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Is America Forgetting Who We Are?

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Nine years ago, our country’s heart was torn to pieces when terrorists murdered thousands of innocent people by ruthlessly knocking down the soul of Manhattan. The Twin Towers represented our country’s strength and power. When we visited New York City, we were filled with a sense of pride, fearlessness, and freedom. We were on top of the world and nothing could hurt us… And then someone did. Notice how I say someone did. One person. Maybe two. The pilots who hijacked the plane could have been brainwashed and promised with lies. They were living in poverty and promised with financial security for their families if they agreed to carry out the act. In the end, only a couple of people truly wanted the planes to crash, the towers to go down, and the Americans to die–certainly not an entire religion. A phobia of Islam and Muslim people has been one of the worst aftereffects of 9/11, with too many people assuming that just because the group behind the attacks, Al Qaeda, is Muslim based, the entire religion of Islam preaches murder. In fact, most people don’t know that the very high majority of victims of Al Qaeda and the Taliban are Muslim civilians themselves. In actuality, Islam is a very peaceful religion and has its roots tied to Christianity surprisingly enough. Although the main terrorists in the news are Muslim, they are extreme radicals with gross interpretations of the Koran, which is the Islamic holy book. Americans have been hurt, and understandably so, but we cannot let our anger cause us to throw the blame on innocent people.

A test of this has recently come up with the discussion of a mosque being built two blocks away from Ground Zero. President Obama openly supports the project but the majority of Americans argue that it is an insensitive and disrespectful move. Victims of the 9/11 attack insist that building an Islamic center so close to Ground Zero is an outright insult to the innocent Americans who died. However, in my opinion, the President has a convincing reply. Building the mosque is a first step in inviting Muslims back in the community. For nine years, they have been marginalized. By building the mosque, we will show them that we have once again opened our minds and thrown away our ignorance. Also, by going against the desire of the general public, President Obama has shown the signs of a good leader and of a true American. Our Constitution and country was built on the idea of freedom of religion and openness to all people. For years, we have struggled with defining our nation as the land of the free. We have fought over and banned slavery, won women’s rights, and invited persecuted pilgrims through our gates on Ellis Island. Our history is rich with challenges that forced us to choose between right and wrong, and how to correctly interpret the Constitution. We are now being faced with the same sort of decision; let’s embrace it with the same American spirit that has brought us so far and made us so unique. Freedom. If we continue to reject Muslims from our community, we will truly be defeated. Those terrorists will truly have broken America. But by living our lives the way we always have, with open minds and hearts, we will once again prove to the world that we cannot be changed. We will not let any number of blows make us forget the values we are built upon. When slapped on one cheek by a British officer, Mahatma Gandhi did not hit back, but instead, offered the other one. In the end, who won? Following in Gandhi’s footsteps, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led African Americans to freedom in the same way, and now, President Obama is showing the same strength and courage by refusing to let emotions overpower our beliefs. It will be hard and it will take patience, but in the end, our open arms and unbreakable free spirit will prevail and show every enemy that we are not, and never will be, a nation that forgets who we are.



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coco said...
Sept. 12, 2010 at 9:02 am:
Absolutely true and positively enlightening. Your writing is utterly addicting in it's rawness and truth. 
It's so genuine and descriptive. Keep up the AWESOME work!
 
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