islam attacked the US not vise versa. They also sold their brethren out in Isreal. The hatred between Muslims and others is not new, if you go back to the bible, and read it, this hatred has existed almost since the beginning of time since the days of Abraham.

    If "Islam" is so appauled by Bin Laden, where are they in this war? Why aren't they bringing forces to find him and bring him to their own justice. It is probably because no matter what this one writer says, most of Islam hates the west and what we stand for.

    There will not be any PEACE, until either their ways or our ways change. I don't see either happening soon. In fact we are getting further apart by the day.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:15 pm |
  5. Hugh Mungus from PA

    At all of their fundamental cores, Christianity, Judaism and Islam all teach intolerance.
    On the surface they preach peace and togetherness.

    But even within their own disciplines’ they teach intolerance and hatred.

    Pentecostals hate Catholics. Sunni’s hate Shiites. And Hasidic Jews hate Orthodox Jews.

    All would start killing one another once the other opposing Abrahamic faith was destroyed.

    Religion destroys our compassion.
    Blinds our sight.
    Kills our humanity.
    And stifles our inquisitiveness.

    When will this hairless little monkey ever grow up ?

    September 11, 2008 at 12:15 pm |
  6. Joe Sauter

    The condition of Islam today illustrates the tragic flaw of all religions, including Christianity; that such organizations empower cruel fanatics to perform torture and murder with the assurance that some god is endorsing their actions. When you become convinced that an all-powerful creator is standing behind you, no bible, no Koran, no argument, no cries of agony, no human emotion can pierce the smug impervious zealotry that shields a deadly ignorance.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:14 pm |
  7. Aaron

    The root of the problem my not be current Muslims, it may be the founders of each religion. While both Muhammad and Jesus were admirable, Jesus instantly condemned Peter when he cut off the ear of the Roman soldier. Muhammad did not condemn his armies when they conquered Medina. Maybe it is in the root of each religion that makes it hard for Muslims to denounce the violence, Christians have a clear example, Muslims have conflicting ones.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:13 pm |
  8. Nestor, Austin, TX

    This is a great article. I wish that earth could be the way you are fighting for it to be. Alas, it never will be, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't fight to make it so. Thank you for standing up to the Islamic extremists. Far too few Muslims are willing to do what you are doing. America, and all free nations need to fight to defend those around the world wishing to be free from terror and the hijacking of Islam. It is a battle that needs to be fought on all fronts. Militarily, diplomatically, through the mosques, churches and synagogues around the world, and through grassroots movements. As long as we are on Earth, things will never be perfect, but we can fight to make the world, 'more perfect'.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:13 pm |
  9. Jeremy

    A nice article.

    The thing I've never understood (as a former Muslim) is why more Muslims are not coming out and openly condemning Osama and other terrorists for their actions. As a new Muslim, I was completely shocked when I was reprimanded by the men at the masjid I attended for implying that Muslims should stand up and denounce Osama's actions. I even went so far as to say "in my understanding of Islam and what it means to be a Muslim, he is not even a Muslim". That drew even sharper criticism.

    I left the religion 5 years ago and found the truth in Christianity, but even 5 years later I see little or no criticism from Muslims towards the men who wreck their "religion of Peace" with their violence.

    Thanks to you for making a stand, and God Bless.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:13 pm |
  10. Shahbaz, another muslim guy like you

    Thanks to Allah, and many thanks to you for leading this cause. I am with you 110 %.

    We as muslims have to show to others that we are also peaceful and tolerant of others. If we don't speak up and show who we are, others will see and hear of us from these terrorists and murderers who do not represent the masses. There is a huge media bias around the world on both sides failing to show that people in general are peaceful regardless of their faith.

    God bless you, and God bless America.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:13 pm |
  11. An Atheist for Peace

    That was beautifully written.

    While I can't understand your love for your religion,(Any religion, not just Islam) I can't understand people who hate because of religion or lack thereof even more. When the world learns to stop wearing religion on it's sleeve, we will be in a much better place.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:12 pm |
  12. FRANK O.

    From one Amercian (who also happens to be a Muslim) to another, BRAVO!
    And to all Americans, kindly note that this is the general feeling and sense of ALL muslims around the world. No one likes violence, no Muslim wants Osama to be their leader. Obama is one and the rest of the Muslims of the world are one-united and against Osama. The problem is the world does not know that Muslims are equally against violence. We do not have a good PR machine to get our message out.
    Equal THANKS to CNN for putting this article out.


