When a country is attacked, regardless of its stature, the best and most efficient way to make it through a devastating period is by having its citizens stick together and support each other. It has been called to my attention that a number of students of the Islamic faith or descendants of Islamic countries are being taunted during this aftermath. This is unacceptable. This same mistake was made soon after Pearl harbor where perfectly innocent, hardworking Japanese people were incarcerated in concentration camps based on the assumption that since they were of Japanese descent, they undoubtedly sided with the Japanese.
First and foremost, we are jumping to conclusions. America has put itself in a bad light with quite a few countries, and although these countries are mainly concentrated in the Middle East, it is not right to immediately assume they were the culprits of this heinous act. But let's assume that it was Osama bin Laden. Even under these circumstances, it is ridiculous to believe that just because bin Laden, a single person, believes in cleansing all Americans from this earth, that all other persons of the same faith feel the same way. The distinction has to be made between what bin Laden is and what a true Muslim is. A true Muslim is not a fanatic'rather, the religion preaches peace. Christianity is much the same way, but, as all religions do, it also has its fanatics. The Crusades were excellent examples of how 'religious or ethnic cleansing' in the name of God can get completely out of hand.
Although the Crusades happened many centuries ago, they cannot be dismissed as acts and thoughts of the general public. Those were also acts of fanaticism that lead to the deaths of many people; the World Trade Center crime is another such act; hence, it does not represent the views of the Muslims residing among us today or even the Muslims residing in Middle Eastern countries.
Neither does this act represent the views of Afghanistan, which is 95 percent under Taliban rule and therefore has no say in any politics. Most of its citizens are living in fear. Bombing Afghanistan will do nothing. Bin Laden will escape and thousands of innocent people will die just as they did on Tuesday. Bin Laden was bent on exacting revenge on Americans for our stance on the Israel-Palestine issue. He feels, and in some ways rightfully so, that we are imposing ourselves too much and throwing bombs at the Palestinians whenever we see fit. And, as we all found out so terribly, bombs cannot distinguish between civilian and military personnel. The bombs we dropped all over the place also claimed the lives of many Middle Eastern human beings, and these terrible feelings of despair and shock we are feeling today are an everyday occurrence for most of those people living in the Middle East. So naturally, the Palestinians were pleased to see America getting a 'taste of its own medicine,' so to speak.
But this feeling did not manifest itself in the many Palestinians and Muslims living in the United States. The Palestinians you saw dancing and celebrating on television do not represent the Muslims you see here in America who have claimed this place as their home and would lay down their lives for it. Although I am Indian, I know a lot about the Islamic faith and can say with utmost assurance that the religion does not advocate terrorism in the least. If anything, Allah would be ashamed of bin Laden and his behavior.
All of us'Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christians and the whole of America'lost something Tuesday, and no group felt it any more or less than the next. In the end, we are all Americans. President Bush said that other countries are jealous because America is a beacon of freedom. But America is also a beacon of tolerance, and by turning against each other and pointing fingers nothing but more anger and despair can arise. We have to stand united against this. We all want to know who the culprit is, but just because we want someone to blame does not mean we can scapegoat an entire community. We are all in this together; we all have to get out of this together. Whoever did this wants America to break down. Don't let them get what they want.