Okay, so I think most of us know about the whole NYC-Ground-Zero-Mosque-Debate. Here’s a quick video on the whole deal (with YM alumni representing, mashaAllah!)
That being said, I need to rant. Yes, this proposed mosque is supposed to be 2 blocks away from Ground Zero. But in NYC, aren’t like a million things within a couple feet of each other? Is the whole area around Ground Zero going to be quarantined from any development?
All the protestors specifically against the Mosque and ‘Muslims’… subhanAllah I don’t understand. Do you think 9/11 didn’t happen to Muslims? That we were tucked away in some corner? That Muslims didn’t die in the WTC? On those planes? At the pentagon? That Muslims still are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan? Ask any Muslim living in the West – even those in the East – and they can pinpoint exactly what they were doing on 9/11.
I still remember everything about that day. Everything about it. Walking into my grade 5 classroom. My teacher, Mr. Lee (gosh, I remember his name too!) turning on the TV after talking to another teacher. Seeing this grainy video (it was early morning – 9 something am) with a plane going towards a building and disappearing. Being confused. Mr. Lee telling us not to worry. Walking to music and seeing our music teacher sobbing, talking in a phone. (Her son was supposed to be on one of those planes… alhamdulillah he wasn’t but at that time, she didn’t know). The whole surreal daze of the day. Going home to an extremely worried mother – because my Dad was in D.C., at a conference, and his hotel was 2 blocks away from the Pentagon. (He ended up coming home on a 13-some hour bus ride with his colleagues).
You know what? It made my heart drop. My stomach clench. My throat close. Just as much as any other person. Those were people who died, who were murdered, regardless of their race, religion, or ethnicity, and as a fellow person, my heart went out to their families. Every year on 9/11, I still can’t help but get teary. Even today, when I think about it, my throat gets a lump in it. I can’t erase those images from my mind – the ones of people jumping out a burning building, a passenger jet hitting a building, the firefighters and police officers covered in soot.
It bothers me so much that people are trying to seperate 9/11 from Muslims. After the families who lost a loved one (which include Muslims!), I think Muslims are the most affected. The racism. The increased scrutiny. 2 wars (and counting?). The denial of a heart, feelings, ability to be an American/Canadian/[insert] citizen just as much as anyone else. I don’t need to go back to where I came from because this is my home.
We’ve become this ‘other’ – don’t associate or talk to them. Just as if a White Anglo-Saxon man commits a crime, we should hate on all White Anglo-Saxons, right? Of course not. So if these ‘Muslims’ allegedly committed these crimes, how does that paint all Muslims with the same brush? People are imperfect. We know that. We live by that. I get those families are still grieving and may not (ever) have any real sense of closure. But just for a second, can you imagine being Muslim? An American, who was born and raised in this country, who may have been here for generations, who loves their country, who is a practicing Muslim, who just wants some peace and respect? There seems to be no end for them either – no closure, no peace. The grief is there because they didn’t want this to happen – they felt for all their fellow citizens, whether white or black, yellow or brown, who perished. And yet, they are almost always accused of somehow wanting this, being a perpetrator, making this happen.
SubhanAllah. Can you talk about torn identities? And seriously, by now, we should know Islam’s stance on this. Islam is totally against the killing of innocent people, of taking the law into your own hands. People who commit crimes need to be judged for what they did – not necessarily who they are religiously. I’m not going to say for people to stay away from white men because this one white man raped a woman. That’s ridiculous because not all white men are the same, just as not all Jews, Christians, Budhists, Muslims, Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Europeans etc. are the same.
Oh, and about being ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ Are all Muslims guilty? Come on, for being told we live in the 21st century and being so ‘modern’ and ‘up-to-date,’ can we not apply that to our perspectives as well? Stop telling Muslims to act like they live in this century if you yourself do not. Random brothers and sisters can be taken away and arrested, held without bail or charges, and no one says a word. What crime did they commit? SubhanAllah.
I could go on and on but I don’t think it would help. I can’t change the perspective and thinking of every person – it’s not what I’m here for. All I can do is make du’aa to Al Jabbar to heal the hearts of those who lost loved ones on 9/11, those who are oppressed and discrminated against, those who are suffering through a war, those who don’t know where their loved ones are, those who have been born on that day and after and all their life, all they’ve seen is this crazy mess. May Al ‘Azeez, Al Haqq grant us the justice and peace we so badly desire. Ameen.