Editorial - Mark 9/11 with commitment to tolerance
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 06:09
Today, we mark another anniversary of the horrific 9/11 attacks.
Eleven years have passed since thousands of our fellow citizens were tragically slaughtered and our nation was shaken to its core. There can be no denying that the harrowing attacks on Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and New York City transformed us as a country.
These attacks were part of a calculated assault on our sense of security, our economic prosperity and our unity.
But 11 years later, the terrorists have been unable to duplicate their success on 9/11, as their plots have been foiled time and time again. Their leader is dead, and their radical ideology has been rejected by the Muslim world. A new, gleaming World Trade Center, which will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere upon its completion, now fills the gaping void 9/11 left in New York City’s emblematic skyline.
So, it seems Al Qaeda failed to achieve most of its goals. That’s right: Most, but not all.
Sadly, their attempt at sowing the seeds of divisiveness that undermine our pluralistic society has ,in many respects, been successful. This is perfectly illustrated by a recent FBI report that found hate crimes committed against Muslims in the U.S. are at their highest rate since 2001. A steady stream of headlines reporting these bigoted acts has consistently populated our news feeds for the past 11 years.
This troubling trend took an appalling turn last month when a neo-Nazi gunman massacred six worshipers at a Sikh temple. The shooter presumably targeted the Sikhs because of his inability to distinguish one group of brown, religious people from another.
The hateful sentiments that allegedly inspired this shooter are not as fringe as one might think. A recent poll found 57 percent of self-ascribed Republicans had an unfavorable view of Muslims. In another poll, less than half of rural southerners said they would be "okay" with a mosque being built in their community.
These numbers are a disturbing rejection of the founding ideals of our country. There are millions of patriotic Americans who faithfully practice their Muslim faith while dutifully serving their country as congressmen, cancer researchers, teachers and soldiers. Dozens of Muslims, from businessmen to first responders, were among the victims of 9/11.
To discriminate against a group of people with close to two billion adherents based on the actions of a handful of extremists is antithetical to our founders’ commitment to tolerance and pluralism.
As we mark the latest anniversary of one of our nation’s darkest days, let us remind ourselves that it is our differences that made us the most prosperous, most powerful country in the history of the world.