Now that the initial shock of Tuesdays events have passed, we must ask ourselves what to do now. The outpouring of support around the world has been amazing. Stories of the unity and desire to help among Americans who would not normally give each other the time of day are encouraging. In Russia, people gathered outside the American Embassy with candles to show their sorrow and support for America. Many of the leaders of the world have cried out and placed their support behind America. I admire the leaders of America, who have not taken any rash action. Many bigoted and angry people in America have cried out for all out war on Afghanistan, even before the identities or nationalities of the perpetrators of this act where known. The short term solution to terrorism may well be a military one, but in the end, only education and understanding will put a stop to terrorism which depends on misunderstanding and misinformation to survive.
A good friend of mine is from Afghanistan, and she spent the past two days holed up in her house because of the uneducated bigots who attacked ethnic Arabs in the aftermath of the tragedy. Along a road in Northern Virginia where a mosque is to be built to serve the ever growing number of Muslims who live here (Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world!) a billboard marking the site was marred by graffiti Wednesday morning, saying “Fuck you!” The individual, or individuals who wrote that have shown themselves to be no better than those who fan the flame of hate in the hearts of the terrorist who hijacked the planes Tuesday. America is supposed to be better than that. These people came to America to live because they wanted to be a part of it.
It is unfortunate that when we think of terrorist we think of an Arabian man with a turban on his head and a flaming Molotov in his hand screaming about America, the ‘Great Satan.’ It is unfortunate because we identify this man as being a Muslim, and nothing else. Terrorism is not so one sided. For years catholics and protestant alike have been blowing each other up in Ireland and England over a 400 year old dispute. Timothy McVeigh was a corn feed white American, and till Tuesday he was the most successful terrorist in American history. The reason many Arabs in the middle east do not like America is not religious it is political, they believe it is wrong of us to support Israel. The Muslim faith expressly forbids violence against the young, the old, women, and the infirmed; against any innocents. Terrorism is a few misguided people of all religions and all nationalities, it is not the product of any one society, religious of otherwise, and hate and violence will only make it worse.