9/11 EVOKES PAINFUL MEMORIES FOR U.S. MUSLIM
By Danette Zaghari-Mask
[Danette Zaghari-Mask is executive director of the Orlando chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Orlando). CAIR is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. For a photo, see: http://www.cair.com/Chapters.aspx#Orlando ]
On the anniversary of 9/11, the memory of those once full of life evoke painful thoughts. I cringe at the panic that they must have endured, and join the mourning of fellow Americans who lost loved ones.
Even if we did not know someone directly effected by the tragedy, we know where we were when the towers fell or when the Pentagon was hit.
I delivered my first child 13 days after 9/11. In the days leading up to his birth, I wept.
I wept as a human, as an American and as a Muslim sickened by the reports of militants who claimed “victory” under the banner of Islam.
I gave birth and then cried as a mother for having endured, only to bring a new life into such a troubled world.
Since that time, opportunities have arisen to speak to my fellow Americans about Islam and Muslims. I, like millions of Muslims across the world, stood in solidarity against terrorism and a firm conviction that Islam, by its very definition, rejects terrorism.
Islam is an Arabic word that translates as “peace through submission to God.”
Those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks did not discriminate between people of different faiths; rather, they discriminated against every person who did not submit to their twisted ideology.
The perpetrators of 9/11, and those with an agenda to silence the moderate Muslim majority, want us all to believe that Islam itself is the instigator of terror. If we can defeat those ideas in our own minds, we can defeat the mesmerizing effect of those who seek interfaith division and discord.
There are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims in the world who overwhelmingly desire peace and look to Islam for inspiration.
I am teaching my son the Quran, the Muslim holy book. He is learning that if someone kills another it is “as though he has slain all mankind, and he who saved one life should be regarded as though he has saved the lives of all mankind” (5:32).
He is learning the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad: “The best jihad is saying a word of truth in the court of an unjust ruler” and a believer is one “in whom all of mankind has a sanctuary for its life and property.”
Today, I have more optimism and more reasons to be hopeful than six years ago.
My son celebrated his birthday early this year with contagious courage and spirit. His smile is so wide I think sometimes it will touch the creases of his brown eyes.
He and all of our children are, after all, the possibility beyond the borderline that creates “us” and “them.” The memory of 9/11 motivates me to raise my son to achieve his full potential.
Our children are seeds of peace and, with the right nurturing, future friends of peace.