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. Don

    I´ve lived in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Lahore, Pakistan. I´ve become very familiar with Islam. There´s no such thing as Islamic "pacificism." You are either a "practicing" Muslim following the Qur´an, or you call yourself a Muslim but practice only parts of the Qur´an – the parts you like and agree with. Osama bin Laden is a practicing Muslim, takes the entire Qur´an for its word, and follows it to the T. You, my friend, thank God, practice only those parts that are nonviolent, and hopefully those parts that don´t require bigotry and hatred from you toward all nonMuslims. Some would call you a " moderate," but in fact you are simply a Muslim who doesn´t practice your religion in its entirety. The "extremists" aren´t extremists at all; they are practicing Muslims. You know this, and those Muslims consider you a lightweight and not a " good" Muslim.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  2. M. El Attar

    In response to John R. Prince's comment/question- mainstream media would never report that 99.9% of muslims in the world are against Bin Ladin because that would not draw the readers to draw the advertising to draw the money. Plain and simple.

    I am an American muslim convert (post-9/11) and am ashamed sometimes at how our culture "loves" freedom so much it destroys it.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  3. John

    Once again, the lie that Islam means Peace. The world is not so blind any more to the false claims. Islam actually means "submission", and you should know it... but are afraid to actually say it. The fact that you do this one small thing shows that you are working only to hide the truth. The only true muslims are those that follow Muhammed's example, and that is murder, lying, pedophilia and theft. You cannot deny that he is guilty of any of those. They are all recorded and are now being held up as examples to be copied by Osama and his kind.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  4. Vivian Mahoney

    When I think of Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Theo Van Gogh, the children in Beslan, commuters in Madrid and London, vacationers in Bali, Israelis in restaurants and many other recent sickening events in the past few years, I cannot believe for an instant that “one terrorist cave dweller” is behind all the violence and intolerance perpetrated by Muslims.

    Indeed, there are many international terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Hizbullah, Jamaah e Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf who are not directly tied to Bin Ladin but who do use the teachings of the Qur’an and the Hadith to justify their violent actions and intolerant world views. You could say that they are twisting and high jacking Islam—and maybe they are, but they would say the same about your interpretation of Islam—and I daresay that they would have more scriptures and commentary by Islamic scholars throughout the ages to back up their claims than you do yours.

    Nevertheless, I appreciate your love of this nation and your respect for people of all belief systems and cultures. The world is in dire need of more Muslims who think as you do.

    Blessed Be.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:10 pm |
  5. Bob

    Islam, put simply, is not a religion of peace.

    There is a reason it has the traditions of Nasikh/Mansukh verses (and the peaceful verses are always the abrogated ones; the most violent and hateful part of the koran was the LAST part written). There is a reason they practice the tradition of taqiyyah, or "lying to make the religion look better", in order to get in good when a minority like the liar who wrote this article does.

    The vast majority of Muslims, polled, will ADMIT TO SUPPORTING TERRORISM. And that's the ones who are being honest to the poller.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:10 pm |
  6. RoccoP

    Arsalan, I applaud your condemnation of terror and the killing of innocents in the name of Islam. I sincerely hope Muslims around the world will take it to heart. However, have you ever seriously considered there is a possibility, that the islamic system itself could be a source of such terrorism? Have you ever asked yourself who comes closer to the original Islam : whether the mass of tolerant, peace-loving Muslims you belong to, or the intolerant, murderous islamists? What do you think of the statements in the Qur'an and Hadithe which clearly call for the execution of apostates? How do you feel about having a chapter/Sure in your holy book called Anfal– "the spoils of war"– giving instructions on how to divvy up the booty of people that have been attacked? Or what about the permission in Qur'an to have sex with/rape female "war booty" in Sure 33:50. I have many tolerant muslim friends who are disgusted by these things which are commanded in their holy book. Recently one told me: "The more I read in the Qur'an and in the Hadithe about the original Islam and the historical Mohammed, the more my conscience bothers me. My only way to cope is to create a fantasy Islam/Mohammed in my mind, which is peacful and tolerant to block out the facts of history." The attempt to compare islamic terror with the inquisitions is flawed. Christians who perpetrated such crimes, did so in CONTRADICTION to their holy book and their leader Jesus (in the New Testament you will find no chapter on the spoils of war, executoing apostates or the rape of female prisoners). However when Islamists do this, they are acting in AGREEMENT with their holy book and imitating their founder. A contrast we dare not overlook!

