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Author Topic: 9/11 - 10th year anniversary thoughts & memories  (Read 3839 times)
BrKhalid
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« on: Sep 06, 2011 07:17 AM »


Asalaamu Alaikum bro

So with the 9/11 anniversary coming up, I wondered how things have changed for us as individuals since that day ten years ago.


What were you doing that day?

How has life changed?

Are you more identifiable as a Muslim now compared to then?

How has your society been influenced by the events back then?

Are things better or worse now?


Reflections, thoughts, opinions welcome but no rehashing of conspiracy theories please since that's a banned topic our Admin tells us!

Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 08, 2011 05:47 AM »

Here's one reflection, iA i'll add mine in a bit...


9/11 Plus 10 by  Zeba Iqbal


I was walking west through Midtown Manhattan’s urban canyons and admiring the cloudless September day when I met a small, disparate group of distressed pedestrians looking skyward. They told me a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. It was such a clear day, but could it have been an accident?

Minutes later when I came to Madison Avenue, I found people lining both the sidewalks. They were all looking downtown at the flames and smoke billowing from the North Tower. By that time a second plane had hit the South Tower. It was clear that this was no accident.

At the office, we pieced together information from the radio, Internet, and frantic phone calls. Within minutes we knew the planes were hijacked commercial passenger planes, and that New York was not the only target. Needless to say, the gravity and uncertainty of the situation multiplied in minutes.

As we hurriedly accounted for off-site colleagues, on-site colleagues meandered and slowly made their way to a partner’s office. We were just about assembled when a colleague screamed and covered her face. The South Tower crumbled before our unbelieving eyes.

Within minutes, we all left the office. Although we left without the official word from management, we didn’t leave without sticking post-its on our doors with contact information for stranded colleagues.

My colleague and I walked back to my apartment silently with throngs of other stunned New Yorkers, all trying to make sense of the situation. When we got home, my doorman told me the North Tower had collapsed too.

I was very lucky that day. I got home without a scratch and had no trouble reaching my family and friends.

The days that followed were hard. The city was silent, flights were grounded, and even taxi drivers weren’t honking. We were numb, yet anxious; and our guard was down, at least with each other. Total strangers asked after, and assisted each other in neighborhood bodegas, office hallways, and apartment lobbies alike.

My friends asked me to host a gathering at my apartment the Sunday after 9/11. I agreed. I was heavy-hearted and welcomed the opportunity to be with friends. We soon realized the only way to comfort each other and to channel our deep sadness was to serve the needs of our fellow Americans. We had to act — and quickly. We had to assist New Yorkers, many of whom, like us, were trying to make sense of this senseless tragedy.

My 9/11 story isn’t unique. I am sure you have heard similar ones before. I was one of many Americans who desperately wanted to help in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, as evidenced by the fact that the blood banks were full, and Americans contributed an unprecedented $2.2 billion towards assistance and victim relief.

It’s true. I am just an average American who responded to the tragedy of 9/11 by getting involved in my community.

Except for one thing. I am also Muslim.

Does the fact that I am Muslim change your view of me in any way? I hope it doesn’t, but I know that the statistics are not in my favor www.publicreligion.org/research/?id=435).

The assistance organization we started was called Muslims Against Terrorism (bit.ly/p1n5wE). For almost two years after 9/11, we worked with the Auburn Seminary and the Tanenbaum Center among others. The hijackers, by brutally killing innocents, defaced our religion. They were not Muslims and their actions were not in accordance with Islam. We said this again and again in the two years post-9/11. We knew we had to tell people this, and that we had to educate about Islam and Muslims in the media, schools, community centers, corporations, churches, and synagogues.

We weren’t theologians. We were corporate, non-profit and government professionals who wanted to help America heal post-9/11. Our voice as American Muslims was needed. It still is.

I took a break after Muslims Against Terrorism disbanded in 2003 and became involved with the American Muslim community again in 2007. I accepted a national role with CAMP (Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals — www.camp-online.org).

I got involved again because I believed that six years after 9/11, the American Muslim community had to be proactive and hopeful. I felt that a positive message would resonate with Gen X and Gen Y Muslim Americans, particularly young professionals, and would encourage them to get involved. Largely, it has worked out that way.

We can only move forward with vision and purpose, and that is always my goal, but the American Muslim community still faces significant challenges ten years after 9/11 that hold us back. Ask any American Muslim advocate, activist, or community organizer about the ground reality. They will tell you just how hard the last 10 years have been. To summarize, American Muslims’ civil rights and civil liberties are being breached every day ( http://aje.me/nLKA37); Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate is real (bit.ly/qYGaXI); and the anti-Sharia movement is too (bit.ly/gVmUh0).

We are inching forward, though. Within the American Muslim community, I credit social media, increased philanthropic funding, and programs like AMCLI (American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute — www.usc.edu/amcli). Better communication platforms and less dependence on private donations are helping our organizations become stronger and more professional. Simultaneously more American Muslims are coming into their own and forming trusting, collaborative networks. Outside the community, I credit our supporters. Most recently, Governor Christie was outspoken in his support of superior court judge appointee Sohail Mohammed against “the crazies.” ( http://www.brennancenter.org/blog/archives/chris_christie_calls_out_the_crazies/)

But we do need your help. As this sad day of remembrance approaches, and we move into the second decade of trying to make sense of this senseless tragedy, I have a sincere request from one American to another. Please seek out stories about American Muslims through friends, in print, on film, and on stage. We need you as our allies and friends more than ever before.

http://princetoninfo.com/index.php?option=com_us1more&Itemid=6&key=9-7-11iqbal
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 08, 2011 06:56 PM »

Another great view...



My Take: Muslims should stop apologizing for 9/11

Editor’s note: Aman Ali is a New York-based writer, stand-up comedian and the co-creator of 30 Mosques in 30 Days, a Ramadan road trip across America.

By Aman Ali, Special to CNN


New York (CNN) – As a Muslim, I’m sick of people asking me how I feel about 9/11. What do you want me to say, seriously?

