As the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11th world trade center attacks has come and gone, we remember those who died and those who suffered great loss. More than 3,000 people died in the attacks and countless others felt the effects of the tragedy.
For many, the attacks were a turning point in Americanhistory: security tightened, allegiances were formed, and newfound hatreds and prejudices were born. Suspicions arose, particularly of those who shared a common appearance with the group responsible for the attacks.
Is this somewhat a part of human nature? Certainly. But more than an ethnicity, those who share commonalities with terrorists are more likely to find hatred, animosity and lack of compassion as shared characteristics. As we reflect on the 9/11 tragedy, let us not divide our nation further with suspicions of our neighbors; let us not call attention to the differences between us and those with whom we share a common goal; let us not preach hatred for people of different ethnicities or religions than our own.
Lessons we can learn from the time that has elapsed since the 9/11 tragedy is that it is important to hug our family members and friends, to cherish those we love, and to be thankful for those who work to keep us safe. A major lesson that many people seem to forget is this: we cannot hold people accountable for the actions of those with whom they share an ethnicity, heritage or religion.
We cannot stereotype entire groups based on the actions of a few within the group. This is an important lesson, and one the AU community and most people can always use a refresher on. While everyone represents a group, the actions of one does not speak for the entire group.
It can be sure that Muslim-Americans and those of Middle Eastern descent hurt for their country just as much as any other Americans on the tragic day fifteen years ago. Muslim-Americans were not excluded from seeing the destruction of their city, or from the pain of losing a loved one in the attack. So there is no need to exclude Muslim-Americans from the dialogue of healing from the tragedy, moving forward as a nation and keeping America safe from outside threats.
We are a stronger nation when we stand undivided. As we remember the world trade center tragedy each year, let us remember this most of all.