This is in response to Mirza Ghulam Haseeb of Jamaica whose letter about Americans’ reactions to his faith appeared in this paper on February 6.
Mirza, I realize that at 11 years old you are not old enough to remember the attack on America, nor to have experienced the aftermath, but there is more to the story than just your point of view.
Muslims attacked America, not vice-versa. In the more than 12 years since, there has been hardly more than a whimper from American Muslims decrying the attacks, death and destruction. Neither imams nor Muslim politicians; not Muslim professors nor students, community leaders, school board members, business owners, nor ordinary citizens.
Whether it is fear, or shame, or inhibition, the fact is that in all that time there has been almost total silence.
Instead, there have been demands that schools be closed on Muslim holidays, that Americans receive sensitivity training, and that somehow Americans must be taught to understand Islam. I go into neighborhoods where there is a substantial Muslim population and see not one America flag, but decals and banners proclaiming the superiority of Islam.
I have heard Muslims complaining about Christmas celebrations and Jewish holidays, mocking American traditions and asserting that women must not be allowed to drive cars, hold jobs or vote.
Excuse me Mirza, but your family came here to be American and many of us have ancestors that go back centuries in our nation. It is not for us to change our perceptions.
You are welcome in America, but it is you who must understand how Islam is perceived by those of us who have been here for a long time. You must assimilate, you must see yourself as American, your faith and allegiance must be to this country.
We were attacked, many Americans lost their lives. There has been virtually no apology or regret, and it is not the role of Americans to understand Islam. Islam must understand the non-Muslim world, and the attacks did not end on 9/11. Remember Fort Hood?
I understand that at age 11 you did not fully experience the tragedy, but Americans are not entirely wrong in feeling Muslims have been insensitive to the tragedy.