Ten years on since 9/11

Ten years have passed since those fateful attacks on the twin towers in New York, America. The world is a very different place now from what it may have been had the attacks not happened. The US has led two costly wars since the attacks and we, the citizens of all the countries involved, have had to pay the price with our children, our money, and for the losers of those wars, their sovereignty.

Everyone can remember where they were when the attacks occured. I was in Iraq at the time and my cousin pointed at the TV and told me that planes had crashed into the twin towers. At first I didn’t believe it and thought it was like a clip from some Hollywood movie but the reality was much more horrifying and the consequences of the attacks would be far more resounding than I or anyone else could have ever imagined.

It was only when this incident had occurred that the ugly head of terrorism and islamaphobia became apparent to me and to the 1.5 Billion Muslims in the world. With one swift action, 1.5 Billion Muslims were painted with the same brush and labelled terrorists. The American media machine didn’t pause to breathe and continually spewed out hatred for Islam and the Muslims. Muslims became pariahs wherever they were, whoever they were, be they young or old, male or female, rich or poor, educated or not and school and work colleagues, people who we met every day, were friends with, knew us very well, met us with distrust having suddenly associated us with the murderers who flew those planes into the towers. Terrorism and all things associated with it was alien to us and our religion but somehow we were now made associates of a crime we had nothing to do with.

The 9/11 attacks were a wakeup call to Muslims across the world we had had our eyes closed to the enemies in our midst. Somehow, a disease had spread within our social fabric and we had not noticed it till now, and when we did take notice, we did not understand it until we began to pay the price for our ignorance. These “terrorists” began to kill Muslims. It started off with individual suicide bombings and car bombings in public places in Afghanistan, but they were attacking Afghani citizens, including women and children, not the occupier. Then when the Americans manufactured a case for war on Iraq, they grew more dastardly, and the terrorists started to kidnap, rape, torture, steal from and massacre anyone they could lay their hands on. Tribal leaders who had initially welcomed these terrorists in because they saw them as freedom fighters against the American occupation soon realised their grave mistake when they themselves and their people became the targets and were being killed off in droves as the power-mad terrorists clambered for the authority and governance of their hosts. They eventually realised that terrorists are not just the enemies of America, or the West in general, but they were enemies of Islam and the Muslims and anybody who didn’t believe in what they believed.

It seems like a blink of an eye but ten years has now passed. Millions have lost their lives most of them innocent Muslims, no thanks to the callous acts of a few who thought themselves devout Muslims and the ensuing American war machine and its associates. Let us never forget that we are in this situation because of a few people who claimed to be devout Muslims yet broke all the rules and murdered innocent people, including innocent Muslims. Today they will be commemorating and paying tribute to the 3000 innocent men and women who lost their lives at the towers in America, but who will be holding a memorial for the hundreds of thousands of non-American victims of global terrorism and American wars after that? Let us never forget the innocent victims of their crimes, the 3000 who died at the towers, the Afghani and Iraqi civilians, and the people who have been attacked around the world in such places as Pakistan, India, Spain and the UK. Please recite a prayer for our fellow deceased brethren, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.