2001-2002: What happened?

Days have flown by, and the world is more different than ever. The events of the past year have made me mature and able to understand the world better. It is so difficult for me to go over what has happened since last fall. Now, the same season has dawned on us again, but in a different, new year. Only time will tell what awaits us in the future.

As I turn 17, I look back over everything that has gone by, especially during the last year. The Muslims in Chechnya were being continually murdered, while the Kashmiris were living in constant fear. The Israelis let no Palestinian live in peace, while the Iraqis continued to die silently. All this continued to take place, either directly or indirectly, with America’s tacit approval. The Muslim nation was living in oppression under brutal regimes across the Muslim globe, which were supported by USA, and, generally, the West. These governments did not wish to enact the laws of Islam, save one administration in an impoverished country, ravaged by war and famine. The Taliban in Afghanistan brought much-needed security to their country, and brought the Shariah law into practice, with the help of their Muslim brothers, who came from across the globe. Amidst all this, our world would witness yet another atrocity, courtesy of the Bush administration and the so-called ‘coalition’.

In the USA, the events of September 11 took place. President Bush declared war on people he described as ‘terrorists’. It was time for another Muslim country to be attacked; this time it was Afghanistan’s turn. From the flames of the crashed planes in WTC, Pentagon and Pennsylvania rose an evil demon bent on destroying any sort of resistance and ideas of self-reliance the Islamic world was struggling to build. Drunk by desire for revenge, the whole world bombed all of Afghanistan, in pursuit of Osama bin Laden, who was wanted “dead or alive” by Mr. Bush. Almost a year later, the US government still hasn’t caught him or provided any credible evidence which could convict him in a court of law. In any case, tens of thousands of civilians have been ruthlessly murdered during the process in Afghanistan with no word of condemnation, the Taliban withdrew from all the cities, and yet another US-backed regime has been installed in another Muslim country. Those who fought for an Islamic government were either killed by the bombs or by torture, and then buried in mass graves. Those who escaped that were captured, and then herded into containers to be shifted to even worse situations in various prisons in the country. Hundreds, if not thousands, suffocated and starved to their deaths along the way, and those fortunate enough to have survived, did not fare any better at their destination. Less than a thousand of them were dragged to Guantanamo Bay, where they continue to live between sessions of prayers and interrogations, in isolation, away from worldview.

All this happened while the Muslim world was confused. Some of us cried for the victims of September 11, while others cried instead for those who died since October 7. Some apologized for the supposed ‘hijackers’, while begging the world to listen to them say that Islam doesn’t condone such a thing. Yet others rushed to join the Taliban to help them and to fight for Islam, during America’s Operation “Enduring Freedom”. Some of us waved America’s flag and sang “God Bless America”, while others raised money for the victims of America’s crusade. At such a crucial moment, many of us strove to fight amongst ourselves, at the request of the West, condemning those who upheld Islam’s principles and by competing to be the first one to kiss America’s feet. All the years of suffering taught us nothing. We were pathetic and still are. We cried, and they died. Then, we turned to the whole world for help, but were turned away. Humiliated, defeated and having strayed away from our religion, we then decided to go on with our lives. Now, the US wants to attack Iraq, after attaching the label of “Al Qaeda terrorists” to that country, as a justification for their campaign. Have we finally learnt our lesson? I honestly don’t know.

Everyone said that the world has changed. One would think for the better, but that was not the case. All Muslim countries forbade assistance to their Muslim brothers amongst the Taliban and their supporters; people who felt sorry for their brethren in Afghanistan were continually arrested, not only in America, but all over the world; Muslims were harassed in the West for being Muslims; many were arrested and thrown in jails without access to lawyers or being told their ‘crime’ é this in countries which pride themselves in their ‘democracy and freedoms’; freedom fighters in Kashmir were labeled terrorists; our Muslim schools were asked to change their syllabi to be more pro-American or Westernized; Imams of mosques were told to give rulings telling the youth to stay away from Jihad. Yes, our world had been changed. Before, the West would not confront Muslims openly. But, after the events last September, it seems as if we were all to be considered terrorists é targets of America and her allies é until we loudly renounced our way of life and our religion.

Today, I sit and ponder all this. I know that all of us don’t feel this way, and to many, I may seem like a teenager who simply does not understand. Many may even call me an extremist or fanatic. Heck, who knows there may be some Muslims condemning me or apologizing for my actions. To many, I may be a ‘cancer’… just like the Taliban were, just like the Al Qaeda wereéjust like the innocent men, women and children who faced death bravely under raids by America, Israel or the coalition, were…for they died in Palestine, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Iraq, and… I just can’t list all of them, for they are too many. They were wiped off the face of this planet without anyone batting an eyelid.

But, I still have hope in our Muslim nation. I believe that many of us understand America and her allies for what they stand for. I hope that we realize the dark face of the West. And that we don’t need their supposed ‘civilization, freedom, values or democracy’, for their actions have shown their values. We have Islam, and we will never let that go. If that means we must fight, so be it. If it calls for sacrifice, let us accept it.

Remember, we are a nation that God will give honor to, only if we follow our religion. If we seek it elsewhere, He will humiliate us. Let that be a lesson for all.

Ms. S. A. A. is a 16 year old Muslim, who has graduated from senior high school.

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