Letters for October 18, 2001
Editor’s Note: The following letters were written by the fifth- and sixth-grade students of Al-Arqam Islamic School—the Sacramento area’s only full-time Islamic school—after the September 11 attacks but before the United States initiated its bombing campaign against Afghanistan.
The horrific and tragic events of September 11 shocked and saddened all of us. But since then, there has been a second crime perpetrated on innocent civilians. This is holding an entire group responsible for the actions of a few misguided members. When the federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed, we did not blame all Christian-Americans for the act. So why must we blame all Muslims for the recent tragedy? If you don’t believe this is happening then why are women who wear the Islamic head cover being attacked? Why are men with beards and Arabic names being harassed and told to change their children’s names? We should change this situation by not blaming the whole group of people, a whole country or a whole religion. I really hope things do not get worse. Yes, I am proud to be an American. But I am a Muslim first. My religion is Islam and it teaches peace.
I think that some Americans are jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center. I feel very uncomfortable to even go to the grocery store with my parents because of what happened to some Muslims around the country. People shot at a mosque in Texas and another man was killed. Many Muslims have even been spit at! This is unbelievable because America is built on the idea of freedom from persecution for religious beliefs. I am 11 years old and my mother tells me never to spit on people; I was so surprised that some grown-ups are doing it. I think there is a lot of false information about Muslims being told to Americans and children. People need to know what true Islam is. Knowledgeable Muslims need to speak on the radio and TV programs to give a correct picture of the religion. Also more accurate articles about Islam should be written. When people have the truth, they make the right decisions.
When I saw all the bloodshed and people dying I became so frightened. I wondered how people could actually do that.
I used to feel so safe in America before the attack, but now I feel so insecure. Ever since the attack, Muslims are being harmed, insulted or glared at. I know that the attack killed so many people’s family members, but that still doesn’t mean people should hurt Muslims. Americans shouldn’t blame all Muslims for terrorism. In Islam it is a sin to hurt innocent people.
Once in a while Muslims and other Americans should get together and learn about each other’s religions. We are Americans too, so please let’s unite in this hard time.
I am an 11-year-old boy, born in America and raised as a Muslim.
I don’t know who did this act of crime to the cities and people of New York and Washington, D.C., or why. But all I can say is that I wish it never happened. I feel very sorry for the people that were hurt and killed. And I think that everyone needs to remember that people from all over the world and from every religion (even Muslims) were hurt and killed in this crime.
My parents are always teaching me the difference between right and wrong and that we need to respect other people regardless of where they are from and what religion they practice. My mom always tells me that in this country we have the right to choose and that’s what is so great about being a Muslim in America. My mother is an American who chose to revert to Islam 17 years ago. She always felt safe going out while wearing her hijab (head cover). But now, I worry every day when she leaves for work, because I am afraid that someone will hurt her.
My parents have tried to explain to me why people are blaming Muslims for the terrorist attack on America, but I am finding it very hard to understand. I was taught that people should have patience with others.
I want the Muslims and Americans to calm down and stop fighting. As a Muslim-American, I feel sad and upset for what happened because over 5,000 innocent people were killed in this disaster. This is a very big loss to many Muslims and Americans. I am worried because Americans are blaming Muslims for this disaster. The president said that they are going to retaliate. That means that they are going to target an Islamic country. I am worried that thousands of Muslims are going to die. I think that the president shouldn’t act in a way that will lead to war. If somebody doesn’t give up, this might never end.
In Islam, people are not supposed to hurt women, children, old people or the weak, no matter what. The ones who did the attack are not true Muslims.
I am a 10-year-old Arab-American. I was born in the U.S.A. and my religion is Islam. I feel so bad and hurt because of what happened to all those people in the World Trade Center. We will never forget Tuesday morning, September 11. Since this happened I feel so scared to be a Muslim. Now I see a lot of people looking at me badly because I wear a head cover, and some make nasty comments. I wish people could understand that I am not like the terrorists. I wish people would know about Islam before they spoke badly of us. We are people of peace and in our religion, Allah (God) tells us to respect our neighbors and their religions.
I want to tell America that I feel your pain because my people lived in fear in my country, Palestine, for the last 50 years of being occupied by the Jewish government. That’s why I love America, because we are free here.
Today it is very difficult to be a Muslim in America. The disaster at the World Trade Center killed thousands of innocent human beings, including hundreds of Muslims. The prime suspects in this horrific crime are Muslims. This makes some people think that Muslims are all terrorists. But Islam teaches that killing one person is like killing all of humanity, and saving one life is like saving all of humanity.
In some places Muslims have actually been spat on and harassed, mosques have been vandalized. Such crimes make us feel like victims twice, and imprisoned many Muslim families in their own homes, in their own country. This kind of discrimination has to stop. We Muslims are also Americans and we have the right to be respected and to live in peace. Those individuals should stop treating us like enemies. I wish that Americans would make peace with the Muslim-Americans and realize that we love this country as much as they do.
I have a message for the ignorant people who performed these acts of terrorism. This is NOT what Islam is all about. As our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Allah loves the ink of a scholar more than the blood of a martyr.” As a matter of fact, Allah says, “If you kill one human being, it’s as though you killed the whole humanity.”
I think we can change this situation by vanishing from our hearts all kinds of hatred and discriminations against other people from all over the world. We can change others by setting an extraordinary example of character.
I just wish that Americans knew that Muslims can be trusted, helpful and most of all that we are human too. Why don’t people stop going after the Muslim community and go after the real enemies?!
Before this tragedy happened, people stared an awful lot at me because I am a Muslim. Now they stare even more because they blame us for what happened to the U.S. I want to tell them that many Muslims in the U.S., including me, were born and raised in America. So don’t kick us out of our hometowns! The terrorists destroyed our home (America) too, and we are also disappointed. So let’s get together as Americans and find the perpetrators and get them for good.
All over the world, people were shocked to hear the news of the September 11 tragedy—even the Muslims. Islam isn’t about hatred and evil; our God is a god of love and not war. Even if the ones that did this happened to be Muslims, people have to know that not all Muslims were involved. Some of the people who died in the World Trade Center were Muslims too.
My friends and I missed a week of education because of what happened. Now Muslims are being threatened and are scared to leave their homes. How would you feel if you were Muslim? We aren’t just Muslims, we are Muslim-Americans. I also pray to God that this problem blows away with the wind and that everything is normal again.