    September 11, 2008 at 1:09 pm |
  7. Ernie

    Mr. Iftikhar, keep writing. We need voices like yours. Don't let the haters get you down.


    September 11, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  8. Rizwan

    Richard, its not the religion that is at fault, its those manupilators & opportunits who're twisting the religion to further their own agendas and this is not the first time in history. Remember, during the so called Afghan Jihad, these same war mongers were depicted as heros & freedom fighters. Time magazine and Newsweek called them Soldiers of God and Holy Figthers. CIA sponsored training camps sprung up all along Afghan-Pak borders where religious teachings was shamelessly twisted, bended and used to infest a jihadi culture among the young cannon fodders recruited from around the world for waging a jihad against infidels of that time i.e Soviets. They were trained for ONLY two things: to kill or be killed with the lure of 72 virgins. Soviet withdrawl gave them a false sense of invincibility and religious supremacy, which severly crippled their ability of objective & rational thinking. An entire generation has been wasted, they're beyond cure. Distorted religious teachings have distorted their minds & souls.

    Great article Arsalan btw, it echos the sentiments of billion + Muslims around the world. Osama does NOT own Islam, neither he is sincere to his faith, he is only using Islam to spread his own anarchist teachings.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  9. genuine concern

    As long as muslim leaders dont codemn terrorism , this kind of jihadi behavior will exist and will encourage the younger muslims. Every other religion leaders does condemn their own people when something goes wrong, why is that not happening in muslim community? Muslim extremists have issues not only with US, but 10 other countries. Is it the problem with these countries or muslim extremists in general?

    September 11, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  10. 2nd side of a coin

    Just like the author quoted a few peaceful quotes from quran, i can post hateful posts from the quran too. this selective propagation, used by ideologists is what makes humans think that their belief system is being hijacked. but who is to blame for that, just like how the author chose the peaceful quotes and peaceful way of life in islam, some other person of islam or any other religion might chose the hateful quotes and hateful way of life, and what rational way can we condemn them when we ourselves have chose something that suits us from the same set of quotes.

    If you start believing that there is no difference between humans, cultures and traditions then you are just misleading people, and i strongly believe that the goal of one united world will never happen unless we learn to understand that we are all different, but we have to learn to understand and appreciate the differences. The sense of insecurity about our believes drives us crazy, we need to understand that whatever we believe is what we perceive, and there are and can be innumerable of these. As an individual most people have a great heart, but when in a group the same individuals become foolish, this is the result of the internal craving for belonging somewhere and belonging to something. this need not be wrong, but being insecure about it is the culprit to take inhumane actions.

    Being judgemental, making decisions who is better than whom, what idea is better than the other is foolish and that drives the entire gammot of this hate whether is based of race or religion. as long as we do not stop judging we will never get rid of this problem.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:07 pm |
  11. Juliet C

    This comment is for Richard:
    You are bias, you are a racist and you are wrong... We dont know anything is for sure anymore...and for you to say an entire religion is this way and behave that way and do those things is completely RACIST. Thats like me saying your family is full of racist people when im sure there is at least one smart soul who doesnt believe in your warped ideas...she/he too would be offended. Im disgusted by your remarks and by the fact that you pick a day where people mourn the loss of their loved ones and speak of peace to feel "attacked" by a muslim.
    I work for a muslim family, my boss is by far the best person I've worked for in my life. He has helped me and my family through the worst times ever and he continues to help me by extending a friendly hand and not asking for anything in return no matter how much I insist on it. Im Colombian and my grandfather was muslim...he was from India. He spoke 7 different languages and traveled the world teaching the Koran and tutoring those less fortunate. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to meet him but I will forever think of him as a hero...he had a heart of gold. It was you Richard...people like you who crashed those planes and killed those innocent people with your racist thinking...shame on you.
    As for the author of this article...you are an inspiration to your religion and to all of us immigrants who battle with racism and separatism each passing day. People like you who focus on the positive and never the negative are the people who truly make a difference in the world...Kudos to you! 😀

    September 11, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  12. Reality Check


    As noble and admirable as this article is, it wholly misses the point. In history of mankind, religion is the number 1 reason for war. This article though is akin to build one giant Field of Peace with everyone in it singing koomby-ya and then sitting back saying "build it and they will come".

