Disrespecting the memory of the 2,977 murdered victims of Sept. 11, 2001 by fueling a hatred of Arabs and Muslims
By Ray Hanania
The terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001 was a horrific event that took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans, mostly civilians who were not involved in any conflict, an act of horrific violence committed by a terrorist group calling itself Al-Qaeda and led by a rogue but wealthy terrorist leader, Osama Bin Laden.
It was the first time that international conflict and violence was brought to the shores of America. A total of 19 hijackers commandeered four commercial civilian airlines to crash them into civilian targets. Three slammed into their targets, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth plunged into a field in Philadelphia after the courageous civilian passengers attempted to take back control from the four terrorist fanatics.
Clearly, the staggering loss of life constituted the worst tragic aspect of that event which is seared in the memories of every adult in America and in many countries around the world. There was no justification to terrorists to attack a civilian target for the sole purpose of inflicting death and destruction on civilians.
The event ignited an unjustified wave of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab hatred, hate that has been simmering in America for generations driven by bald-faced racism. The violence that targeted Arab and Muslim Americans, and many people of color who “looked” Arab orMuslim, was totally unjustified and was a crime, too. In fact, those Arabs, Muslims and people murdered in post-Sept. 11 revenge attacks should be honored as being among the 2,977 people who are officially recognized as Sept. 11 fatalities and whose names are read every year at 9/11 memorials in New York City and around the country.
Sadly, the names of others were were murdered in alleged post-Sept. 11 revenge attacks — by “Americans” angered at Arabs and Muslims — have never been official recognized as Sept. 11 terrorism victims. And that has alot to do with the post Spet. 11 racism and animosity many Americans embraced against Arabs and Muslims.
Why the anti-Arab hate and the anti-Muslim hate? All 19 of the terrorists were Arab and Muslim and they committed their violent assaults claiming to be in the name of Islam. It is the worst example of racist stereotyping that has ever taken place.
I am proud to be an American. I am proud to have served in defense of America against terrorists, enemies and hate. But, I am not proud of everything Americans have done to Arabs and Muslims. America has an obligation to respect all people and not use stereotypes to define the terrorists that we fight. Osama Bin Laden wasn’t a Saudi or an Arab or a Muslim. He and his cohorts were terrorists and criminals.
No one blames the German People for the more than 24 million people murdered during Adolph Hitler’s Nazi rampage during World War II.
No one blames the Russian people for the Soviet alliance with the Nazis that empowered the first two years of Hitler’s savagery against civilians from 1939 through the end in August 1945. Hitler invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939. Russia invaded Poland on Sept. 14, 1939 to help the Nazis.
No one blames the Polish People people for their support of the many murderous concentration camps where 6 millions Jews and some 2 million non-Jews, men, women and children, were gassed, butchered and murdered. There were more gas chambers in Poland than in any other occupied nation.
No one blames the Italians for the role Italy played in empowering the Nazis.
And no one blames the many Americans even who advocated for support of the Nazis before and during World War II.
Sept. 11 is the ONLY violence against civilians in which an entire race and religion has been condemned because the 19 perpetrators happened to be Arab and Muslim.
That isn’t to say there haven’t been many Americans who have stood up in defense of Arabs and Muslims and denounced the wide spread racist hatred that was fueled by anger against Arabs and Muslims or the stereotyping of an entire race of people in Saudi Arabia just because the majority of the hijackers were of Saudi background. The conspiracy libels and hate-filled fanaticism has fueled an unjustified rage and hatred against the Saudis. But, that’s only when Americans even distinguish between the 22 Arab nationalities and don’t simply meld them into one racist hate-driven invective against Islam.
As a Christian whose mother is from Bethlehem, and a parishioner of the Church of theNativity where Jesus was born, I was also a victim of that anti-Muslim rage, because so many Americans were simply unedcated about the Arab World, and had racist views fueled by decades of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim ignorance.
Millions of Arab Americans and American Muslims have been the victims of this irrational hate-stereotyping. Hundreds of Arab and Muslim owned stores in America were vandalized and damaged. Even years later during the George Floyd civil rights protests, protestors targeted Arab and Muslim stores bruning them down in dozens of cities.
The unbridled hate and rage in America, fueled by racism and stereotypes, fueled the wars in the Arab World, is wrong and unjustified and should be condemned by everyone.
Some important history Americans seem to forget: Afghanistan, where the Taliban protected the terrorist Osama Bin Laden, is NOT an Arab country. And yet war criminals like former Vice President Dick Cheney pushed this country with lies to expand the boycott of Iraq into an all out invasion and wave of violence that took the lives of some 2 million Iraqi Arab Muslim civilians.
