A day of infamy, tragedy and destruction, the comfortable and complacent world we inhabited changed, for everyone. Muslims in America went from being an odd little group, to being seen as dangerous and deadly.
This forced us all to confront the ‘otherness’ of our religion, the latent fears that surfaced with a vengeance and an abject horror at what those purporting to be ‘Muslim’ did.
In one day, we became monstrous, threatening, even as we ourselves could not understand how and why 9/11 happened. The ensuing chaos allowed the forces that divide to flourish, leading the world to enter an infinite war of bloodshed and loss, with no clear end in sight to the brutal incarcerations that ensued. It was heart-breaking and bleak.
But, in reflecting the world of twisted irony we now inhabit, it took a racist, xenophobic, anti-semitic white nationalist-leaning president to unite disparate forces to protest and clamour on behalf of Muslims, a movement that overwhelmingly reaffirmed our presence and right to be in America and to be American.
That, for me, was an abject rejection and repudiation of all that sought to promote violence, terror and hate, in the name of religion, politics or race. We will not relinquish our humanity in the face of wretched, de-humanizing characterizations, nor will we accept a normalizing of hate.
Most importantly, we have not lost the civilizing ideals of democracy, tolerance, compassion, nor do we intend to, none of us. On this extremely sad anniversary, we remember those who suffered on 9/11, and mourn those who suffer still, the many casualties of wars they had no part in causing.
Scheherazade Ishoof Khan
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