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The Columbus Dispatch

   Letters To The Editor    




Sunday, September 16, 2001


Tuesday's attacks and the magnitude of devastation they brought to the American people have made me deeply tormented and sad. I want to tell readers that my family and I share the deep sorrow and anger of all Americans.


My wife called me from Gainesville, Fla., and told me that our 7-year-old daughter is utterly traumatized by what she is watching on television. When I spoke to my daughter, the first thing she asked me was: "Are Muslims supposed to be like this? How can they kill thousands of innocent people and destroy New York for nothing?''


I had no answer for her, since I didn't have any for myself, either. I don't know what kind of Islam the terrorists follow that exhorts them to do such barbaric acts and promises them a hot seat in paradise.


Instead, the Koran states that if you take a single human life for no reason, you have killed all humanity. And, if you save a single life from wasting, you have saved all humanity.


No religion, be it Judaism, Christianity or Islam, teaches violence of any kind, and anybody justifying such horrendous acts of violence is simply a fanatic and a person gone astray.


I lived 31 years of my life in India and not even for a day did I feel patriotic about it. From my very childhood, I had this feeling that I didn't belong there; the way the system worked, the way the corruption pervaded all walks of life and the calculative nature of people around us left me very disenchanted.


When I came to the United States more than 10 years ago, within a week of living here I knew I had come home. I was mesmerized by the warm smiles and friendliness of the American people wherever I went and from whomever I met and worked with.


And over the years, we embraced the system with open heart and soul and with an immense sense of gratitude to this great nation and its fabulous people.


Now, when somebody asks me if I am Indian, I tell them, if you mean was I born in India, the answer is yes. But the connection begins and ends there. Now, this is my country and my home in the entire sense of the words. As millions of other immigrants do, we love the United States as much as any native-born American could and are very proud to be a part of it.


Our hearts are bleeding as much for the victims and their relatives as anybody else's in this country at this hour, and we all will hurt for many weeks and maybe months to come. I pray to God to give his grace, solace, peace and comfort to the souls departed and to heal the wounded and give courage and strength to the families whose loved ones were snatched away from them so suddenly and so cruelly.


I hope the authorities grab the fanatic perpetrators of this crime, be they individuals or groups or countries, and bring them to justice. They should be punished in such a manner that nobody else would ever dare repeat this again anywhere else in the world.


Abdul-Majeed Azad





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