Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

September 17, 2006

One Arab’s Apology

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:43 am

Emilio Karim Dabul writes in the New York Post:

September 12, 2006 – WELL, here it is, five years late, but here just the same: an apology from an Arab-American for 9/11. No, I didn’t help organize the killers or contribute in any way to their terrible cause. However, I was one of millions of Arab-Americans who did the unspeakable on 9/11: nothing.

The only time I raised my voice in protest against these men who killed thousands of innocents in the name of Allah was behind closed doors, among the safety of friends and family. I did at one point write a very vitriolic essay condemning their actions, but fear of becoming another Salman Rushdie kept me from ever trying to publish it.

Those of us who wondered why all those “religion of peace” Muslims didn’t speak out — well, here’s our answer: The are afraid of all those non-peaceful Muslims, just as we are. The difference is, they acknowledge that there actually are non-peaceful Muslims.

Well, I’m sick of saying the truth only in private – that Arabs around the world, including Arab-Americans like myself, need to start holding our own culture accountable for the insane,
violent actions that our extremists have perpetrated on the world at large.

Yes, our extremists and our culture.

Every single 9/11 hijacker was Arab and a Muslim. The apologists (including President Bush) tried to reassure us that 9/11 had nothing to do with Islam, but was a twisting of a great and noble religion. With all due respect, read the Koran, Mr. President. There’s enough there for someone of extreme tendencies to find their way to a global jihad.

I’ve always thought there was something quite odd about President Bush’s protestations that Islam was a “relgion of peace” and the the 9/11 hijackers had distorted “a great religion.” Obviously, President Bush meant to say merely that he wasn’t going to war against Muslims as such, just against terrorists and murderers who in this particular case happen to be Muslims. But the way he said it — declaring plainly what Islam is (“a religion of peace”) and which strain of it is legitimate Islam (the peaceful one) — it seems like he is presenting himself as some sort of authority on Islam; perhaps even one who can speak for Islam. Clearly, he is neither. Bush is a Methodist, not a Muslim — and I imagine he wouldn’t appreciate Osama Bin Ladin telling him what true Methodism is any more than Osama appreciated Bush telling him what true Islam is. The question of whether Islam is a “religion of peace” or a religion of constant armed jihad against non-Muslims is a question that has to be resolved by Muslims, not Methodists (or Baptists or Jews or Catholics or secular humanists…). As Dabul puts it,

The men who killed 3,000 of our citizens on 9/11 in all likelihood died saying prayers to Allah, and that by itself is one of the most horrific things to me about that day.

And, while my grandparents never waged a jihad, their attitudes toward Jews weren’t that much different than Mohammed Atta’s. No, they didn’t support the Holocaust, but they did believe that Jews were trouble in many different ways, and those sorts of beliefs were passed on to me before I’d ever actually met a Jew.

I’m sorry for that, for ever believing that anything that my grandparents or other relatives had to say about Jews or Israel, for that matter, had any real resemblance to truth. It took me years to realize that I’d been conned into believing the generalizations and stereotypes that millions around the Arab world buy into: that Jews, America and Israel are our main problem.

One look at the average Arab regime should alert us to the fact that the problem, dear Achmed, lies not overseas or next door in Tel Aviv, but in the brutal, corrupt despots that we have bred from country to country in the Mideast, across the span of history. …

Five years after that awful day, it’s time for all Arab-Americans, and Arabs around the world, to protest against Islamic fascism, to raise our voices – and, where necessary, our arms – against these tyrants until their plague of terror has been driven from the face of the earth forever.

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