I interrupt my rantings and ravings about the state of the American Church (TM) to bring you some real news. (Actually my Internet being down all day yesterday helped, but I digress)
I could never do justice to all the tributes, prayers, responses and reflections on September 11 online. But I do want to call your attention to a couple of articles that tie in to what I wrote on Monday. First, the compilation of reflections on 9/11 and faith from The Washington Post's blog, On Faith. Also check out The Gospel Coalition's blog post on how the number of evangelical churches in New York has steadily grown since 9/11. Kinda contradicts my point on Monday, but I would argue the context is different (New York definitely has a different lingering effect than the rest of the country's religious landscape).
I also want to call your attention to the fact that some things have changed in a dramatic way for the worse. Prejudice and profiling have become the norm. And if you're Muslim, or even look "foreign", then you don't want to fly on 9/11 as Shoshana Hebshi learned and later blogged about. (warning on the second link, it is getting an insane amount of traffic since being linked to from most mainstream media so expect it to lock up your browser while it loads).
But that's still not all I want to call your attention to. My favorite Facebook post from 9/11 was this from a friend of mine:
"Ten years ago, I began this darkest of days in federal courts class discussing the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, today, I leave for Kabul to assemble the largest gatherings to discuss the Afghan Constitution. God be with all those souls lost that day! May we never forget."
Pretty cool, eh? His next post (after posting that he landed safely):
"major explosions in Kabul...half dozen, we are in a bunker in our office"
Then, almost 24 hours later:
"After nearly 22 hours, the attacks against Kabul are over. There is no question, however, it was the most extensive attack on Kabul the Taliban's fall in 2001. While we are lucky that the death toll wasn't higher, the psychological toll will be far worse and no matter what is said by certain generals, we are not winning."
Close your eyes for a moment and picture who might be writing these posts. Do you picture a soldier in fatigues, a lawyer in a business suit, or a politician shaking hands? What race do you suppose he is? Would you believe that these posts come from a Muslim whose family emigrated to the US from Pakistan decades ago?
I was going to link to this article back in April when Florida Pastor Terry Jones decided it was a worthwhile political and religious statement to burn a Koran, but chose against it. But in the wake of the anniversary of 9/11, the racial profiling since, and the risks to Hamid's life, I'm going to post it today. This was written by my friend, Hamid, and I believe is a must-read to provide context to the conflict that we only hear about in the news.
The full article is here. Here's an excerpt:
"Few Muslims quibble with the notion that the Qur’an is the word of God. Moreover, it is generally accepted that the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad some fourteen centuries ago. While the Qur’an is found in book form today, it began as an oral tradition and hence, even to this day, millions of Muslims follow that tradition by memorizing lines from the original Arabic. Coincidently, the content of the Qur’an (which is about the size of the New Testament) largely remains a mystery to most believers since the original version is in sixth-century Arabic and more than 85 percent of Muslims today are not Arabic speakers. Moreover, even if one could begin to grapple with the Arabic, the Qur’an is filled with allusions, allegories, puns, and an unmatched poetic style. Consequently, Muslims will often turn to religious leaders to understand its content, leaders who often know little more than their fellow believers."
You often hear the straw man argument, if Islam is a religion of peace, why don't more Muslims speak out against terrorism? This is your answer right here. Just as the Catholic Church consolidated political and religious power by controlling distribution of the Gospel message (how many peasants in the Middle Ages could really speak Latin?), the fear-mongering political power in the Middle East controls the message.
I post these things not to open up political or religious debate, but hopefully to open your eyes to "the rest of the story" so to speak. The conflicts that led to 9/11 are ongoing still today.