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Ali HaiderBray - Ali Haider Bray Jennifer ENGL 1302 Comp 2...

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1Ali Haider Bray, Jennifer ENGL 1302 Comp 2 02/20/2008
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Being a Pakistani-American in the aftermath of the September 11 th attacks on the World Trade Center in New York has opened me to the scrutiny of the powerful and the realization of the oppressed. However, the very realization of my oppression is what has resulted in my pursuit of knowledge and the beginnings of power. These and other incidents are not isolated from my own experiences as a Pakistani-American. I am not a Muslim, but the mere mention of my name and my birth country immediately cast a shadow of doubt upon me. I felt the effects immediately after September 11 th . I was living in Pakistan, and flying back home to America where my parents lived. On every stop, I was withheld, questioned, and detained before I was allowed to pass so that I could catch my flight. I missed every single one of my flights, which resulted in a 5 day journey that should have only taken 18 hours. I found out later that I had been flagged at my very first checkpoint because of my country of departure, my destination, and my name. I watched as everyone else breezed on through the security checkpoints, the stress growing with every day. I saw the wars waged in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the US policies towards the Middle East and the Muslims world worsen with every day. It was sickening and I felt the world hurtling towards a certain doom. These were my catalysts to researching the history behind the war, the foreign policy, the attacks, etc. As someone who grew up in Pakistan and America, I felt compelled to discover why there was so much conflict and tension between the two. The perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks were part of a terrorist cell, Al-Qaeda, headed by a Saudi exile, Osama Bin Laden. The 9/11 Commission Reports gives a good background to September 11 th and the boiling tensions between the Middle East and the United States. In February of 1998, Osama bin Laden, issued a fatwa or religious decree “claiming that America had declared war against God and his messenger, they called for the murder of any American” (May, 47). Simply looking at this, most Americans would be shocked at the call for indiscriminate killing of any and all Americans. There are two things however that must be looked at, before any judgement can be made. First, Islam is a religion of peace and “neither Bin Laden... nor the three others who signed this statement were scholars of Islamic law” (May, 47). Islam is a religion of peace and understanding. Any serious examination of the Holy Quran, the religious text of Muslims, would show that accommodations are made for those of other religions and that war is not to be waged upon anyone unless Islam is first attacked, and in that event, it should not be indiscriminate. Secondly, we must examine the reasons behind Osama bin Laden seemingly issuing this call to arms out of the blue. “In August 1996, bin Laden had issued his own self-styled fatwa calling upon Muslims to drive American soldiers out of Saudi Arabia”.
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