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Ten Years after 9/11, A Reason for Optimism

What happened on 9/11 was horrible by any standard.
Muslims across the United States and the world spoke strongly against the violence and condemned it as terrorism and an act that is un-Islamic. That is not to say that all Muslims did that, or that all Muslims think of what happened on 9/11 as unjustified.

Sadly, people of all walks of life have a tendency to complicate issues and, as a result, struggle to see things for what they truly are.

I find this tendency to complicate matters a handicap for all of us (regardless of the group we claim or belong to), even those among us we hold to higher standards.

We are sometimes embarrassed by our leaders – politicians, clergy, corporate CEOs, even leaders of charity organizations – for their actions or words.

Most of us would agree that history has proven both man and woman, regardless of background, to be imperfect.

Our affiliations and blind adherence often blur our ability to see things clearly and therefore take a firm, unwavering stand against that which we should all find unacceptable.

In my interfaith work, I learn so much from my colleagues about sincerity and integrity in dialogue. My friends refuse to participate in Muslim-bashing.

Even more encouraging is that a greater number of people I know are taking the initiative to counter ill-intended efforts to spread hate and fear of Muslims.

I often find myself counseling such non-Muslim friends because of their disappointment when a hate invitation or email comes via a family member or friend.

Sometimes, and by mistake, a Muslim is included in that list of recipients. It is discouraging because this phenomenon fuels mistrust between Jewish, Christian and Muslim Americans.

Our respective traditions speak of integrity, and it is important for all of us to exercise integrity in our own circles against disparaging statements of fellow Americans, be they Christians, Jews, Muslims or others.

I believe we should go further and speak against promoting hate and fear of any ethnic group, those of a certain lifestyle or other religious or secular groups of people.

To be clear, I believe all of us can speak up and be against all forms of hate and still manage to be true to our beliefs and convictions.

Many would criticize me for being way too liberal. In the examples I read of Jesus Christ speaking the truth, I find he did so with kindness and compassion above all.

I don’t believe Jesus did so because he wanted to be liberal, but because he cared about all people. As I understand it, Jesus fulfilled a mission of salvation, not condemnation.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam as well as other paths offer us wonderful means for healing – if that is our intent.

I am pleased to see that it is for many, and for that I remain optimistic that healing is possible.

DaoudAbudiab is president of the Islamic Center of Columbia, Tenn. Abudiab is featured in EthicsDaily.com’s documentary “Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims.” Click here for more information.