    As long as religion prevails in the governments of countries or is the single driving social force of any society then there will always be problems. In Saudi Arabia the school text books 'preach' the hatred of Jews and the construction of different religious places of worship is illegal. In China all religions are illegal. In many western nations Christianity has taken a back seat in society that you can find daily satire of it in the media outlets – the guise of freedom of the press overshadows respect for peoples beliefs. And in many areas of the world, where social classes are separated by the extreme poor and the extreme rich, religion becomes the only guiding light, the only beacon of hope for poor and down trodden. The poorer a people are the more they embrace their religion. And they embrace their religion with unbridled passion and ferocious emotion and defend it with intense irrationality.

    The keys to peace is poverty and the removal of religious governments. IF that were ever to occur and that major hurdle was out of the way, then we could focus on the rest of the top 10 reasons why we nations war.

    As student of history: people will change when they are ready, but you can't will change upon them.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  13. SMMCD

    Great article – Inspiring and needed.

    I know many American Muslims who are hard working and just want a better life for their families. They immigrated to America to enhance their education and provide a better opportunity for themselves.

    All minorities in America have gone through challenging times. Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Native Americans, Catholics, etc. Now it is the Muslim's turn. Who will be next? Chinese, Russians, etc?

    America should embrace all cultures and all religions and judge people INDIVIDUALLY by their actions rather than STEREOTYPING all people because of the actions of a radical few.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  14. T. R.

    It is sad that Barack Obama has been called "a Muslim" as if it were a bad thing. He has also distanced himself from this issue. My only wish is that an American leader would have the courage to align himself with any race, religion or creed that does what Arsalan Ifthikar has stood for.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  15. H Burns

    Thank you for making so many points so eloquently!

    September 11, 2008 at 1:04 pm |
  16. atheist

    Brad, you have some serious misconceptions about atheists. Atheist does not equal amoral. Peace.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:03 pm |
  17. TWIN90S

    I applaud all your comments, but peace has never been accomplished by being passive. If Western Europe was Islamic when Hitler began his march of aggression, who would have stopped his rockets? I just don't see it happening – sorry!
    Even in Nature, undisturbed by politics, it's a struggle of who is the boss, commander, leader...if God does exist, in all these centuries, someone would have followed his rules to the letter and eternal peace would have been accomplished. Think those odds are about as timely as following the chances of duplicating someone's DNA! But your message is not to be discarded! If one aggresive leader GETS IT, then we can assume that his following of a couple of thousand will also get it, for a while anyway.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  18. Mark LA

    hmmm, what scary percentage of American Muslims think suicide bombings are OK?

    It didn't start with 9/11. It started in Munich. It happend to embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. It happened in Beirut and Jerusalem.

    Until the "billion muslim pacificts" take to the streets and condemn suicide bombings and terrorist, Islam will be associated with "martyrs" who "god willing" will paint the streets red with the blood of the "infidels."

    September 11, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  19. NR MD

    When people start wearing religious and reacial masks, no words can explain our own personal image or identity. While religions, races and cultures are part of lives for centuries, we are all being separated by acts of extremists. There is no immediate remedy for this. The long term solution is love that can mix all of us. My suggestion is love and marry someone who is not from your religion, race or culture.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:01 pm |
  20. Robert

    Arsalan, you are right that racism and extremism must be defeated, however you are wrong if you think that we can do this through non-violence alone. Ghandi had the advantage of facing an enemy that did not desire its own death. The current crop of Muslim extremists want nothing other than the destruction of most life on this planet, the establishment of an global Islamic caliphate, 72 virgins, and other such idiotic fantasies. I don't think you will ever win that group over with your prose.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:01 pm |
  21. RickySmooth

    "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."

    Couple of points...

    Islam would have to have been a 'culture of humanity' at some point for us to 'reclaim' it.

    Nothing says 'classy' like comparing the American VP to the lowest form of terrorists scum on the planet on 9/11.

    Keep up the good work - your consistent attempts to minimize the autrocities committed in the name of Islam seem to be working on most the folks in this thread.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:00 pm |
  22. kmo

    I was in Managerial Accounting on 9.11.01 and the class after 9.11.01 the very fist thing my professor said to us was to remember NOT to make blanket categorization, to not discriminate against the very students a week before we had no problems with (we had a fairly high population of Muslim students). I have never forgotten those words and have worked to live by them.

    September 11, 2008 at 1:00 pm |
  23. drewdude

    Great piece...