Do you want me to say, “It was a great plan, mwahahaha!” before I fly off on a magic carpet?

I was born and raised in this country and was just as shocked as everyone else to learn there were people on this earth so vile as to commit such a horrific attack - or to even think about doing it.

But I didn’t do it. Neither did 99.999999999 percent of the roughly 1.5 billion people in the world who also call themselves Muslims. So why should I or any other Muslim apologize for what happened?

Nickleback is planning on releasing another album. Should I ask white people to apologize for that?

Just like Christianity and Judaism, Islam unequivocally condemns terrorism. Don’t take it from me, though. Grab a copy of the Quran from a library and find out for yourself.

Don’t rely on some cherry-picked crackpot interpretation of the Muslim holy book that you read on some Islamophobic hack’s poorly designed website. Speaking of which, Islamophobes need to put down the Quran and pick up a book on HTML programming and Flash.

When 9/11 happened, I can understand why the average person would want to know what Muslims actually believe. After all, the terrorists claimed they were acting in the name of Islam.

That’s why hundreds of Islamic organizations around the globe condemned the attacks and told the truth about how Islam doesn’t condone terrorism whatsoever.

But that was 10 years ago. Why are mainstream American Islamic groups like the Islamic Society of North America, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council still condemning the attacks and just about any other act of terrorism that pops up in the news?

Weren’t we clear before how we feel about terrorism? If people didn’t understand us for the past 10 years, what makes Muslims think they’re going to understand us now?

If I have to explain 10 times to my little brother how to operate the toaster in my apartment, that’s not my fault because of inadequate messaging. It’s my brother’s fault that he’s dumb.

It’s ridiculous for Muslims to continuously condemn and apologize for stuff when every religion has their fair share of crazies.

Imagine you’re in the habit of partying with a group of friends. And every party you go to, there's a friend in your crew that spills grape juice on the carpet - the really awesome kind of grape juice that’s in the fancy wine bottles (we Muslims don’t drink alcohol but we still can party like ballers).

How would you feel if people stopped inviting you to their parties because your one friend kept spilling grape juice? That's how I feel. I'm really annoyed I have to keep apologizing or condemning Muslim extremists that keep spilling their grape juice of hate on the world.

Dictionary.com defines the word apologize as “to offer an apology or excuse for some fault insult, failure, or injury.”

When 9/11 happened, I was 16 years old and playing Tetris during English class on my TI-83 calculator. I’ll apologize for not paying attention to Mrs. Fulton’s lecture at my high school in Gahanna, Ohio, but that’s about it.

Just because people hundreds of miles away claimed they were Muslim and committed a terrible act doesn’t mean I should apologize for it.

Mike Tyson started sucking really bad in the boxing ring after he converted to Islam. Should I apologize for that? Oh, and I think I saw a few Muslim-sounding names in the production credits for the movie “Green Lantern.” I guess I should apologize for that, too.

I’m not trying to be insensitive about 9/11. Of course my prayers and sentiments are with anyone affected by the tragedy. The same goes for any act of terrorism.

But I’m not going to apologize or condemn them because I don’t need to prove my patriotism with some kind of McCarthyite litmus test. The Pew Research Center released a study last week that found that Muslim Americans are far more pleased with how things are going in the United States (56%) than is the general public (23%).

That finding is not going to provoke me to question the general public’s patriotism. But please stop questioning ours.

The 9/11 attacks were a terrible tragedy that changed all of our lives. There’s no way we can ever forget what happened.

But what we Muslims can do is advance the conversation, rather than repeating the same old condemnations. Condemnations and apologies are like an out of style fashion trend, the parachute pants and neon hair scrunchies of civil discourse.

What Muslims need is an extreme makeover. Now that’s some extremism I can get behind.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Aman Ali.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/07/my-take-muslims-should-stop-apologizing-about-911/
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 08, 2011 11:14 PM »

Asalaamu  Alaikum bro

I am not sure where Sr Halima's reply went but everyone of us can tell a story relating to 9/11 (or 7/7 in the UK).

The event will probably go down as the defining moment of a generation as was the case with the JFK assassination (everybody remembers where they were on 9/11).

One interesting by product for me is how those events have made us (ordinary day to day Muslims) much more visible where as before we could pretty much stay hidden in the background.

In a sense, 9/11 'outed' us and forced us to really look into our religion in order to comprehend what it meant to be a Muslim, irrespective of whether one was practicing or not.


Our Imam recalled his own experience with a Jewish doctor he had been seeing and giving dawah to. In the days after 9/11, he was fearing the worse but was amazed when he discovered that the same doctor was actually telling friends  and family that real Muslims could never be responsible for such an outrage based on the discussions they had had about Islam.


Ultimately, no matter what the conditions or circumstances, those of us living amongst non Muslims have a duty to propagate and disseminate the true message of Islam far and wide and in a strange way those tragic events of 9/11 may actually help us in doing that over the longer term.


And Allah knows best.

Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 09, 2011 09:52 PM »



Muslim Lena Beck, foreground, joins in a candlelight vigil at McKenzie Park in Panama City, Fla., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2001, to remember those killed in Tuesday's terrorist attacks in Washington and New York. (AP Photo/The News Herald, Terry Barner)


Salam,

On September 11th, 2001 I wasn't working but had gotten up early to go to an appointment. I was planning later that month to go overseas to study. As I got ready I switched on the Madina and someone had posted the initial news. I wonder if someone can link to the thread?? And one of the brother's wrote 'this is the end of islam in america'. I really thought he was exaggerating and this would be like other things that happened like the lockerbee scotland thing or whatever else. Little did I know it would totally change...everything.

The next day I attended a candlelight vigil at my university and already we were getting looks and stares. I think right after 9/11 emotions ran extremely high, the president and Americans decided to take the path of emotionalism, patriotism and revenge. They could have chosen a different way to respond to the tragedy. We've seen the Arab Spring, we know the last decade could have been different.  I think history will judge them harshly and has already, but it's too late.  

