In all the remembrance of 9/11 I heard little said about Muslims, except faint echoes of fear and continued mistrust. For Christians this response is anything but right. Not only does it reflect fear and loathing but it is simply not warranted. Let me explain.
Chicago Tribune syndicated columnist Steve Chapman wrote a wonderful editorial on September 9 showing why we should all be thankful to the American Muslim community for our continued safety. I know this sounds crazy to some people but it is the truth.
Following 9/11 many leaders predicted we would be attacked again. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee said, “You can just about bet on it.” Mayor Rudy Giuliani said, “I anticipate another attack.” And Gary Stubblefield, who directed the Naval Special Warfare Task Unity in the Pacific area, said (as paraphrased in the Denver Post), “the question is not if but when dozens of terrorist cells in the United States will unleash biological, chemical and perhaps nuclear weapons against U.S. cities.” FBI Director Robert Mueller estimates the U.S. harbored “several hundred” extremists affiliated with al-Qaeda.
Who is not familiar with the routine terrorist bombings that take place in Israel routinely? A frequent comment following 9/11 was “We are all Israeli’s now.”
But this is NOT what happened. During the 9/11 ten-year remembrance we heard credit for this being given to many, including the last two presidents and many leaders in our government. But except for Steve Chapman I heard no one thank America’s Muslim community.
There are millions of Muslims living in the U.S. Had even 0.5 percent of them decided to plan attacks on us or our cities they could have succeeded. Do you seriously doubt that? Had even the smallest part of our Muslim population been radicalized immense damage could have followed. The targets are too vast to protect. Even our best security could not have totally stopped them. A few radicals could have kept us in constant fear and struck us several times since 9/11. But it has not happened. (I am not saying it will not since I am not a prophet!)
We once heard a lot about radical imams preaching fear and revolution to American Muslims. If they are, as Chapman noted, “It is not getting through.” The simple fact is plain for all to see, unless they are filled with hate for Muslims—there are few Muslims with real desire to harm the nation they also love.
A recent Pew Poll showed that 82% of America’s Muslims say they are satisfied with the ways things are going in the U.S. and 79% rate the communities in which they live as excellent or good. American Muslims clearly love their country as much as the rest of us. It it time we acknowledge this simple fact. A decade ago radical Muslims from outside the U.S. called for uprisings and slaughter inside the U.S. It did not happen. Apparently there is good reason for why this call went unheeded. I believe it is time we recognized it and stopped fearing and loathing Muslims the way we do. This much is required by common sense. Even more is required by Christians who are to love their neighbors, especially those not loved by so many Americans who still fear them.