    But instead of trying to pacify our religions maybe we should just get rid of them...

    September 11, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  24. John Johnson

    This is all nice to hear coming from a Muslim, but I think the article ignores the graveness of the situation. I do not accept the writer's characterization that "over a billion mainstream Muslim" do not agree with Osama Bin Laden's tactics. Too many Muslims have danced in the streets following the 9/11 attack, and too many of them continue to send money to charities that fund terrorism. The Qur'an, which is preoccupied with burning the infidels, provides instructions on how and when to wage war, while offering dangerously vague guidelines for its justification. Many Muslims seem to have no critical skills when it comes to separating fact from hateful propaganda. For more than a milliennia, violence has been the chief problem-solving mechanism for Islam, both for internal and external problems. It is clear enough that if Mr. Iftikhar were to say these things in most of the Middle Eastern countries dominated by Islam, he would be imprisoned or killed. Preaching to the choir is not what is needed today. More bravery than that is required.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  25. weepingjebus

    Conspicuously absent from Mr. Iftikhar's attached biography is his service as CAIR's nationwide legal director. I find this absence telling if not surprising, given CAIR's role as political cover for the terrorist organization of the Muslim Brotherhood. Do not trust a single thing this man says, as he molds it in one vein for the unsuspecting infidel reader, while saying something VERY different back at headquarters.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  26. David S.

    Thats fine that you believe in peace, obviously you are an intelligent and educated person. Problem is that you are only one Muslim and statistics show that overwhelming majorities of millions of Muslims are supportive of killing of non-muslims and identify with their suicide bombers. The vast majoirty of conflicts in the world today involve muslims attacking people and persecuting those who are are not muslim.

    Until the muslim world stops killing people who do not want to believe they way they do, it is a religion of hate and an enemy to the world.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  27. STL-Veteran

    Awesome...as a veteran of the US Army and a Christian I could not have said it better....I don't understand how on one hand my so called brothers and sisters in Christ can be "lovers of unborn life" yet be willing to execute people, not support research that could some day lead to a treatment to my terminal cancer and be willing to send our brave son's, daughters, husbands and wives to fight in an unjust war.

    GODS Blessings To ALL!!!!

    September 11, 2008 at 12:58 pm |
  28. Vase B.

    Beautifully written. You are truly inspirational. We need more people like you who can show everyone else the true colors of Islam.

    To Richard: Unless you have studied Islam, you can have no idea of what it teaches. It's not the religion at fault but the extremists who make false interpretations and basically lie to justify their acts of hate and violence. The biggest problem is the lack of education in some of these middle east countries which makes it easy for terrorist groups to manipulate the minds of the people living there.

    I like what John Prince said. The main stream media is partially to blame for the public view of Muslims. Ever since 9/11, they have constantly used the words Muslims and terrorists hand in hand. It is our job as true Muslims to show the rest of the world that these terrorists and extremists do not follow what Islam stands for and are nothing more than fakes who use religion as a platform for gaining support and power.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:57 pm |
  29. Glenn Wall

    Islam means "submission," you knuckleheads, not "peace," And Arabs are not a race. Just two of the imbecilic statements made by this author. If any of you can't by now discern taqiyah from the truth, then I tremble for my country.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:57 pm |
  30. Suhail

    It's time for the silent majority of Muslims to come out and set the record straight. Our religion has indeed been hijacked.

    Our faith does not allow attacks on civilians under ANY circumstance. Islam absolutely forbids death penalty on anyone for something they said, wrote (or a cartoon they sketched). The Qur'an teaches us to counter those who dislike us by doing good towards them. Raise arms only to disarm a madman.

    The insanity of so-called "Islamic Terrorism" has its roots in idiocy, not in the scriptures of Islam, not in the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). In the 1400 years since Prophet Muhammed walked this earth, only in the last few decades has this disease shrouded itself in Islam.

    The etymology of the word Islam is anchored in the word peace – Salam. It's time we became agents of peace to this world. This is the highest calling in Islam. After all, our Prophet prayed and taught us to pray as follows:

    Oh God,
    You are peace
    and the source of peace,
    To you returns peace
    Revive us with a salutation of peace,
    And lead us to your abode of peace.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:56 pm |
  31. tony

    man...lots of big words...its no wonder you are doing well in college. professors love that stuff. and i know that because all the writing ive done in college looks just like that, and i get pretty good grades in writing classes.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:56 pm |
  32. A seeker

    Great piece, but I have a question regarding the Koran.
    “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayher and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And.” – The Koran, Sura 9:5-6

    In the context of the above, and other passages in the Koran that advocate killing of non-muslims, can someone explain how Islam can be seen as a religion of peace? Maybe I have a botched translation?

