Photo: Mark McCartyPolytechnic column, Sept. 19
We have all talked about how we felt when we heard about the attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. We expressed our pain, horror, and confusion. Some of us shed tears, some of us gave blood, and others donated money, or simply wore a ribbon. We all wanted to share in the pain and in the glory of being Americanunited Americans.
But there is a group of Americans who, beyond all these feelings, have felt threatened by fellow Americans. American Muslims, Arab-Americans, and South Asians are experiencing an isolating terror all their own.
More than 411 cases of harassment ranging from verbal slurs to outright murder have been reported to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
So why this hate and bigotry at a time when America is most vulnerable?
Generally speaking, the public knows very little about Islam, and what little is known comes from the media.
Of course, the media here in America is very much limited to one thingAmerica. We dont see what goes on in the rest of the world unless America fits somewhere into that picture ...
While the media has never been said to be unbiased, we Americans rarely take the time or the effort to know more than what is on the surface. Moreover, most of the Muslims in Americaeight million according to CAIRhave not really been active in changing that image, which is one thing that all Muslim leaders now regret very much. Osama bin Laden and his cohorts may say they are Muslim, but that does not mean that he represents Islam and all Muslims. McVeigh and Hitler killed thousands of people but they did not represent Christians and Christianity.
Baruch Goldstein, who shot Muslim worshippers in Hebron, Israel, in 1994, does not represent Jews and Judaism. In fact, those people belong togetheras haters, butchers, and the worst evils of humanity.
It is understandable to feel hate toward such criminals, but let us be cautious of guilt by association. Muslims, Arab-Americans, and South Asians run the risk of becoming dual victims at this difficult crossroads, suffering not just the immense losses of our country, but also facing possible backlash.
So, let us remember that Americans, including 1,000 Muslims (according to CAIR), went to work side-by-side on that fateful Tuesday, side-by-side they lay under the rubble, and side-by-side they are mourned. Let us remember that we can never judge a religion by its followers, no matter how religious they are, but by its creed. Let us remember what President Bush said Monday: Islam means peace.Soumeya Benghanem 03, Polytechnic news coordinator
Prayer service remarks by President Shirley Ann Jackson, Sept. 11
Class note submitted by Karl Kusche 89, Sept. 19
Essay by Alan Balfour, published in Newsday, Sept. 13
Student Senate resolution, Sept. 11
Polytechnic column, Sept. 19
Alumni discussion board posting, Sept. 20
In memoriam: Nicholas Humber 63
E-mail message to Rensselaer Magazine, Sept. 23
Polytechnic column, Sept. 19
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), 110 8th St., Troy, NY 12180. (518) 276-6000