It has been four days since we learned that the infamous Usama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda and the most wanted man in the world has been killed. I would like to thank the brave United States Navy SEALS. As an American-Muslim woman, I am happy that justice has finally been served. None of us can ever forget what we were doing on the morning of 9/11. I was leaving my house to take my mother to the doctor when I turned on the news. My first reaction was of disbelief and shock. I could not believe my eyes. How could someone attack us?
When I learned who the mastermind behind the attacks was, I felt angry and sad. How could a person claiming to be Muslim wreak such havoc and kill so many innocent people. I cried most of that day. I have also prayed for the victims of 9/11 and their families, the first responders at the scene, some of whom had lost their lives.
I applauded President Bush’s remarks after 9/11 and President Obama’s remarks Sunday night that “America will never be at war with Islam. Our war is not with Islam. Osama was never a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer.”
The word "Islam" means peace and obedience. As Muslims we are taught not to create disorder and to respect each other regardless of our faith. No true Muslim can do what Osama Bin Laden had done. There is no place for extremism of any kind in Islam. The Holy Quran clearly states “Whosoever killed a person…It shall be as if he had killed all mankind.” (5:33) and “when he is in authority, he runs about in the land to create disorder in it and destroy the crops and the progeny of man; and Allah loves not disorder.” (2:206)
I am an America Muslim woman who believes in the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, who declared emphatically over a century ago that an aggressive “Jihad by the Sword” has no place in Islam. In its place, he has taught his followers to wage a bloodless, intellectual “Jihad of the Pen” to defend Islam.
This is what I and others in my community are doing all across the United States. We want to tell our fellow Americans that there are moderate Muslims who are speaking up against extremism. I am a loyal American who is taught by my faith, “O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority among you…” (4:60) This is further reiterated by Prophet Muhammad, “Love of your homeland, your place of residence, is part of your faith.”
That is why the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been engaged in delivering the message of peace and loyalty throughout the world and in the United States of America and has launched “Muslims for Peace” and “Muslims for Loyalty” campaigns to combat extremism. Silence is no longer an option. We must be grateful to the freedoms and opportunities provided by the United States of America. That is why we are going door to door handing out peace and loyalty brochures to our fellow Americans. This peace and loyalty messages are also being featured on 100’s of transit buses, metro rail cars, and billboards.
As we celebrate this moment, we must not forget all those people that have lost their lives on 9/11 and ever since then. We must always pray for them. That is why I am pleased that President Obama is visiting Ground Zero today. While I am not there in person, my thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the victims who lost their lives that day. I am also grateful to the men and women of the United States armed forces who are risking their lives every day for the freedoms that we enjoy and cherish.
Saima Sheikh is media communications leader for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.