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My Reflections on the 15th Observance of September 11, 2001

For our generation September 11, 2001 is the day that will forever remain in infamy.  On this date a depraved band of zealots unleashed the most vile form of iniquity and hate upon unsuspecting innocents.  These criminals committed the most atrocious and wicked act of mass murder in the history of the United States. 
American Muslims are incredibly offended and appalled that this band of criminals killed thousands of our innocent fellow Americans and maligned a faith, which above all, is vehemently opposed to such evil and wickedness.

Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of these terror attacks on our country. Starting in 2002, the 9/11 family members and several support groups worked hard to “establish a forwarding-looking way to honor the sacrifice of those who were lost and those who united in response to the tragedy” and “rekindling the spirit of unity and compassion that swept our nation after 9/11”. As a result of these efforts, Congress established September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance under the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009. Join your neighbors and friend at the Third Annual Peace, Justice, Nonviolence Festival and Walk of Peace at the Canalside in Buffalo today.

As I reflect back on the tragedies of September 11, 2001, I think of the reasons I chose to make America my home.  I guess my reasons are similar to those millions of Americans who preceded me; reasons of pursuit of educational excellence and technological advances, escape from persecution and illegal occupation of my homeland (by India) and, of course, enjoy the freedoms that are guaranteed under the US Constitution.

September 11, 2001 changed lives of all of us. American Muslims were quick to condemn the attacks loudly and without any reservations. We opened doors to mosques across the region and across the country to show our fellow citizens who we really are and how the dastardly acts have affected us as much as any other American. It was very challenging and painful time for all Americans, especially the Muslims.

Today, these wounds have resurfaced by the irresponsible rhetoric and hate spewed by some in this season of Presidential election. It has been very painful to know that many of our fellow citizens do not believe Muslims are as patriotic as everyone else, despite the plethora of evidence to the contrary. Muslims are making positive contributions in every sphere of American life, be it armed forces, first responders, civil services, medicine, engineering and law, education, labor or other trades and professions.

Let’s use this anniversary to realize the full potential of American Muslims and all Americans in strengthening the leadership role of this great nation in the world. That will strengthen our believe in E Pluribus Unum (out of many; One).

So while reflecting about the fateful day that transformed me, along with millions of my fellow citizens, I am rededicating myself to the ideals this nation is built on; the ideals those innocents gave their life for on that fateful day. That is how we, as Americans, will defeat those who want to harm us.

Khalid J. Qazi, MD, MACP
Founding President & Senior Adviser
Muslim Public Affairs Council of WNY

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