SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 – THE Muslim Story and A strategy for Coping – Part One

Nov 5, 2001

If it were to happen – as it is already beginning to happen in practice – it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out who the main targets of the projected curtailment of rights and liberties will be. It will overwhelmingly be Muslims.

The government is already asking college campuses to open up student files for snooping – this includes students with Muslim-sounding names who have never known a home other than America.

But, for Muslims, the tragedy is a much greater one, even on this front. For, so far as Muslims are concerned, liberty is not a personal luxury or political expedient. It is the very cornerstone of their creed. It is the very foundation on which the superstructure of Islam is built.

From this point of view, Patrick Henry, the famous Virginian, may have been echoing Islam when he cried out in the late 18th century: “Give me liberty or give me death!”

In the aftermath of the September 11 tragedy, the threat of loss of life as well as of liberty on a global scale hangs over the heads of Muslims like a Democlean sword. To be a Muslim is to be a suspect by definition – no one knows of what specific crime.

And the better Muslim you are, and the more passionately you are attached to your din (religion or way of life), and the more Muslim you look, the more likely you may be of being a suspect.

And finally, no one even seems to know or care that not one or ten or one hundred but several hundred Muslims died in the World Trade Centre on that black Tuesday – September 11. One estimate puts the number of Muslim dead in the World Trade Centre tragedy from 800 to 1000.


Everyone knows how uncommon common sense can be. We also know that analytical reasoning and critical thinking are no more a forte of the general American public than world affairs.

So, let us not expect too many people to ask if a plot of this magnitude, sophistication and “brilliant planning and execution” – as vouched for by high government officials – could have been the handiwork of a lone fugitive in the caves of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan.

No matter how much money he may be said to have at his disposal and no matter how many dedicated and loyal followers he may have.

For, the September 11 operation gives every indication of being the handiwork of the most elite, resourceful, well-trained and sophisticated among state intelligence machines in the world – regardless of its identity or affiliation.

It bespeaks of a wealth of resources, personnel, training, experience, access to highly classified government codes, contacts, coordination and insight into the workings of the American society, system and institutions.

These can hardly be within the capability of a band of foreign individuals whose stay in America was of questionable duration, unless each one of them was Superman or James Bond.

Let us not expect anyone to lose any sleep over the reported conduct of these “fundamentalist” Muslim fanatics the night before the attack: getting drunk in bars, provoking bar brawls over unpaid bills and planting hundreds of dollars in the skimpy garments of lap dancers in strip bars.

What a trusted and true Islamic way they chose of preparing themselves for “martyrdom” and for meeting their lord the next morning! The picture does not square with the fundamentalist Muslim fanatic profile.


No, let us not expect anyone to ask: For what or whom are the Muslims mourning? For, the Muslims are clearly in shock and in mourning, like the rest of the Americans – and like much of the rest of the world.

Are the Muslims mourning for the 7000 human lives that were lost so brutally and mercilessly right in front of their eyes, on television? Are they mourning for humanity?

Are the Muslims mourning for the death of their fellow-Americans and for the destruction of tens of billions of dollars of their national treasure?

Are they mourning the loss of jobs for hundreds of thousands of their fellow-citizens and for the destruction of some of their most magnificent national monuments like the twin towers of the World Trade Centre?

Or, are the Muslims mourning the threat to their own jobs, life, property, security, dignity, honour and civil liberties right here in America and the West – and all over the world?

Let us, therefore, not expect anyone to ask any of these questions. Not now anyway.

Yet, there is one set of questions, someone, somewhere is bound to ask someday about the alleged perpetrators and about the horrible deed they perpetrated on that dark day in New York City, in Washington, D.C. and in the state of Pennsylvania.

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