On September 11, 2001, a tremendous crime was committed here in the United States. International terrorists acting under the banner of Islam carried out a terrorist crime that took the lives of nearly 3000 people from more than 50 different countries, many of whom were both Muslim, and American. This crime was intended to spread fear that they hoped would forever divide and conquer the American people by turning us against one another and make us suspicious and frightened and willing to sacrifice our freedoms for fear of one another.
Muslim Americans, like all Americans, have mourned the lives of every victim of that crime and have made every effort to make it clear that those who carried out this crime did not do so on behalf of Muslims. Muslims do not support such acts. Islam condemns such wanton violence as hiraba, which is the worst crime against humanity. To date, it has not been either suggested or proven that any Muslim American participated in any way in that attack, and every Muslim organization in the United States condemned that act. They all have sought to work cooperatively with law enforcement and our government in various ways to make sure that such a crime will never take place again in our country, and especially not in the name of Islam.
As the anniversary of the September 11 tragedy comes again, as it will each year, Muslims in America convey our heartfelt sorrow that such a crime was committed and that it was committed in the name of Islam. We, perhaps more than any other people, grieve the loss of each life, since it reminds us of how a lack of religious freedom and human rights opens the door to extremism and inconceivable acts of violence, perpetuated by alienated people who create hateful and evil ideologies that may on the surface appear to their supporters as one thing, but are actually another. The September 11th terrorists killed innocent people, who were not the cause of their suffering, nor did they have any power to remedy the causes that motivated their assailants.
The American people must understand that such violence can be plotted only in vacuums of ignorance and where there are long histories of oppression and poverty. Such ignorance and hatred can spread only when people are subject to gross poverty, deprived of the rights to seek knowledge, and denied adequate education, only when they are victims of propaganda, are prevented from holding independent opinions, and denied the right to speak freely, and only where people live in fear of government oppression and violence and without hope, do they resort to secrecy from whence they plot evil.
Unfortunately, this is the condition under which many Muslims have lived for many years in the Muslim world, and still a majority of the people of that region are not extremists, or violent, or filled with hate and anger. They have, in fact, suffered silently an unspeakable number of civilian causalities over the years, and other types of suffering, as the superpowers and their proxies in the Muslim world have struggled for dominance.
For years Muslim organizations in the United States have attempted through publications, conferences, and seminars to publicize and to inform not only our government but also Americans in academia, think tanks, and the media about the plight of Muslims throughout the world who are suffering under oppressive governments and occupation. Such suffering threatens the entire world. Muslim organizations have struggled with meager budgets and small staffs to inform our government and to educate the American people about the growing threat. At the same time, other U.S. and foreign interest groups, many of which participated in crafting insensitive and unjust U.S. policies toward the people in the Muslim world, instigated and supported a U.S. foreign policy that not only ignored the suffering of Muslim and Arab people, but actually promoted such oppression and poverty as a means to maintain political control of a swath of the world’s peoples and resources a thousand miles wide that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. Muslim organizations were accused of seeking to conquer the United States, etc., when in fact the largest group of Muslims in the United States, and the largest of Muslim organizations are not immigrant. They are led by and represent Americans who are citizens by birthright. Their activism has been aimed at sharing a legitimate perspective, as do other religious, political, social, and other groups in the United States. There is no proof that any Muslim organization ever sought to conquer the United States, since we are a part of this country, and our loyalties have never wavered, even though our positions on US foreign policy have perhaps been controversial, due to our belief that people throughout the world also have inalienable rights that must be respected, even by the United States.
These special interests, through their various groups and organizations, many of which receive taxpayer funding, have vigorously opposed the efforts of Muslim organizations and have characterized such organizations and their leaders as terrorists and threats to national security. Such special interests hope to damage the credibility of these organizations, and subject these organizations and people to government harassment under the guise of fighting terrorism, and to discourage private citizens from supporting their efforts through fundraising. The influence of these special interest groups and their supporters caused our government to ignore and in some instances refuse to help and support legitimate and legal democratization and reform movements in the Muslim world, since they were tagged "terrorist" and "extremist" by those in and near our government who supported the status quo.
As we went about our daily lives here in the United States, most of us were unaware of the tremendous suffering being imposed upon Muslims and Arab people in an attempt to prevent them from having a voice in their destinies, since it was feared that their voices would be voices of truth and would shed light on the brutality and lawlessness that has historically characterized politics in the Muslim world and cheapened the lives of the indigenous people, while costing the American taxpayer billions of wasted dollars.
Today, a new opportunity has been born of this tragic and unfortunate history. Today, Muslims and others have renewed our commitment to create opportunities for peace and prosperity for every human being. We continue to embrace the idea that economic justice based on broadly based capital ownership and on the political freedom that can result from it, are the answer to poverty. We continue to call for self-determination as a form of empowerment to which every human being is entitled. We continue to oppose those who would use US foreign policy, and American taxpayer money to oppress other peoples for their own selfish gain.
As a nation we have learned that our security and prosperity here in the United States cannot be achieved as a result of the suffering of other peoples who also long for the rights and opportunities that we enjoy. Only in twisted minds can the solution to conflict call for more and greater violence and destruction and more of the same types of provocative propaganda against Muslims and Arabs, as well as Jews and Christians, that have characterized East/ West relations in the past. We have seen enough evil and we are tired of witnessing the suffering of entire peoples and the loss of too many innocent lives.
Therefore, we have embraced a new hope and vision. We envision a Middle East free of all forms of terrorism, including government sponsored terrorism. We envision a Middle East where the people are free to enjoy their inalienable rights, where they have economic opportunities, benefit from the value of their natural and human resources, and contribute through public dialogue and elections to the advancement of their societies and people. We support the international war against terrorism in all of its forms, as well as a constructive role for the United States to play in the region reflecting its firm commitment and resolve to make possible for all the people of that region the same hopes and possibilities.
We ask that our fellow citizens join us in our commitment to peace and in the condemnation and renunciation of the use of violence as a means to any end, whether by governments, individuals, or groups that perpetuate violence. Muslim American Organizations continue to struggle for the rights of the people of the Muslim world, not only because we are Muslims, but because we are Americans who long to see our nation held once again in high esteem internationally, as well as trusted and beloved by all of the people of the world.
To this end, Muslim American organizations have pledged to continue our struggle for prosperity among all peoples and for peace and freedom for ourselves and for everyone who desires peace, through both international and interfaith cooperation.