Saddam Hussein was a tyrant. But, he was a tyrant ally supported, funded and backed by theUnited States for the decades before Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait in 1990 or became the primary focus of a misguided war against al-Qaeda in Iraq. Yes, the United States funded, armed and backed Saddam Hussein when he was our pawn fighting our war against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the fanatic Ayatollahs. Those Ayatollah’s who hated America were the people who were victimized by the Shah of Iran, a murderous tyrant who also was backed by America, until his people overthrew him from power.
It seems like my own country redefines terrorism. and terrorists to suit its political agenda, in a horrible act of hypocrisy.
But who cares about the truth when you can so easily identify a person to hate, like an Olive-skinned Arab or Muslim who wears an Hijab or berqa or hatta on their heads.
The war on Iraq and the massacres that took placer have turned that nation into a wild breeding ground for anti-American anger. Instead of undermining terrorism, it fueled a new form of terrorism, ISIS and Daesh, organizations that didn’t exist until after the American killings of civilians in Iraq took place.
Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and a dictator. But, he was America’s tyrant and dictator. And to pretend that he was involved in Sept. 11 is a war crime in and of itself, given the number of Iraqi civilians who were murdered all in the name of Sept. 11 revenge.
It is a dishonor to the memory of the victims of September 11 to close our eyes to the reality of the violence and hatred that has been committed in the name of the 2,977 victims over the past 22 years against Arabs and Muslims and people who “looked” Arab and Muslim.
The true irony is the hatred that I have faced because I am Arab even though I sevred my country, America, proudly serving in Active Duty during the Vietnam War and 10 years in the Illinois Air National Guard after my Honorable Discharge from active duty service.
I have lost jobs, contracts and put up with a wave of anti-Arab hatred from haters who twist words, and use stereotypes to fuel their individual political agendas. I’ve been called names and disparaged over the years.
Ironically, many of the haters who attacked me never served this country in the military but have wrapped themselves so tightly in a twisted disfiguration of “patriotism” to make themselves look like the patriots that they are not.
Hatred and anger does not make you a patriotic American. Honesty, truth, justice and embracing the principles that are the foundation of our nation does.
I mourn the 2,977 innocent victims of al-Qaeda terrorism, just as I mourn the stereotype racist violence that has targeted Arabs, Muslims and Arab Christians like myself because of how we look.
I am proud to be an American. I am proud to have served in defense of America against terrorists, enemies and hate. But, I am not proud of everything Americans have done to Arabs and Muslims.
America has an obligation to respect all people and not use stereotypes to define the terrorists that we fight. Osama Bin Laden wasn’t a Saudi or an Arab or a Muslim. He and his cohorts were terrorists and criminals.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. A political analyst and CEO of Urban Strategies Group, Hanania’s opinion columns on mainstream issues are published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. His Middle East columns are published in the Arab News. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at email@example.com.)
Subscribe to Ray’s Columns
I have three eNewsletters that each focus on different topics and issues.
- The first is on Mainstream American politics, local, national and international.
- My second eNewsletter focuses on issues facing Arab Americans in Chicagoland, the Midwest and the country.
- My third eNewsletter focuses exclusively on Orland Park, a suburban community located just Southwest of Chicago, the largest city between Chicago and Joliet.
You can subscribe to one or all by using the links below:
Mainstream American Politics Columns
Arab American focused columns
All Orland Park topics
Read my Archived eNewsletters
View Mainstream eNewsletter Archive
View Arab American eNewsletter Archive
View Orland Park eNewsletter Archive
Watch/listen to former Congressman Bill Lipinski and columnist Ray Hanania
rip into the headline stories the rest of the media ignores. Click to view on YouTube
A Message from Ray Hanania
Subscribe to my free email eNewsletters and get my columns early before they are published.
I will also include links to my audio podcast “Ray Hanania on Politics” which expands the column topics on Chicagoland and Suburban politics.
You will also get details on where I am scheduled to speak publicly. (Always free to attend and no charge.)
Use the form below and enter your full name (or just your initials, or the community where you live), and add your email address. You will still receive an email requesting confirmation.
If for some reason the form doesn’t work for you, send me your name and email and I will add it … firstname.lastname@example.org
A Big Thank You for supporting my writings. Your subscription means a lot to me.
- Ziyad Brothers congratulates brewers of Bavaria non-alcoholic beer for receiving international award - September 22, 2023
- Civil Society Organizations to the Israeli Supreme Court: Cancel the Racist Admissions Committees Law - September 22, 2023
- CAIR Announces Lawsuit in D.C., Mass., N.J., Mich. Seeking End to Secret Government Watchlist - September 19, 2023