    September 11, 2008 at 12:12 pm |
  13. Richard

    Many muslims stil believe that the World Trade Center attacks were somehow a plot by the US government. This is obviously a lie and yet they continue to believe lies. Until muslims come to believe that it is their religion that is a fault and that there religion is fundmentally violent and that they must change that aspect of their religion, there will be no peace.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:12 pm |
  14. Yasir

    Great Article, very inspiring. Thanks a lot.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:11 pm |
  15. Unity

    Here! Here!

    Although I am not a Muslim, I believe in the equality of all religions. We are all created from the same and all go back to the same. Thank you for putting so much into perspective for those that have a hard time expressing respect and equality as fundamental human rights.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:09 pm |
  16. Rebekah

    Thank-you for sharing your intelligence and wisdom this 9/11. I so appreciate when someone can see and speak the truth and encourage all of us to live more loving lives. May we all pray for lasting peace. I would much rather the USA spend billions ($) on feeding others, not killing them. May God bless you.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:08 pm |
  17. shak

    religion(/s) is the biggest scam that had been pulled off on human civilization......................and, it's still affecting us after thousands of years.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:08 pm |
  18. btj

    As an American and a Christian, I've been waiting for the emergence of people like you. The defeat of Muslim extremism must come from within Islam. My impression is that most respectable Muslims have been frozen into inactivity by the extremist threat. We (fellow non-Muslim Americans) need you to take a stand.

    I am reminded of Martin Luther King, taking a stand against a minority problem that was not his people's fault. I remember telling an African-American friend that I could not be part of leadership against that problem, but I was ready to help when the leadership emeerged. The initiative, the leadership had to come from within the African-American community, and it did!

    Now it's YOUR turn. Blessings on you.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:07 pm |
  19. André

    An absolutely wonderful and appropriate sentiment for this tragic anniversary, Mr. Iftikhar. As an African-American, I am proud to have had friends of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddist faiths – in addition to agnostics and atheists. I believe that all people are created equal and we must all do our very best to treat everyone else in the way we ourselves wish to be treated.

    So, on this tragic anniversary – let all of us, of all colors, religions and national origins, pull together to start a great coalition of peace and mutual understanding. Let us each pledge to respect our differences and celebrate not denigrate diversity.

    Each of us has a role to play in this great change so that one wonderful day in the future, there will be no wars, no terrorism and no hatred.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:07 pm |
  20. Rob


    I very much appreciate what you wrote. I guess my reaction is similar to what others have stated...why aren't we seeing more of this? It's all well and good that Muslims here in the U.S. are critical of Bin Laden et al., but where this criticism REALLY needs to originate is in the Arab world as THAT is where the majority of those "hijackers" as you call them are located and/or schooled.

    Again, thanks for such a moving and inspirational piece.

    Peace. 🙂

    September 11, 2008 at 12:05 pm |
  21. Ed-

    Well said... Count me on your side.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:05 pm |
  22. Byron

    Arslana, I applaude your comments and agree that Muslims & Arabs have and still make noteworthy contributions to the world. I have traveled in the Muslim world and had some very good dialogue with some locals. However, I fear that a large number of Osma's disciples cannot be delt with peaceably. We in the West, I in particular, feel that right thinking Muslims are too busy trying to love the radicals into loving back and that isn't going to happen. You don't love a mad dog, you kill it. I, and many others, suspect that Osama is being protected by tribal groups in the mountains of Pakistan and the the Arab population has done little or nothing to go get him. If peaceful Muslims want peace and order, why do they not take up arms and go get him, no matter where he is or who is protecting him?

    September 11, 2008 at 12:04 pm |
  23. Evan, CT

    Amen, Mr. Iftikhar, Amen. While I'm not religious, I am a pacifist for humanistic reasons, in the same way that Einstein described. I've always wondered why "Arab" and "Muslim" seem to go hand-in-hand, and are often used as synonyms for the far-right, even though less than 15% of muslims worldwide are Arab. This is a small detail, but I have often found myself disgusted at the lack of knowledge of Islam by many Americans.
    I am proud to see that there are people worried enough to try and take the religion back. I don't think we hear enough from muslims about the subject because we're still worried about being called culturally or religiously insensitive, but this blog was very informative.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:01 pm |
  24. VG

    Very noble of you to quote the Mahatma at the very beginning. Mahatma was an ardent student and follower of the GITA one of the most profound scriptures ever presented to mankind. However his religion is always branded as " The false" religion by the majority of the Muslim and Christian world ( not only the poor of the poorest but the most "educated" of the "educated "). Don't you think we as humans Must shun this perceived hatred and ignorance of others who are unlike you and learn from each other? God the creator is one. God has created the universe billions of years ago so his message must be respected no matter where it was received. Its time to respect one another and its time to start loving God instead of diluting the essence of spirituality by distinction of " My God v/so their God". Its time to learn from each other.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:01 pm |
  25. Chris

    Fantastic piece. As previously stated, I applaud your bravery and thank you for writing a very insightful article.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:00 pm |
  26. Elbeau

    I like both your article and attitude, but I fear there is an underlying premise that you're missing in this article.

