What a difference a decade can make!
I remember seeing a patient with a gangrenous foot a few hours after the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th 2001, trying to convince him that an amputation would save his life. As the events of the terror attacks unfolded, I as an American Muslim felt torn and divided: The American in me felt angry, sad, and depressed (even though my anger and sadness would do no one any good) and the Muslim in me felt embarrassed, hurt, and molested (even though no formal connection of the terrorists with Islam had been established yet).
On the contrary, the news of Bin Laden’s death last night aroused a unified reaction: justice.
Or perhaps “justice” was at the pinnacle of many other emotions lurking beneath the surface.
What I am interested in knowing though, is the one-word reaction of my fellow American Muslim leaders as this is the moment for them to set the record straight. Ten years ago, many Muslim leaders were a bit calculated in their condemnation of the terror attacks (at least in the beginning). Their statements were littered with ifs, ands and buts. They were analyzing before empathizing, warning before mourning, and deflecting before reflecting.
What a God sent opportunity is this for them to redeem themselves!
How and when the same Muslim American leaders (who rationalized 9/11) will redeem themselves is up to them. But 9/11/2001 changed me forever. Since then I became more intensely involved with helping Muslim American youth to form a strong identity. Both, as an American and as a Muslim. I had the honor to serve as the President of MKA USA, the leading Muslim youth group in America, from 2006-10.
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