From then on these 10 years has been pretty much downhill for Muslims.

A few days later we were driving up to an inter-faith event in the far-out country. The trip was rough and the questions pretty hostile. Driving back our Imam suddenly exclaimed 'why did they do this! they've destroyed dawah in this country! how could muslims  do this!?'.  It's a question that still reverberates in me today.

Whoever did this evil act, we have to deal with it as if we, every Muslim on the planet,  all did it, and that we're collectively guilty of terrorism and that our religion is evil. To the extent where we're imprisoned, tortured, our holy Book burned, and every aspect of Islam (building a mosque, halal food) repelled.

But I don't think the dawah is destroyed or Muslims in the US. I think we've gone through and will go through extremely tough times, but we've held on. So many Muslims were arrested and deported unfairly. So many "entrapped" to make Americans feel better. So many lost their jobs or weren't hired. Interrogations and harassment at every airport. The "with us or against" us mentality stays with us, such that Muslims can't even build a community center because we are the enemy.  But Islam hasn't died, the Dawah hasn't ended. Countless people have said 9/11 made them more interested in Islam, so many went on to convert. Countless Muslims have said it made them more aware that they're Muslims.

I can't forget the faces of the MSA students who came back from a lecture by Scott Ritter a year after 9/11. "They're going to invade Iraq in a year! The whole world is going to go crazy!". It was like someone coming back and saying "The sky is going to fall". So incredulous. But it fell. Iraq was invaded. Afghanistan. The "war on terror" was begun.

I'm just hoping that 10 years later, we can find some kind of closure and peace. 9/11 was a tragedy.  It was a tragedy for all of us. We can learn from it and find a better way to counter hate and violence in our world. How many more lives have to be taken, how many more people have to be punished? We have to stop letting other people use 9/11 for their own ends. To whip up emotions to make us go to war, to harp on ppl's fears in order to ban ppl's right to religion, to stir up people's emotions so as to not want houses of worship!, to spread fear in the land so we can impose 'patriot laws' and go against all the values we believed in, to gain more followers by burning Holy books, to make us feel better by punishing others.  

To me, it just seems like that day has never ended. And there are certain ppl in the world (racist islamophobes, crackpot "muslims") fueled by hate that don't want it to end.

So what can we do in the end. ..I don't have any answers. I just hope we can make the day of 9/11 a day of prayer for all of us.



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« Reply #5 on: Sep 09, 2011 10:52 PM »

Interesting perspective from someone who is not practicing...

======================
For U.S. Muslims, 9/11 Began a Whole New Ballgame: Aasif Mandvi

When U.S. troops marched into Iraq in 2003, I, like many Americans, was outraged at what I considered a senseless and unjustified military action. As I spoke to my mother about it on the phone, I noticed that the angrier I got, the more uncomfortable she became.

At first I thought perhaps she disagreed with me, that her awkward silences on the other end of the line resulted from her biting her tongue. Had she, like many of her fellow Americans, bought into the claim that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were simply opposite sides of the same al-Qaeda nickel?

When I pressed her on this, she quietly replied, “Perhaps we should not discuss this over the phone.”

What do you mean? I said. Why on earth not?

Because, she answered, “You never know who is listening to us.”

The fear in my mother’s hushed voice marked a passage to a new America. This was not the land of opportunity and freedom that my parents had sacrificed everything to be part of in 1982, when we arrived from the north of England after selling all our possessions: our home, our car, my clock radio. (We even said goodbye to our cat, Genie, whom we gave to a neighbor.)

My parents were quintessential Americans -- immigrants who filled with pride as they waved the star-spangled banner every Fourth of July. Suddenly, however, we inhabited a newly fearful and suspicious America, an America that for my mother had lost its head and its humanity.

For Muslims in America, everything changed after Sept. 11. Personally, I had been a relatively secular sort. I didn’t attend a mosque and, for the most part, didn’t find much identification with the faith I had been born into. I was raised on Western pop culture and hot dogs (though I never really learned to play baseball). The only time I was reminded of my Muslim-ness was when my grandparents visited and we would sit and read the Koran, or on the occasions when I was chased home from the bus stop by a group of white kids who for some reason had decided I would be better suited riding a camel instead of a bus.

After Sept. 11, as misinformation and Islamophobia spread across the American news media and into American communities, I suddenly began defending an identity to which I had a tenuous relationship at best. I found myself shouting at pundits who had no idea what they were talking about, including a radio jock who found deep meaning in the fact that the Muslim holiday of EID, spelled backward, is DIE. I could not believe what I was hearing. When President George W. Bush called people from Pakistan “Pakis,” it seemed my entire heritage was getting lost in translation.

U.S. soldiers are now leaving Iraq, but here at home the fear has not receded. There are protests against mosques all over the country, including the one proposed in downtown Manhattan. Flying While Muslim remains a hazard because too many Americans can’t, or won’t, distinguish terrorists from imams. After Sept. 11, apart from the foolishness of TV pundits, it seemed a useful conversation was taking shape -- a conversation that might lead to understanding, to bridges across divides.

Now, 10 years later, it appears that the band of TV pundits and politicians who set out to exploit the tragedy has won. Fear and mistrust have trumped courage and unity. That moment when the world came together and shared a grief that transcended faith, nationality and politics is undone.

I’ve never forgotten my conversation with my mother. For me, it represents the very essence of fear, the aftershock of a senseless act of mass murder that still reverberates. What I hope for in the next 10 years is a War against Fear. Then I can go back to being a so-so Muslim, and a typical American, though I really ought to learn to play baseball.

(Aasif Mandvi is a comedian, actor and correspondent for The Daily Show on Comedy Central. The opinions expressed are his own.)


