As Americans unite today in mourning those who died Sept. 11, 2001, it is sad to note that some have turned their anger at the perpetrators against a group of innocent U.S. patriots: Muslims.
Anti-Muslim hate crimes, for example, have increased dramatically in recent years.
Just this summer, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, eight American mosques were attacked, one Muslim cemetery was destroyed and “pig parts — an animal considered by Muslims to be unclean,” writes Nathan Lean in The Washington Post “were strewn about their houses of worship.”
It is, he writes, “a metastasizing social cancer that is eating away the pluralistic fabric of America.”
Televangelist Pat Robertson, for example, told a caller who wanted to get more respect from his wife that he could “become a Muslim and you could beat her.”
Wife-beating in America is not acceptable, Robertson went on, according to an article in the Huffington Post, but the man could “ ‘move to Saudi Arabia,’ where, ostensibly, beating the woman would be permissible.”
Thankfully, other Americans have responded with outreach and understanding to their Islamic friends and neighbors. Interfaith activities and joint Christian/Muslim projects are also on the rise.
And one family of a 9/11 victim has turned its grief to healing.
Steve and Liz Alderman lost their 25-year-old son, Peter, who was working in the World Trade Center on that fateful day.
In his memory, the couple established a foundation to help other victims of terrorism and mass violence by “training indigenous health workers and establishing clinics around the globe,” Laura Rowley writes at another Huffington Post site.
The foundation, she adds, “currently funds eight facilities: two in Cambodia, four in Uganda, one in Liberia and one in Kenya, treating thousands of patients.”
At a recent meeting of the foundation in Somalia, a Muslim imam offered an impassioned prayer, yelling and shaking his fists. Liz Alderman thought he was cursing America; instead he was blessing them for coming to Africa and praying for their child.
It was the kind of healing moment the mourning mother hoped would be the outcome of their foundation. And it is, she believes, the best antidote for hate.
Peggy Fletcher Stack