    September 11, 2008 at 12:56 pm |
  33. Tony

    P. Larsen : that is the fault of our media, the potrayal of the rest of the world is typically negative. Can you imagine the perception of Africa by an Average American? The only thing you hear or see of Africa are naken and hungary people, they don't show the advanced cities in Africa. It's very sad how the media has turned a perception to a reality.
    from my travels I've found that Middle Eastern people have a very sophisticated society.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:55 pm |
  34. RS

    Though I can't say I have ever been thankful for Algebra, I am surely thankful for individuals like you. Your words are inspiring. Never lose your optimism!

    Thank you

    September 11, 2008 at 12:55 pm |
  35. ricky667

    Yoda said it best and perhaps it is the start of all things dark, "fear" why do we fear each other? Which in turn, leads to anger, and then hate, and finally suffering. This small insignificant rock floating through time and the great void is our home, and we all are in this together. Nevertheless, it is up to each one of us to see beyond ourselves and find peace of mind waiting there, and at that point in time we will see that we are all one, and life flows on within us and without us.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:54 pm |
  36. BiggAge

    I couldn't agree more with the sentiment behind this wonderfully written article. As a Muslim who had converted just weeks before 9/11, I can not put in words the grief I not only felt for those who suffered, but for Islam as well. The loss for me was compounded by the events on that day.

    Thank you my brother for voicing how at least one other Muslim feels.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:54 pm |
  37. Ronald

    I think Muslims who advocate peace have hijacked the religion. It took over 300 years for the words of Jesus to be accepted by the Roman Empire; in less than 100 years Islam had spread from Arabia to France, because the latter was spread by the sword. If you are a Muslim, and are peaceful, God bless you. But don't then say you follow the words of Mohamed, who was as much a Conqueror as a Prophet.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:54 pm |
  38. Jennifer

    Absolutely beautiful!

    September 11, 2008 at 12:53 pm |
  39. George

    I think one of the worst tragedies of the last decade is that people around the globe, in the Middle East and in Washington, have had their love of God so twisted that they use it to commit evil.

    With peacelovers of all faiths coming together in the cause of peace, "Deep in my heart, I do believe we shall overcome some day."

    September 11, 2008 at 12:53 pm |
  40. Bala

    9/11 succeeded in bringing religious radicalism in spotlight mainly on account of America's status in the world. However, the radicalization is nothing new and nor are its sympathizers. 9/11 put a face to this monster in the West, but the monster did not grow up instantaneously. It is an inevitable product ever-increasing focus of Man towards satisfying individual goals with no consideration of its effect on his neighbors or his own long-term value system. Now that the monster of radical Islam (not that it is the only or even the biggest one) is alive and well and has a name, I think it would be naive to attribute his existence to the lunatics who brought about the tragedy on 9/11. The terror infrastructure has been decades in making and has been applied with mixed success for geographical gains or introduction of new forms of governments. If we are indeed to look for effective solutions, I think we should address the root causes behind this phenomenon. I think we will find the feeling of (socio-economic, psychological) injustice as both the main cause as well as the main product of terrorism. And for that reason (propelled by our own collective apathy and disbelief in a global welfare scheme) it is likely to keep growing and mutating to other forms of violent movements (see Maoists movement in India for example). Without an healthy infusion of "positive energy" in forms of radically different approach to living and thinking (along the lines you suggest perhaps), this monster has a good future ahead.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:52 pm |
  41. Anne

    Well written. Why did so few Muslims speak out against Bin Laden after 9/11? That may have helped the problem.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:52 pm |
  42. bob

    Equating bin Laden with Coulter and Cheney is interesting. That's pretty much the same level of thinking that goes on in madrassas.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:51 pm |
  43. Samira

    Nice Article. A sentiment which is deeply rooted in the Muslim community. One can see the bias after 9/11, as many Americans are hesitant to even vote for Barack Obama because they believe him to be Muslim, but since does religion dictates how good of a President a person would be? Blatant Ignorance!

    Another thing which a lot of Americans fail to understand is that Most Muslims are NOT ARAB. ARABS only signal a silent majority of Muslim. There are over 1 billion Muslims from different countries living on different continents throughout the world. It is quite ignorant in my regard to make a whole entire religion and its people to suffer along side of terrorists.

