I abhor what happened on September 11, 2001. It was a heinous act of cowardice aimed at innocent people. Those who perpetrated these crimes deserved the fullest extent of punishment that the law can give them.
As we have many TV documentaries and movies, which have been made, the incidents are fresh in our minds. It is horrifying to see people jump from one of the Twin Towers, as it crumbles unbelievably before our eyes.
I was in my office at Tyndale when the attacks took place. One of the wives of a colleague came in and told me what was happening. It was too crazy to believe. Yet as I drove home listening to the BBC, the unbelievable was made real. Later when I watched the news I saw the that the unthinkable had happened.
I wondered if any of our friends from a church in Queens, which supports us, had been affected. As it turned out amazingly none of them, whom we knew personally, had been killed, but they all knew many, including some relatives, who had.
So, started the War on Terror. The War on Terror led to the invasion of Iraq. It has led to a reasonable increase of surveillance and scrutiny at border crossings, e.g. airport immigration facilities.
What wasn’t quite clear to me until I started to study the issue was that the terrorists of 9/11 were not US immigrants. Four were admitted on business visas and two on tourist visas. The latter two did violate the terms of their visas, but no one was policing them.
So this awful, unthinkable act of terrorism was not internal. It was not caused by radicalized US citizens. These crimes were committed by a foreign agency, which aimed at the destruction of any Western free democracy.
They were horrible, horrible crimes, carried out by foreign nationals, who belonged to Al Qaida. Not one of them was an American.
While there have been a few Americans of Muslim background, who have been radicalized, there doesn’t seem to be any coordination of the attacks they carried out. There was inspiration from foreign organizations, but no direct foreign involvement.
Recently one candidate for US president suggested that all Muslims should be expelled from the US. Or alternately he suggested that it might be necessary for all US Muslims to be interned in camps similar to those, in which Japanese Americans were interned during WWII. Of course, this candidate denies that he intended such things. He only intended to stop all immigration of Muslims into the US.
Such suggestions seem bizarre! Are we not ashamed of what we did to Japanese Americans during WWII?
Paranoia and fear generate all sorts of supposed wise measures. In light of 9/11, the most deadly attack in the history of the US, we must keep clear who did what and when. The perpetrators were not US born Muslims. They were not even Muslim immigrants to the US. They were foreign citizens allowed into the US on business and tourist visas. It was not the section of the US Immigration Department, which deals with refugees, that did not do its job, it was Immigration at a US border.
Policies have changed and who would be allowed a business and a tourist visa have changed. Due to these terrorist groups we have stringent procedures for issuing these sorts of visas. The Immigration procedure for refugees is even more stringent with seven steps which last over at least a year.
Tightening visa requirements and policing those given visas is wise. Continuing to maintain high standards for immigration is wise.
What is unwise is to blacken all people of one religion, because some of them are or were terrorists. Worse yet is assuming the guilt of all citizens, who are of one religion. This is what Hitler did with the Jews. Hitler also eliminated emigrants/ immigrants.
My father used to tell a story about how during WWII he was beaten up in the school yard playground, because he was a “Kraut”, his last name being German - Gottschalk. At the same time, his father, who was absolved from military duty due to age (too old), was a volunteer in the CeeBees (Civilian Builders) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as a pipe fitter rebuilding the US fleet, which had been bombed by the Japanese Imperialists.
Racism is deaf, blind and stupid. Fear is almost as bad. We allow our fears to get the better of us when we consider incarcerating people of one religion, because we fear some extremists from among that group.