One recent night, I don't remember which one, I watched a program on TLC called All-American Muslim. I had never watched it before but noticed it was going to be about September 11 from the American Muslim prespective. I was intrigued.
Now, I cannot come to a common ground with a Muslim when it comes to religion, other than to know they have the freedom to worship as they see fit, just as I do. We do not worship the same god because I worship I AM, Yahweh, Jehovah God, Creator of the Universe and all that is therein. They worship Allah, a name given to one of a pantheon of gods and jinns chosen by Mohammed to be their one god.
I heard divergent opinions expressed by the guests on the program from at least two generations. The older generation seemed more ready to accept at least the responsibility to speak out against Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban and accuse them of hijacking the Muslim faith and proclaim they were not true Muslims. The younger generation seemed more tired of apologizing and less ready to continue to accept that they have a responsibility to speak out against the terrorists. I think they were perhaps a bit less patient than the older generation. To me, that seemed to be a commonality between our cultures, for sure!
I was, however, quite impressed with one young man and young woman who were American born Arabs of Lebanese decent and of the Muslim faith. I honestly don't remember if they were a couple or were siblings. They traveled to NYC to visit Ground Zero. They had never been there and wanted to see the location for themselves, I suspect for much the same reason that you and I would want to make the same trip. They both wore tee shirts proclaiming "I am not a terrorist" and were quite open to inquires and open discussion about why they wore the shirts.
They went to visit the tattoo parlor of Ami James of New York Ink fame. Knowing that James was an Israeli, yet a talented tattoo artist, the couple were somewhat anxious about the visit. After arriving at the shop, they entered into a conversation with James as he prepared to do the tattoos. They talked about the fact that he was Israeli and had served with the Israeli military as a sniper in the war with Lebannon, which was the ancestry line of the Arab Americans.
One of the most poignant statements made during the program was this; James said "Isn't it bad that we both had to leave our ancestral homes in order to be friends?" There they sat in New York City, home of the most agregious attacks of 9/11 and the most deaths. In Israel or Lebannon, neither could reasonably expect to sit in public, talk and maintain any semblance of a friendship; yet here in NYC they could sit together and talk openly, expressing divering opinions without fear of retribution from any source.
For all that is wrong in our country, we remain the land of the free BECAUSE of the brave. I thought as I watched those people talking "All of the brave don't necessarily wear a uniform; some just live their lives in a manner they could never do in their ancestral homes". It was an eye-opening experience for me; one that taught me I need to open my heart and my mind to at least HEAR the other side. God help me to remember I am no one's judge; only You have that right and/or responsibility.