There comes a time when an overwhelming feeling of outrage and grief leaves us speechless. The wanton and cowardly act of violence against our country and the free world have left us stunned and has changed us all in ways we can not understand or comprehend.
The meticulously planned and masterly executed attack against the United States has no historic reference point or precedent. The Pearl Harbor and Oklahoma City bombings pale by comparison. Long after the rescue and cleanup, the image of two commercial planes plowing into the World Trade Center twin towers will remain seared in our consciousness forever.
While it is early to point an accusing finger in any one direction it is easy to realize that this was not the work of a few lunatics avenging their real or perceived grievances against the United States.
There are very few organizations capable of pulling off an act of such mammoth proportions. The prime suspect has to be the Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden. He has money, controls an elaborate international network of terrorists, and has the loyalty of committed followers. His past behavior and his often-repeated threats against the U.S. leave little room for doubt.
Osama bin Laden lives in Kandahar region in southern Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban.
Caught in a time warp the Taliban are totally oblivious or willfully ignorant of the workings of their guest. In my discussions with the Taliban leadership nine months ago in Kabul they denied his role in any terrorists attacks against the United States and rejected out of hand the evidence this country had provided to them through Pakistan.
It is time the Taliban face the reality and abandon their grandiose ideas of molding the world in their own image. For the sake of their own suffering masses, if not for any other reason, they must pull the welcome mat from under their “honored” guest and hand him over to the international community.
It is also an opportunity for Pakistan to mount a cleanup operation and curb the rising tide of militant Taliban-style movement within its borders.
In the past few days the word Islamic has been used in conjunction with terrorism or terrorists groups. Islam has nothing to do with acts of violence by some of its followers just as Christianity has nothing to do with the communal violence in Northern Ireland.
A great majority of one billion Muslims in the world have been as shocked and repulsed by these events just as others in the world. Leading Muslim organizations in this country and abroad have, in unequivocal terms, condemned this terrorist act.
At times like these an expression of outrage by the citizens is natural but directing this rage towards one particular segment of the society is not. While some people want to lash out at anyone who even remotely resembles the terrorists either by ethnicity or religion, it is misplaced blame.
When the terrorists hit the World Trade Center, they were hitting at a prominent symbol of America. In that symbol on Sept. 11, there was a cross section of American people. There were in excess of 50,000 Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, whites, blacks and Asians in that place. They all took the hit and many of them lost their lives.
When a hole is blown through the fabric of a society, it damages all segments.
In due course lower Manhattan will be rebuilt, as will be the destroyed wing of the Pentagon. And in time the gaping hole in the psyche of the nation will also mend.
We will look back and remember the day when terrorists struck a terrible blow to America and all Americans, regardless of their color or belief, stood together in solidarity as one people.
God bless America.
Dr. S. Amjad Hussain is a Toledo surgeon whose column appears every other week in The Blade. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.