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-09/for-u-s-muslims-9-11-was-the-start-of-a-whole-new-ballgame-aasif-mandvi.html
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« Reply #6 on: Sep 09, 2011 11:38 PM »

Asalaamu Alaikum bro


Quote
As I got ready I switched on the Madina and someone had posted the initial news. I wonder if someone can link to the thread?? And one of the brother's wrote 'this is the end of islam in america'.



http://jannah.org/madina/archives/year2001/4575.shtml


It's quite amazing to read that thread now (not only because it has lots of old members) but because it suddenly dawned upon us how terrible the events that were unfolding that day really were and how bad the repercussions could be.


I remember at the time most news websites were down and if you were not in front of a TV, information came either from sources like the Madina or people emailing or phoning you updates.


What a great reflection on that day and the years that followed. Even the Madina was never the same again after 9/11!!

Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]
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« Reply #7 on: Sep 11, 2011 02:06 AM »

wsalam,

It's painful reading that thread again Sad Anyone else have memories of that day?? Where were you, what were you doing??



Here's another comedian..........
===================================

How 9-11 eroded our shared faith and American identity


Editor's note: Dean Obeidallah is an award-winning comedian who has appeared on TV shows such as Comedy Central's "Axis of Evil" special, ABC's "The View," CNN's "What the Week" and HLN's "The Joy Behar Show." He is executive producer of the annual New York Arab-American Comedy Festival and the Amman Stand Up Comedy Festival. Follow him on Twitter.






(CNN) -- I grew up in an interfaith home where I learned, despite what some on the far right allege today, that Islam and Christianity have much in common. My father was Muslim and born in the 1930s in what was then known as Palestine. My mother is Italian (Sicilian, to be accurate) and proudly Christian.

My family was the embodiment of the American Dream: An immigrant father and first generation mother of differing ethnicities and faiths, who did more than just co-exist: They flourished.

Our mini "melting pot" succeeded because we focused on the commonalities between Islam and Christianity, the most obvious being that we worship the same God. How could we not? After all, we share almost identical prophets such as Moses, Abraham and Jesus.

My Muslim cousins would even celebrate Christmas with us every year - -not only to be social, but because there's a religious basis. To Muslims, Jesus is a prophet referred to in the Quran as "The Messiah," born of the Virgin Mary, who was herself born of immaculate conception.

Growing up in North Jersey in the 1980s, no one expressed any issues with our heritage or faith. In fact, in third grade my teacher asked me to bring my father to school for "show and tell" so the students could meet an Arab Muslim man. I can only imagine if this event was replicated today, some would protest, claiming my father was there trying to spread sharia law or convert the children to Islam.

Despite my upbringing in a very ethnic home, by September 11, 2001, I identified as a typical white American. I wasn't Dean Obeidallah, the Arab-American, I was just Dean. As I have joked in my stand-up act, I didn't have any Arab friends before 9/11. All my friends had names like Joey, Chandler and Monica.

But as I stood on the corner of Eighth Street and Sixth Avenue in Lower Manhattan on that fateful September morning watching in horror as the towers crumbled before my eyes, I knew all our lives would change. I just never could have predicted the trajectory my own life would take.

Soon after 9/11, I found that my membership in "The White Club" had been revoked. I was now a minority, which, truthfully, was not something I wanted to be.

I'm not saying being a white person in America is easy, but being a minority in America is a completely different kind of challenge, for the simple reason that as a minority you aren't only responsible for yourself, you are also called to answer for the sins of the worst in your minority group.

In time I began to embrace my Arab roots. I soon decided to use my comedy, whenever possible, to counter the misconceptions my fellow Americans harbored about Arabs and Muslims.

Now, 10 years after 9/11, I have grown accustomed to and even enjoy my minority status. But I do have a grave concern: I have never witnessed more anti-Muslim rhetoric espoused by politicians, religious leaders and in media outlets than I do today. Not even in the days after 9/11.

There was a time in our nation's history when if you wanted to demonize a religion or race, you had to wear a white sheet over your head. Not any longer. Indeed, peddlers of hate wouldn't want to cover their face because they want people to know who they are so they can sell more books, secure more well paying speaking engagements, and appear more often on television. (I'm looking at you Fox News!)

But I'm fully confident this will pass. In fact, I have already observed encouraging signs.

Recently, the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization created in 1971 to expose the activities of hate groups, listed leaders of the Muslim hate movement in the same league as The Aryan Terror Brigade, the American Nazi Party, and the Ku Klux Klan. Thankfully, this begins the marginalization of these Muslim hate groups to the fringes of American society where they justly belong.

More interfaith alliances between Muslims, Christians and Jews have been formed. In fact, American Catholic.org's national magazine features a cover story this month designed to dispel misconceptions about Islam and bring Catholics and Muslims closer together. (Some forget that right-wing Americans had alleged that Catholics and democracy could not exist together and that a Catholic candidate for president -- John F. Kennedy -- would, if elected, follow the directives of the pope, not the U.S. Constitution.)

This week, the national Jewish Daily Forward published an editorial entitled, "Remember Who We Are," imploring Jewish Americans to reject the extremist voices of hate that target American Muslims and specifically called on, by name, the few Jewish people involved in the Muslim hate movement to stop.

We must stand together today as Americans, just as we did in 2001 after the attacks. We cannot allow those who promote hate, either here or abroad, to divide our nation.

As then presidential candidate John F. Kennedy cautioned America in 1960 while defending himself against anti-Catholic attacks: "Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you -- until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped apart."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dean Obeidallah.
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« Reply #8 on: Sep 11, 2011 05:52 PM »

Thought we'd have more participation in this thread??, but perhaps ppl are still too scared to talk about it.
=============================

Remembering 9/11
By Imam Zaid on 11 September 2011


I remember well the fateful day of September 11, 2001. I was locked in Jami’ al-Khayr at the far western end of the Damascene neighborhood of Muhajireen. Most masjids in Syria are locked between the prayers, with the exception of the evening and night prayer. However, the Imam allowed me to remain locked inside of the masjid to study between the prayers. I was locked in, but that meant everyone else was locked out. A student’s dream!

