Voice: Islam stresses peace

September 18, 2001

"I am only one; but I am still one. I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do." — Helen Keller

The above quote by Helen Keller has prompted me to write in order to share my thoughts and feelings with your readers. A week has passed since the outrageous and unfathomable attack on America, killing innocent people at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I still cannot figure out what these evil-minded perpetrators of this merciless attack had hoped to accomplish. No rational human beings would commit such terrible and barbaric atrocities.

As an American Muslim of Middle Eastern descent, I am outraged and feel compelled to write. Islam is no different than other monotheistic religions. None of the religions preach hate or bigotry. The word "Islam" means submission, in peace, to the will of the creator. God, "Allah" in Arabic, orders us to uphold peace in everything that we do. Muslims greet each other with the greeting, "Alsalamo alaikom," which means, "May peace be upon you."


It appears that this vicious attack, which hit us unexpectedly here in the United States, was meant to cause a lot of chaos, physical destruction and the killing of innocent lives. When all the names and identities of these innocent victims are revealed, we will undoubtedly find out that some were American Muslims.

While our nation is trying to find answers to many troubling questions and why we were attacked in the first place, it is clear to all of us that such antagonistic criminals should be uprooted from our world. However, it is a formidable challenge for a civilized nation to achieve such a goal with the least suffering and without the loss of many innocent people. We should carefully and meticulously use appropriate means to end any further heinous acts.

The United States is a great country for the simple fact that it has managed successfully, over the years, to assimilate immigrants into the fabric of the American society while respecting their culture, religion and diversity. It is estimated that 7 million Muslims live in the United States. To alienate them during this difficult time and to doubt their patriotism is in essence damaging our own strength as a nation. We as Americans have always felt proud that in the eyes of the entire world we are the only place where all ethnic groups live in peace and harmony.

Now, more than ever, all Americans have the opportunity to show the rest of the world that our nation represents much more than military strength. America represents justice, freedom, unity and respect for all people.


El Centro

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