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Sept. 11. What a distinct day in the life of each and every American. Twelve years ago today, the lives and minds of millions of Americans changed in the blink of an eye. However, what was once an instance of panic and terror is now a symbol of America’s ability to rise above any challenge or obstacle that stands in her way. America has come a long way since then — in our regrowth, in the protection of our citizens, and in the welcome and acceptance we give towards citizens of other countries visiting and living in our country.
As an American citizen, I was just as shocked as you were as I watched a newscaster illustrate the events of 9/11. Terrorists had hijacked American planes and crashed them at various locations, killing thousands of Americans in the process. How could this happen? Why would anyone want to do this? Who is responsible? As a young boy, I did not understand the situation. As an angry country, America did not quite understand it either.
Since then, we have come to find out that al-Qaida, a global and decentralized terrorist network, was responsible for the attacks. The people who caused these attacks are not welcomed or wanted in any walk of life or by any group of people in the world other than their own. They are terrorists. They thrive off of the misery of others, believing that it elevates their status before their god. This, my friends, was not the work of the Muslims we see on our campus. It was not the work of the Muslims we see in the Middle East while watching the nightly news either.
The Muslim friends and students we share our classrooms with are true representatives of what their religion is focused on — treating every single person the way you treat yourself because every single person is equal in the sight of almighty Allah. It sounds a little bit like the “Golden Rule” I learned in my Christian household while growing up. They also believe in doing good deeds for the benefit of their family, community, nature and mankind, having faith in Allah, his holy angels and his prophets. I can assure you that our Muslim friends walking this campus have no intention of causing harm to anyone; they simply want to feel welcome as they pursue the same life goals as you and me.
As a country, we have come so far to be able to welcome Muslims into our lives. At Weber State University, we strive for the same goal. We strive for inclusivity. Muslims and all people similar or different are welcome anywhere, any time. Their culture and lifestyle do nothing but help to enrich our experience here as students, and our lives as citizens. I can assure you that the group of al-Qaida who obliterated the World Trade Centers is not, in any way, representative of the kind, loving and generous Muslim students we share our campus with. As the representative of the student body, I would challenge you to take the time to talk with not only the Muslim students, but also ALL students. You will come to find out that we have much more in common that you think.
On behalf of WSUSA,
Student body president