The tranquility of my retreat was interrupted by panicked banging on the metal frame of one of mosque’s doors. Three or four neighborhood children had run up to deliver an urgent message in exited and panicked voices. Between the confused clamoring I could make out the following, “Sayyid Zaid, America has been bombed! They blew up the Trade Center, the Pentagon, the White House and Congress!” Who, I asked? “We don’t know! You have to come out and find out what is going on!” I asked them to go get the Imam and have him unlock the doors so I could go home to investigate this strange news.

The Imam’s residence was adjacent to the mosque so he was summoned in short order. He was unaware of the breaking story, but quickly unlocked the doors so I could return home to find out what was occurring. Arriving home I was faced with a challenge. The house had a television with a satellite hook-up. However, I had never watched the television. After an hour or so looking for a neighbor knowledgeable enough to give me a crash course on manipulating the controls directing the satellite dish, an image being broadcast by CNN appeared on the screen.

There was a picture of the World Trade Center Towers, one of them belching smoke, beneath a banner that read, “America Under Attack.” The name, “Osama Bin Ladin,” keep popping up periodically and the guest commentator was the American novelist, Tom Clancy. In an apparent reference to his 1994 novel, Debt of Honor, which described a group of terrorists crashing a Boeing 747 into the United States Capitol building, Clancy was being asked by the CNN correspondent, “Tom, is this a case of life imitating art?”

I immediately contacted the other American students and we hastily arranged a meeting where we discussed what we could do to assist our respective communities back in the States. We developed an action plan that was amazingly mature and prescient in that it actually outlined many of the measures that major Muslim organizations in America would subsequently adopt. We agreed on one thing: Dawah (calling to Islam) in America was finished.

To our collective surprise we were all proven wrong by subsequent events. We were receiving calls from all over the country of an unprecedented interest in Islam. Sales of Qur’ans and Islamic literature were off the charts. People living in the vicinity of mosques were volunteering to protect them.  A friend of mine in Texas emailed me to let me know that an open house at his mosque in Richardson, Texas, drew 3,000 people, which the organizers had to handle in two shifts of 1,500 people each.

One of the most heart-warming stories from those early days after the attacks was from the same friend in Texas. He related that one well-meaning old lady left a voice message on the answering machine of the mosque offering to escort Muslim women to the store. She feared their hijabs would make them visible targets for vengeful, violent reprisals. She concluded her message by saying, “I’m too old to help carry groceries, but if anyone tries to bother you I’ll hit them over the head with my cane.” Her message represents our noblest traits.

However, the tragic events of that day brought out the worst in other people. In Dallas, Texas, a few miles from the Richardson Mosque, a white supremacist, Mark Stroman, murdered a Muslim convenience store worker and a Hindu he thought was a Muslim. He nearly took the life of a third victim, who he shot point blank in the face with a shotgun. There were other violent attacks, many of them directed at Sikhs, whose turbans and beards led to them being mistaken for Muslims.

Perhaps the most far-reaching development occurring in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks has been a campaign to systematically distort Islamic teachings to create a climate of deep hatred towards Muslims. The result of this effort and the subsequent institutionalizing of anti-Muslim hatred in American society and politics are chilling, and the fallout is global.  The details fill our daily newspapers.

The growing climate of hate has another unfortunate consequence.  Some western Muslims are losing confidence in the ability of Islam to make any meaningful contribution to their societies in light of post 9/11 realities. This is unfortunate, because, now, perhaps more than ever, the world is in desperate need of critical aspects of the message of Islam.

One of the most relevant features of Islam in this regard, one that many contemporary Muslims fail to adequately appreciate, is its anti-utopian nature. Islam does not promise that the believers’ actions will usher in a millennial era of good and harmony. That is the job of Jesus, upon his return to the earth, Muslims are taught. We do our best to make a difference in the world, to work for justice and peace. However, at the end of the day there are no vanguard parties or messianic movements charged with the responsibility of undertaking the work of the Messiah.

This feature of Islam helps to ensure that there will never be a Muslim Stalin, Mao, Hitler or Pol Pot, based on its teachings. In the Islamic worldview, there are no classless states to be ushered into being; hence, there are no reactionary classes to be eliminated. There is no idea of a pure race, a Volk, hence, there are no potentially polluting impure races to be done away with. Contrary to the proclamations of many anti-Muslim ideologues, there is no doctrine of world domination. Furthermore, there is no progressive, triumphalist march through history for the Muslim community. There are victories and there are defeats, there are periods of strength and there are periods of weakness. God emphasizes this in the Qur’an, “If some injury has afflicted you, know that a similar injury has afflicted your opponents. These vicissitudes we alternate among humans… (3:140).”


Even when we are blessed with victory, we are told that our success comes from God, not from our own devices,  - “Victory only comes from God, The Mighty, The Wise (3:126).” Hence, the goal for Muslims is not winning at all costs. Our goal is to obey God at all times.  At the end of the day, there is only the individual believer and the Lord. For us, the quality of that relationship outweighs all else in this world, for, in the stark terms of the Qur’an, “Thus, each of them will come before God on the Day of Resurrection, alone (19:95).” The one who achieves Paradise on that day is the true victor. Hence, we do not find meaning in victory, we find meaning in salvation.


When our relationship with God is sound we begin to realize the essential power of God and our inherent weakness. That realization allows us to trust that God will use us as agents of good and positive transformation in the world. There is no need for us to violently impose ourselves on the world. Nothing illustrates this better than one of the most powerful stories emerging from the tragedy of 9/11.

Mark Stroman, the white supremacist mentioned earlier in this essay was executed this past July (2011). He died having renounced his racist views. One of the last things he said was the following: “Hate is going on in this world and it has to stop. Hate causes a lifetime of pain.” Stroman’s transformation was inspired by the compassion shown by Rais Bhuyian, the Muslim he shot in the face. Bhuyian survived after many operations and the loss of one eye. He still carries 35 shotgun pellets in his face. However, none of this prevented him from forgiving Stroman and from waging a valiant campaign to save him from execution. Stroman was so moved by Rais’ act of grace that he renounced his hatred of Muslims.

