September 11, 2001— the world in general and Americans in particular witnessed and experienced the unbelievable, chilling and terrible exhibition of terror; the twin tower bombings which led to the death of more than 3,000 innocent people drawn from all faiths and nationalities.
The Pentagon was also targeted and had the brave passengers of the fourth hijacked aircraft not forced the crash of United Airlines Flight 93, the White House would certainly have been destroyed. When the then President George Bush, who was outside Washington, wanted to return immediately after the attack, his Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, had to hang up the phone abruptly after 'raising' her voice and 'ordering' him not to return. Later George Bush declared a 'war on terror' and swore to finish Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda.
The event entirely changed the American perception of Islam, as they earlier lacked first-hand taste of Islamic terrorism. It was an open challenge to the US military and administration, a big blow to American intelligence agencies and a severe attack on the psyche of Americans.
Such unprecedented security measures were introduced that the American State did not permit any more attacks. Of course, there have been stray incidents like the killing of a dozen people at Fort Hood, Tex., by an Army psychiatrist, Nidal Malik Hasan; the failed attack on a Detroit-bound airliner by a Nigerian man; and the attempted attack in Times Square by a man called Faisal Shahzad, who was apprehended within 24 hours.
Meanwhile in India, notwithstanding 700 years of Islamic oppression and three wars against Pakistan after Independence, and despite a series of terror attacks perpetrated by terrorist outfits both within and without, the Indian State doesn't seem to have learnt lessons. The minority of Indians, unlike the Americans, are still in a state of 'dhimmitude' yielding to political machinations. Indians are in deep slumber tuned with lullabies in the names of tolerance, freedom of religion, secularism and human rights, which are concepts of dhimmitude forced on them by the Christian west. If one attack is enough for America to understand Jihad, even thousands will not bear equal significance for Indians.
This time, on the ninth anniversary of 9/11, thousands of Christians, Jews, Hindus and Sikhs are rallying against the idea of setting up an "Islamic centre" in Manhattan close to Ground Zero. It is unfortunate that the liberal establishment of America has chosen this time, when the wounds of 9/11 are beginning to heal, to reopen the old sores. Indeed, salt is being rubbed on the wounds. The vast majority of Americans perceive this as a second 9/11. As much as 65 per cent feel insult is being added to injury. The latest opinion poll says 82 per cent are against the proposed location of the mosque.The project's sponsors call it a model of peaceful coexistence between Muslims, Christians and Jews. Imam Abdul Rauf, who is the founder and CEO of 'Cordoba Initiative', says, "It is an Islamic approach that allows for harmony and understanding among all religions and other ideas" and goes on to add, "If we look at the American Declaration of Independence, we see that it speaks of principles that comply with Islam".
Imam Abdul Rauf is no angel of peace. Observers say he has two faces, one in America and the other when abroad. Outside America, he seems to be more fundamentalist, favouring Sharia law and supporting Wahabism. After 9/11, he was believed to have said: "United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened on 9/11. We (Americans) have been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden was made in the USA." But the US State Department seemed to trust his 'American' face, as evidenced by its sponsoring a three-country tour of the Persian Gulf by him to promote 'interfaith tolerance'.
Christians, Jews, Hindus and Sikhs, under the banner "Stop Islamisation of America" took out rallies and protest demonstrations against the proposed mosque at Ground Zero. Even the political establishment of the US is divided, for and against the project. All of them say, "When New York already has around hundred mosques, what is the need for a mosque, that too in a sensitive site like Ground Zero? There is no necessity for America to affirm its commitment to religious freedom by allowing a mosque near the graves of 3,000 odd victims of Islamic terrorism."
Narain Katartia, president of Indian American Intellectuals Forum, says: "It is a very sensitive issue. Being an offensive and reprehensible act, it is an insult and humiliation to the families of more than 3,000 victims of 9/11 — firefighters and security personnel who lost their lives. Imam Abdul Rauf wants to impose Sharia law in the US. Instead of blaming his co-religionists, Imam Abdul Rauf finds fault with America's foreign policy." Dr Babu Suseelan, Director of Indian American Intellectuals Forum and former Professor of Psychology and Director of Addiction Research Foundation, says: "For us, Ground Zero is a war memorial, a burial ground, a sacred ground to American citizens. Sensitivity is not one-way traffic!"
The so-called moderates in Indian Muslim community do not come out openly condemning jihad perpetrated against the non-Muslims. But it doesn't seem so in America. Surprisingly, the Washington-based 'Association of Indian Muslims of America' has asked the Cordoba Institute and other promoters of the Islamic Center, termed as the Ground Zero Mosque, to relocate it in the interest of the larger good of the community.
Also there is another organisation going by the name "American Islamic Forum for Democracy", which not only opposed the mosque but also called for transparency in the funding of the project, suggesting foreign sources could imply an ulterior agenda.