    The perception that you are battling is not restricted to Osama Bin Laden. Over and over in your article you use Osama and Coulter as examples of the two sides of this problem, but the comparison is very unfair. If you want to complain about Al-Jazeera and Coulter then you'll be getting closer to the mark. Most Americans don't think that most muslims are like Osama...but most of us do believe that most muslims are followers of the vitrol that is displayed in islamic news stations in the same way that muslims have a general feeling that americans are followers of the likes of Coulter.

    You can't have it both ways. You can't say that Osama is your bad guy and Coulter is ours. If you expect us to fix our "Coulter" culture, you MUST also expect muslims to fix their Al-Jazeera culture.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:00 pm |
  27. George

    You are one-in-a-million! And, unfortunately THAT is part of the problem. Why, since it is only a few (in the grand scheme of things) of the Radical verity of Muslims that are causing the trouble, why is there not a larger OUTCRY of the mainstream Muslim community? This silence speaks to me of the Muslim 'Silent Majority' giving tacit approval.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:00 pm |
  28. Pete

    Even if 99.999% of the world's population embraced pacifism, it would be cruelly dominated by the 0.001% who didn't.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:59 am |
  29. Jim

    Great article. But where are the moderate Muslims, the majority, throughout all of this...? Why are they not protesting the violence overseas...? Why are they not trying to communicate to any of the terrorists, directly or indirectly...? Think of all the great work they could do, yet do not.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:59 am |
  30. ummmhello

    Seething love – fabulous! Let's continue to reclusively stand together (an oxymoron, I know) against the knuckleheads encroaching on all sides. I want my kids to worry about the color of their Nerf ball, not the color of the skin of those they're playing with.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:59 am |
  31. George

    We need to make this article required reading. I was raised a Christian but now practice no religion. Part of the reason is the way so many people (a vocal minority, I think) use religion as an excuse to hate.

    Mr Iftikar speaks like a true follower of Islam. Osama bin Laden and his kind pervert Islam for their sick purposes. Honestly, there are Christians and Jews guilty of the same thing.

    Having read the Bible, Koran and Baghavad Gita, I believe there is one God (use whatever name suits you) who wants us to love God and each other and act like we really believe that. Why can't the human race try that?

    September 11, 2008 at 11:58 am |
  32. Bart

    Bravo. I hope more young (and old) Muslims continue to work toward changing Islam's undeserved bad image. It is no worse, nor no better than any other religion out there, an just as prone to fanaticism.

    A few points to ponder:

    Eye for an Eye makes the whole world blind.

    If you turn an enemy into a friend, have you not vanquished the enemy?

    Peace on Earth will not be achieved until individuals practice personal peace.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:58 am |
  33. Patrick

    Nice to see that on a day when millions turn their attention to the thousands who perished seven years ago, someone has the courage to step forward and use a veil of cliched love-everyone platitudes as a way of sharing with the world how into themselves they are. I wish I could give you a pat on the back, but your own hands seem to be covering it up. Go you!

    September 11, 2008 at 11:57 am |
  34. Jon

    Religion as it was meant to be a uniter of faith is one of the most attractive targets of those who seek to sway a mass audience.

    Those who hope to spread their own version of faith whether it be for good or evil will always seek to hijack religion as the surest way to reach a large group to achieve their goal.

    This is the true test for those committed to their core religious beliefs.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:57 am |
  35. P. Larsen

    Utopia has been awaited for centuries but still haven't arrived. Somehow I think we have forgotten that man himself will have to create it. It will not be given to us.

    I find your blog very interesting. The fact that you have been travelling around for 7 years speaking to the issues that I've been searching for is amazing.

    My question to you is – if there really is 1 billion peace loving Muslims out there, why are they so quiet? Why don't I hear anything but radical voices from the side of the Muslims? Why are news that I read about only about how Muslims wants to change the west and not allow criticism of Islam (even the UN seems to now declare it against the human rights to simply criticize Islam!). I greatly appreciate your front against the madness – but from an outsider like me – it seems like you're the only one fighting this fight?