The example set for us by both Rais and Stroman, at the end of his life, is our best hope as we attempt to move beyond the pain, strife and hatred unleashed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Trusting in the power and promise of God we will be able to do just that.

“Good and evil are not equal. Repulse [evil] with what is best. Unexpectedly, you will see the one between who he and you there was enmity become like an intimate friend (Qur’an 41:34)”

Note: A version of this article first appeared in EMEL Magazine, http://www.emel.com


Also Aaron Sellars 4 part memories: http://www.facebook.com/notes/aaron-sellars/911-reflections-part-1-of-4-where-i-was/10150286334771935
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« Reply #9 on: Sep 11, 2011 05:57 PM »

So true.
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« Reply #10 on: Sep 11, 2011 11:32 PM »

 salaam

1) What were you doing that day? - I was in school and saw people crowded around a TV with worried looks on their faces. I looked at the screen and saw two skyscrapers on fire. When I realized our country had been attacked, I was shocked and sick to my stomach...It was a long time before I could hear a plane flying overhead without being frozen if fear that it would divert from its originally intended destination.

2) How has life changed? - It is hard for me to say, to separate the difference between the changes that must occur from education, life experiences, and a broader knowledge of the world, and what changes are specific to that fateful day. But I will say, as Muslims we have a lot of work to do - within ourselves first and also with our community at large.

3) Are you more identifiable as a Muslim now compared to then? - I think as a hijabi I have always been "identifiable" as Muslim. I have always gotten stares and the occasional comments and questions. Now the comments have references to 9/11 mixed in sometimes: "you're not going to blow us up, are you?". But I also see a lot more people that are genuinely interested in knowing more about the religion that is getting so much attention.

4) How has your society been influenced by the events back then? - People here have a lot more fear or curiosity about Islam or Muslims.

5) Are things better or worse now? - They are different. Definitely harder.

tahirah
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« Reply #11 on: Sep 12, 2011 05:45 PM »

HOW I MISS 

by Aaron Haroon Sellars 9/2011

 

How I miss the days 

Of beautiful long hijabs

Now we’re just covered with scabs

From wounds that don’t easily heal 

How will we recover from this ordeal?

Is it my religion you want

To hijack and steal?

When I offer it freely

For any heart that can feel

Oh how I miss the days

That seem now a goner

Of beautiful robes and turbans 

Worn with Prophetic honor

Like the pages of my Bible picture book

If you take another look

You’ll see resemblance with people

You were raised to revere

So tell me why you hold us

Not so dear

Like the Mother of Christ

Who was pure and free of blame

How can you stare, yell and spit

At Muslim women who dress just the same?

But maybe I caused the stain

For never taking the time to explain

A faith whose root word means “peace”

But even then

Would the fires of hatred cease?

I too am upset, that life in America 

Will forever be changed

But that's no excuse 

For a mentality deranged

Fighting evil, yes is a must

Yes, we want justice 

But a justice that is just

What do you mean

By waving and wearing the flag?

When your actions make it

A meaningless rag

Using it to mask

Your burning frustration

Over your own disillusioned life 

And lack of change in your situation

I’ve seen the posters 

But is your heart a “Hate Free Zone”?

How do those thoughts manifest

When you’re all alone?

Are you truly in a state of peace

While hating Islam 

Have you forgotten the lessons   

Of wars like Vietnam?

It is for this Islamic State - a State of Peace 

That we all must strive

Because then -and only then 

Can the living dead become alive

It is for this state that I long 

Though I've not yet seen it

If you claim to be a believer

Say “Peace be upon you” - and mean it! 
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« Reply #12 on: Sep 12, 2011 05:51 PM »

OUch hard to read. Makes my letter seem almost nice...J.

=================================

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-672144

Dear Osama Bin Laden,

 
I would say Assalamalaikum , a greeting of peace and love, but that greeting is reserved only for Muslims, and for me that’s a title of honor that you will never deserve.

Today is the 10th anniversary of the atrocity that has affected the lives of millions of people, mostly for the worse, so thank you for that. September 11th, 2001 started out as beautiful fall day for me, but after watching those buildings crash to the ground of a city I love so dearly, even as a 9th grader in Blacksburg Virginia, I knew this day was going to change my life forever. Before that, I used to love getting on an airplane and travelling the world, I don’t anymore, so thank you for that. I used to have people in the seat next to me want to talk to me, ask me where I’m from and where I’m heading, they don’t anymore, so thank you for that. I used to answer the phone while waiting at an airport terminal, and no one would suspect that I was checking in with the local sleeper cell or coordinating with another terrorist, now they do, so thank you for that. I used to welcome a new Muslim with open arms, but now I greet them with suspicion and doubt, so thank you for that. I used to get angry at people for mistaking me for a Hispanic, now I feel relieved that they didn’t realize that I’m an Arab, again, thank you for that.

 

I am not apologetic for the attacks on 9/11, because neither I, nor anyone, organization or faith that I associate with is in anyway related to your organization of lunatics that is responsible for them. I wish that it never happened, and even to this day, tears come to my eyes when I think about the loss of those thousands of lives, including American and foreigners, young and old, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Even more so, I am astounded by how much pain and suffering resulted from the after effects of those horrid attacks. I follow a doctrine that if you are in the business of killing human lives and causing destruction, panic and chaos, then your life is of no worth to me. Even as a Muslim, I am proud to call myself an American, with origins outside of the US. When I travel abroad, I defend America and its ways, as I know the future of the USA not only affects me, it needs me. The US A was, and still is, a country full of loving and hardworking people; a diverse and accepting nation that took to defending the victims of acts of aggression and bigotry. And on behalf of those victims, some of whom lost their lives, thank you.