    Lastly, what would it do to anyone if Muslims come out and say that they do not support these terrorists? Will it change the behaviors of these terrorists? Why are people allowing terrorist to give them information when they should exercise their own intelligence and learn for themselves!

    September 11, 2008 at 12:51 pm |
  44. Religion - Humanity

    I could agree no more with Richard above, who said this..

    "Richard September 11th, 2008 12:12 pm ET

    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 12:50 pm |
  45. DaveNate

    Understand this, if you had written this piece in many other areas of the Muslim world your head could very likely end up on a stake outside of the town. So I applaud your message, but how about suggesting some peaceful muslim leaders speak this way in front of an unruly crowd of hate filled people who celebrate beheadings as righteous justice and kill people after seing a cartoon they don't like.

    Until Muslim religious leaders can stand up to their own hatemongers and argue about the Quran verses that are being recited every time a rusty serrated knife goes through someones throat without being called an infidel and a denyer of the infallible word of Mohammed, your words are but preaching to a choir with a gang of criminals outside of the church.

    I hope that one day the world will realize what this struggle really is, and that is the battle of the anti-christ (Mohammed) against believers in Jesus.

    Before any Muslims take insult at my label of your religious leader, understand that Muslims do not believe that Jesus is in fact God, and as such are "Anti Christ". No other religion in the world, including atheism and materialism, have pulled as many who seek the true God away from the love of Jesus as has the monotheistic religion of the Muslim Faith.

    I will never advocate or condone violence or wrongdoing against one of another faith, and that includes any wrongful violence perpetrated my own country, and I will never condemn the basic teachings of Islam which are very similar to those of Christianity. But I will stand firm by my belief that this is a war greater than that of just earthly nations and one that began many many years ago. The only righteous way to fight this war is to love they neighbor as thyself, and love thy Lord with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:50 pm |
  46. Jeremy

    Brilliantly written, extraordinarily poignant, and sure to be overlooked by those who need to hear it most.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:49 pm |
  47. Vince

    Great Article. I had thoughts during the presidential campaign about people suspecting Obama of being Muslim rather than Christian. The "Muslim" rumors still hang out there. But what bugged me is no one ever said... SO WHAT IF HE IS MUSLIM?!

    I'm United Methodist myself (not actively practicing) and it has nothing to do with how I work or how I would govern if I was a public official. I have plenty of patriotic Muslim friends. Obviously terrorism has put an unfotunate and unfair connotation with being "Muslim". As much as I've heard abotu sexism or racism in the campaign, people can talk about Muslims as if they were pure evil and nobody really complains. All because of the "terrorism" fears tend to justify it. Well unjustified fears have been used in the past to support atrocities, be it racism and segregation against black in the South. Japanese internment camps during WWII or even the Holocaust.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:49 pm |
  48. Religion - Humanity

    I liked your article. Thanks.

    If I recall right, Yaser Arafat lost his credibility afetr he was found to have directed his objection to Mid-East violence in English towards westerners ONLY and not to the culprits.

    What the author here says, really has to Originate from the Leaders of the Religion and from the Mid-East to reduce violence and hatred against the entire world by those bad guys.

    To me as simple as it is, "Any religion against humanity is NOT a religion" its devil and its evil. Buddhism may be seen different by many, but what Dalai Lama believes and speaks for takes the Lead. I people here do not believe in their any religion, denounce continiously and reject what is there in them, if found against humanity. Only then, the world can accept them. Never by threats and killings.

    Thank you.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:49 pm |
  49. Kevin

    The problem is; not enough Muslims speak out. Everyone in the world knows that Islamic terrorists "hi-jacked" an otherwise peaceful religion; but Islam is in itself, to blame. Mainly, Islam seems to think the world is against them, when in fact it's not. It must do it's own policing through whatever means it can. There is no Islamic pope for the masses to look up to, so someone has to set a tane, and not just be a "passive observers."

    Islam has a real big PROBLEM. "Fix It!"

    September 11, 2008 at 12:49 pm |
  50. JT in NY

    As a person who thinks that, other than the basic moral values they teach, religions are a little silly, I have said many times I wish Obama really was Muslim – and that it didn't matter.

    Great article. Keep fighting the good fight.

    September 11, 2008 at 12:47 pm |
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