By Shams Ghoneim
During our nation’s commemoration of the 11th anniversary of 9/11, our country lost four heroes, one of which was the U.S. ambassador in Libya. Christopher Stevens was a dedicated citizen who served his nation with honor and dignity. He learned Arabic, immersed himself with the Libyan people and helped them rebuild their nation after years of oppression and tyranny. Our thoughts and prayers are with our fallen and wounded American heroes and their families.
Though the motive and reasons behind the attack are still unclear, one thing is certain: Islam unequivocally teaches that the killing of one human being is equivalent to the killing of all of humanity. All Muslims of good faith are outraged and grieve the loss of precious lives and are angered by the mayhem in some predominately Muslim countries. No inciting, trashy films, hateful insults to Islam or the beloved prophet should ever be used as an excuse for, murder, violence and mayhem.
On Sept. 12, the Muslim Public Affairs Counsel, along with Egyptian, Libyan and interfaith leaders, stood together to condemn the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya.
The attacks in Libya appear to be deliberate and opportunistic. Islam was once again used and abused by fanatic murderers. Extremists are taking advantage of the security void in these new Arab states and causing havoc.
The 2011 Egyptian revolution is a work in progress. The lack of security in the Egyptian street is caused by a weak police presence resulting from their brutal actions before and during the revolution. Thugs and weapons coming from outside Egypt are flooding the streets. The newly elected government and president must rise to the task of securing the Egyptian street and protecting all diplomatic missions.
The ongoing rise of Islamophobia in the United States all contributed to Muslims’ anger and frustration globally. These actions may have fueled the recent demonstrations outside U.S. embassies.
The most recent uprisings and revolutions in Egypt, Libya and other Arab Spring nations are still attempting to address huge economic, social, religious and political problems that have plagued their nations for decades under authoritarian and divisive leaders. The transition to stability will take years, not months.
The current demand to stop economic assistance to Egypt and other Arab Spring nations is counter- productive. It can lead extremists and al-Qaida-like organizations to take hold in these nations and increase threats to our country. Finally, we must stand behind our president and remember that our strength as a nation lies in our unity.
Shams Ghoneim of Iowa City is coordinator of the Iowa Chapter, Muslim Public Affairs Council. Comments: shams email@example.com