 

Osama, you brag about the number of lives your attacks have claimed, the vast majority of which were actually Muslim, but can you tell me how many lives your organization has saved? You brag about how many buildings and symbols you have destroyed, but can you list the number of buildings and positive symbols you have produced? Each and every Muslim’s responsibility on this planet earth is to be a steward, a position of responsibility and trust. The Prophet Muhammad’s teachings include returning something borrowed in a state better than you had received it. What positive changes have you made on this earth? What improvements have you made in your time on this borrowed planet of ours? And so you claim that you are a Muslim and all that you did was for Islam, but you preach evil and hatred, veritable antitheses to the faith you claim to represent.

 

Honestly Osama, and many share this sentiment, I’m glad that you’re dead, and that you didn’t die an “honorable martyr’s death”. Instead you ended the same way that a filthy sewer rat does, exterminated in its hidey hole. There is a special place in hell reserved for people like you, a place for people who murder innocent people in the name of an all forgiving, merciful God. In the name of the same God that ordered that any person engaged in legitimate and justified warfare, to keep from harming even trees and plants, let alone innocent humans and animals. And to treat aggressors with love and compassion after the conflict was resolved, not hatred and resentment. These are all things that you and your cohorts should have known, if you were actually Muslims.

 

And so I will hold on to my greeting of peace and love and save it for the people who merit it, be they Muslim or otherwise, because you definitely don’t deserve it.

 

Sincerely ,

An actual Muslim

 

PS. For the sake of maintaining my own self-respect, I chose not to include this until the very end, but please replace the word ‘Thank’ with the expletive of your choice whenever it appears in this letter
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« Reply #13 on: Sep 12, 2011 05:55 PM »

Tariq Amanullah: A Tribute
9-11 |

Tariq Amanullah went to work at the World Trade Center on 9/11 and simply never returned. He is often identified as an assistant vice president of Fiduciary Trust. However, few people know that Amanullah, a Muslim by faith, was also one of the founding members of 877-Why-Islam. On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, 877-Why-Islam would like to pay a special tribute to him.

877-Why-Islam team members remember Amanullah for his humility, his devoted nature, and his selfless work. “The mere mention of Br. Tariq Amanullah’s name evokes a range of feelings within me; from a sense of loss to profound admiration for his contribution to the cause of Islam,” expressed Musaddique Thange.

“Br. Tariq was a very humble man. He had a unique smile and was soft spoken in nature. He had a down-to-earth personality and was very meticulous in his work. He was a valuable team member and was loved by everyone,” reminisced Saeed Khan.

Most team members’ last memories of Amanullah are associated with the Great Muslim Adventure Day, which was held at Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey, days before 9/11 and where they met him last. “How can I forget Br. Tariq Amanullah? I still remember my last talk with him at the Six Flag Park Arena after a tiring day. I still see his smiling face from that day,” recalled Mohiuddin Syed.

Tariq Amanullah had managed the ticket booth at this 877-Why-Islam event. “I had never thought that after a few days I am going to lose this very dear friend of mine,” mourned Khan. “From that year onwards, I have volunteered myself to manage the responsibility of the ticket booth, just to share my deep feelings and love for Br. Tariq.”

“To me, Br. Tariq Amanullah was the epitome of the ideal Islamic worker; always available to serve the cause, and yet humble to the point of being self-effacing,” said Thange. “The memories of his dedicated service will always remain a source of motivation for me and for many others who had the privilege of knowing him.”

Tariq Amanullah (1961-2001) was survived by his parents, siblings, wife, and two children.
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« Reply #14 on: Sep 12, 2011 06:24 PM »

Salaams -

Those were some great posts, which I had come across the last few days. I especially loved Imam Zaid's, which I just read earlier today before checking out this thread. Hadn't seen that poem though - I loved it . . though it's sad of course.

As for me:

1) What were you doing that day? I was a sophomore in college, the school year having recently started, at the end of August. It was a Tuesday and for me, that was my 'late' day, where class started after 10 am. Thus, I was awakened by a phone call from my khala, who lives close by, and she said something to the effect of "Did you see what they did to the twin towers?" I said, "No, I'm just getting up, I'll go check" She hadn't even said anything, though her comment implied something pretty bad had happened was what I thought, if I recall correctly. I got up and ran down the hall to the closest TV in our house - the towers were already gone. I wasn't among those who saw the second plane hit, live on TV, being on the West Coast. I was just shocked . . but I ahd to get ready to head over to campus, which was a 20 15 min drive or so. I was wondering what school would be like that day. I had psychology class first thing. Once most of us were in the medium-sized lecture hall, we were told, given what had just happened, that class was cancelled, that they would be couselling for anyone who needed it, etc. I ended up gathering many students in teh lobby of the college library, where a TV had been set up and was tuned to the news. I saw a girl crying, as I think she was from somewhere in New York, if not NYC. Most of the guys were calm but quiet, just in shock watching the reports, the speculation, etc. Before I left the lecture hall though, I had mentioned to one guy that I had seen around campus a lot (I went to a very small school, so you basically know all the faces in a short time) and I told him I was Muslim and he said, if anyone gave me trouble, to come to him and he would take care of it. So I was thankful for that.

2) How has life changed? Well, there is of course the traveling issue. Our first trip post-attacks, we went to both Pakistan and India. At the Portland (home) airport itself, the agent at the airline check-in desk took both my and my Amma's passports to the back room for 30-45 min to check us against the no-fly lists or what-not. At one point, the lady said "It's for your own safety, sir" because I think I was looking impatient or something (I was 21 by the way) and then under my breath or in thought, I said "It's not for my own safety if I'm the bad guy, is it"? Sounds stupid, and immature right? Then later, we were in Singapore and we were checking in again, during the transit there and the agent was taking a bit extra longer to check things and at one point, she said "Your name is like those people . . ." and I then tried to make sure she had my name right and then if I recall, she said "Oh ok . . " and then we got cleared and checked-in.