    September 11, 2008 at 11:56 am |
  36. Lakshmi

    How wonderful the world would be if everyone thinks like this. A nice tribute for world peace and those who seek it.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:54 am |
  37. rob

    most inspirational thing i've read in a while

    September 11, 2008 at 11:53 am |
  38. Mike

    I appreciate what the author wrote here along with his stance and actions. In the past, I have been surprised by (what seems to me) little support of this anti-terrorism stance from Muslims. At least I do not see this portrayed often in the media. Do Muslims face backlash and/or threats for having this? Or are many Muslims uncomfortable criticizing other Muslims in this way? Or perhaps the media is more interested in Hollywood's bimbos and other faux scandals??? Not sure. Anyway ... thanks again to the author.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:52 am |
  39. POD, Atlantic City, NJ

    Well Said.................PEACE

    September 11, 2008 at 11:49 am |
  40. Craig

    Lest anyone think that Muslims have a monopoly on violence and hatred, read James Carroll's book Constantine's Sword (or view the recently released DVD) – Christians have equally bloody hands. As do many other religions. We all need to wash our hands and learn to live in peace.

    Tossing insults and accusations at others while ignoring our own shortcomings is not helpful. The majority of adherents to the world's religions would prefer to live in peace with their neighbors – violence is in no one's interest, except the selfish few who provoke it and profit from it.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:47 am |
  41. MER

    I loved this. I am sure I will be given a bath by my 'tribe', but as a Manhattan born Jew I think we need more voices like this – yes, please, worry about the civil rights of everyone. Period. No exceptions.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:46 am |
  42. Peter Franklin

    Hey Arsalan,
    I'm with you almost all the way. See, you forgot to include those of us who think that religion getting highjacked isn't the problem, but religion itself. I suppose you could argue that if we were to rise above religion all the way to a perfectly rational society that some other way of dividing humanity would jump up to bite us–color, ethnicity, gender, what have you. But I'd sure like to give it a try..........

    September 11, 2008 at 11:43 am |
  43. ted

    I applaud your bravery and agree with you whole heartly

    September 11, 2008 at 11:41 am |
  44. razor

    Thanks for this post. It reminds me of all the muslims I have met in m travels as a telecom engineer and the trading of stories about family, culture, and religion. We discussed what each of us wanted and the one thing that I learned is that we all pretty much wanted the same thing. A challenging job, a work-life balance and a safe place to raise our families. I miss the days of discussing politics with guys from the other end of the world ( geographically and politically) at a cafe in London or a pizza shop in Dallas Texas. Their ideas made me take a look at mine and see the world thru the eyes of somebody else who has a whole different set of life experiences. We did not always agree but we did listen to each other.


    September 11, 2008 at 11:41 am |
  45. Bill

    Amazing commentary. Thank you for writing so eloquently about this issue that plagues our nation. My thoughts are with you and the rest of the Muslim community that has been persecuted for the evil of a select few. I admire the strength of the Muslin faith post-9/11.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:41 am |
  46. John R. Prince

    11 Sept 089

    One of my greatest criticisms of Muslims has been the lack of objective and public criticism of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Queda. Now I find a very articulate Muslim doing just that. My question is why is the main-steam media not picking up on this. Is there Muslim bias in the main stream media? Why do we not hear of the Doha debates and similar venues? As a self-proclaimed conservative christian this lack of exposure of clear thinking by Muslims is deeply troubling.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:38 am |
  47. sbp

    I applaud your position, but please understand that "1400 years Pan-Islamic cultural and societal progress go[ing] down the drain" was not the result of "one terrorist cave-dweller." Islamic extremist terrorism has been going on for decades, and if I recall correctly, polls taken across the world immediately after 9/11 showed a majority of Muslims polled supported the attacks. Islamic hatred in the name of god is not inherent to the religion (my son's best friend is an American Muslim and harbors no such feelings; nor do most American Muslims I know) - any more so than Christianity being labeled a religion of hate because of the Inquisition. But modern Islamic culture is currently suffused with intolerance and arrogance. I chalk it up to a "young" religion flexing it's strength. Look at where Christianity was 1400 years after its founding. These things shall pass - but we need people like you standing up for tolerance and understanding.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:37 am |
  48. Jew for Peace


    September 11, 2008 at 11:36 am |
  49. Gayle G.

    I totally agree with your article. Man has hated each other since the beginning of time and no group of people have been left out of having idiots who hate and kill others. I'm an American Muslim by choice, not birth and know that my religion does not teach hate or violence. In the Qur'an it says that "you should want for your brother what you have yourself." and also, "If one person is killed unjustly, it is as all mankind has been killed." Every group of people have their bad apples...

    September 11, 2008 at 11:34 am |
  50. CG

    A great piece. It echoes sentiments that I have had over the years that if there was a Muslim "Ghandi", Palestine would be a state and there would be peace in the Middle East.

    September 11, 2008 at 11:31 am |
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