SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
THE Muslim Story and
A strategy for Coping
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
Draft document produced in the immediate
aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001
Facing Anti-Muslim Prejudice
A DARK DAY
The dark day of September 11, 2001 left a gaping hole in the heart of humanity. Whoever may have been the real perpetrator of this heinous crime, the finger of blame is left pointing in the direction of Muslims.
No one seems to care about the fact that at the moment there is no hard evidence linking Muslims to this crime. Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain says he is convinced. Secretary of State, Collin Powell, says the government has “good information.”
President Parvez Musharraf of Pakistan says he is finally convinced of the merit of the case. But Musharraf had to accept an offer made to him by the United States he could not refuse. From the beginning, he found himself between a rock and a hard place. And Blair is an accuser and a prosecutor and a committed activist in this case.
And when it comes to killing thousands of civilians in retaliatory bombings and destabilizing entire societies and states along the way or in the aftermath, “good information” may not be good enough.
This is not to say the U.S.A. and Britain do not have a case. They very well may, and it could even be a persuasive, if not entirely a convincing case. But the important thing is to make that case to the American public - and to the world at large.
Terrorists operate in the shadows. They have the luxury of being able to lie, dissemble and deceive. Civilized people must work in broad daylight. They must not only speak the truth and do justice, but must also appear to be doing so.
For, it is on such a clear-cut moral foundation that the edifice of national and international law ultimately rests. Force is most effective when it proceeds from a strong moral foundation and not when it acts as a substitute for it.
So, it is fair to say that evidence against Muslims as prime suspects in the dark deeds of September 11 is somewhat shaky. And there are those in America, Britain and elsewhere who seem to recognize that.
But right now, the main concern in many sections of American and British policy circles, media and public opinion does not appear to be about evidence, or even about the normal requirements of the evidentiary process.
Right now, the focus seems to be more on crime and punishment and on revenge and retribution - it does not seem to matter much on or against whom. Right now, there seems to be an overwhelming urge on the part of many to see things starkly in black and white: a terrible act has been committed; Muslims appear to be the actors; so let us go and get them.
What most people - including many Muslims - don't seem to realize is the simple fact that Muslims are the ones who have emerged as the clearest and the most stark losers and victims in this terrible tragedy - without a single redeeming fact or feature in their favour.
No matter how one looks at it, American losses resulting from this tragedy are staggering. New York City lost hundreds of police officers and fire fighters.
In a single day of death and destruction, close to 7000 people died in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.
Among the dead were Americans, British, Bangladeshi, Indian, German and others. Among the dead also were hundreds of Muslims.
Over 60 percent of Americans cried when they saw fiery death rain down on innocent people. Among those who cried were Hindus, Jews, Christians, Muslims, White, Black, Brown and others - adults as well as children, men as well as women.
The tragedy brought life in America virtually to a standstill. Economy took a nosedive. People went into shock.
All civilian aircraft were grounded and jet fighters with orders to shoot took over the skies. By any measure, the damage to American economy, society, security and prestige was unprecedented.
Yet, the fact is that, in some ways, Muslims are the biggest losers and the sorriest victims of this catastrophe.