Of course, back home in Portland, I hadn't gone to Jumu'ah the first few weeks afterwards, as my Amma wasn't feel too assured (Abba had passed away a few months before the attacks - something I reflected as well, because I know he would have been extremely angry that people calling themselves Muslims would have done such a thing - so in a way, I was glad he wasn't there to witness the events of the day and I guess, what was to follow) despite the security that had been called up to guard the masjid against any attacks both during prayer times and just in general.
Also, just have to be careful of what things we take on the flights - one of my cousins had a book on Palestine if I recall and the airport people questioned him about it/why he had it, etc. Also, the sister of this cousin, was once told to get off a plane, as the pilot said he wasn't comfortable with her on the flight given her name and on a separate occasion, though this may be unrelated to her background, she arrived in London where we have family and where she had previously worked and she told them she had an apartment there, though she no longer worked in London and due to this, they deported her back to the US (California).

Also, I was a bit of a witness to our own local involvement with the early days of the "War on Terror" with the infamous case of the Portland 7 (Sis J and other Americans on the Madina are probably more familiar with this than our other Madina members), as I was acquainted with one of the men and the only who refused to cooperate with the authorities after their arrest. Then my Imam, the same one who was by my father's side as he took his last breath, was arrested at the airport (by Joint Terrorism Task Force, which Portland later pulled out of working with, but not sure what the current status is with that), because they thought he had some chemical residue on his luggage. His trial was front page news and he was acquitted, and only convicted of some irregularities on his taxes. One positive thing that came out of this, was that during the trial, many did salah outside the courtroom and a court worker was asking about it, what they were doing, etc and she later converted!



3) Are you more identifiable as a Muslim now compared to then? I think it's about the same to be honest. I don't keep a beard, so the appearance thing isn't an issue. One thing I will say though, is that I make more of an effort, when with non-Muslims, to actually point out that I am one. Or in the case of our immediate next door neighbors, whom with we have a great and warm relationship, make it a point to bring up issues from the news and what I think, what we think as a community and what Islam says about such things. To give an example, I wrote in to our paper, the Oregonian, during the early days of the Iraq war and when my letter was published, they cut it out and put it on their refrigerator  Smiley Furthermore, as for the former, on my other Twitter account on which I converse with fellow basketball fans of our local team, I am open with one of the fans, who is a woman in her 50's or some of the other adults and even shared verses about Hz. Isa'a (AS) or that verse about how Muslims are closest to those call themselves Christians and similar things. I think that is one of the ways we can move forward - be open, share our views, talk about the tough issues, so at least there is understanding, though agreement may not be there, but that's ok of course. I think with this 10th anniversary, both sides have to move to a new era or stage in this process of healing, to get rid of the hate (politicians aside). From what I've read, even the family members of the victims are ready to do this and I think the fact that the memorial was unveiled this weekend is helping in that effort. This senitment was expressed by a man in Oregon who lost his brother in the attacks. One of my fellow fans, she is a going to be a sophomore at Stanford, so she's well educated and very smart and from a military family. She wrote a blog post yesterday on the official fan site about 9/11 and not forgetting, etc. I took the opportunity to of course sympathize as a fellow American, but also give a bit of a view from my perspective/experiences on things, and the concept of moving to a new era (as I mentioned here), while always carrying the memory of those lost, which transcends boundaries of Faith, Race and other things that tend to keep us separate to an extent. These fellow fans have been supportive and open to learning. I feel it's our duty, as Sr. Tahirah said, to get to work, as we hae a lot to do and I think part of that is of course, from within as well as presenting ourselves in a good light - now that I say that, I think it has made me more aware of how I am as a Muslim and in fact, drives me to improve that aspect of my persona. As that one elder fan mentioned yesterday, that good has and can come from what was solely an evil act.


4) How has your society been influenced by the events back then?

Oops, I guess I described this already above.  Just to add I guess, our Islamic Institution has made great efforts by having interfaith dialogues or speakers from other faiths during the monthly potlucks. Of course, you guys may recall last December's failed bomb plot, so that has also been an issue, as it has with the rest of the country and the FBI's role, etc. To be honest, having been away, I can't say as much about the current situation compared to the past, when I was there all-year round.

5) Are things better or worse now?

I would like to think better, but again, there are still issues that we have to deal with from what I mentioned in (4) and again, haven't gotten a good feel for things having been away. I'll be able to tell more in the coming months I think and of course, in the next year or two, as I settle back in to living at home/in the States before I start working, which in all likelihood, will take me away from Portland.


BABA
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The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another:  [9:71]
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« Reply #15 on: Sep 12, 2011 08:50 PM »

Oh man, that letter rocked!


Here is another reflection I found (*CUTE KID WARNING*):

Video: CAIR-Sacramento Director Recalls 9/11 and Aftermath

The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another:  [9:71]
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« Reply #16 on: Sep 12, 2011 09:35 PM »

Some more perspectives, predominantly from British Muslims: You can find the site and comment here: http://embox.co.uk/911/


9/11 Generation - Faizan



9/11 Generation - Farah



9/11 Generation - Megh



9/11 Generation - Rugena



9/11 Generation - Oussama


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« Reply #17 on: Sep 11, 2012 11:45 AM »

Thought I would add this for today. Haven't listened to it yet tho...

Today marks the eleventh anniversary of the horrific attacks of 9/11, it’s hard to believe that those tragic events, so fresh in our collective memories, occurred eleven years ago.

Eleven years on what are some of the questions and concerns that our Non-Muslim neighbors still have about Islam? ...What issues and misconceptions still exist in our communities about our faith?

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi engages in an open discussion forum on post 9/11.

Click the link to check out the video --->
Ten Years Later - Post 9/11: An Open Discussion Forum with Yasir Qadhi | September 2011


SHARE this post with your Muslim & Non-Muslims friends so they too can benefit from the discussion, insha Allah.

~ [YQ Admin]
WCoastbaba
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« Reply #18 on: Sep 14, 2012 08:55 PM »

Was in NYC this week for a mini-course related to my exams. Visited the Memorial just hours before leaving.

The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another:  [9:71]
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« Reply #19 on: Sep 14, 2012 11:42 PM »

Regarding the comic strip- can we really say that in public? I wanted to post the pic on fb- but I was uneasy about it.

"Allah surely knows the warmth of every teardrop... " Jaihoon
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