Spread peace and tolerance in our troubled world

Marina Coldwell

The ninth anniversary of the largest terrorist attacks on U.S. soil was remembered last month by some as Muslims and Islam attacking America.

Never before have we remembered this anniversary quite this way. Forgotten were those that suddenly lost their lives.

Instead, this anniversary took on a whole new meaning, with protesters and political agendas.

How shameful this was, especially to those who need this day to share with others the memories of their lost ones.

Last May, when I was in New York City, I met a woman named Barbara, whose husband died along with all his fellow employees in the September 11 attacks.

As we walked around Ground Zero she told me real stories about lives that ended on that day.

What she shared with me changed my memories. I no longer think of planes going through tall buildings and a billowing dust cloud chasing people and Middle Eastern terrorists. I now have stories of lives of those lost that fateful day.

Those who were lost were just like me – mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, some getting married, some just married, some pregnant, and some that just gave birth.

As I listened, I tried to show compassion and understanding but I know I will never really know what it was like for her, her children and all those others who lost a loved one.

That is why it’s so important to let those left behind have this day to remember and visit the Ground Zero site without hearing people shouting and protesting as they walk around with their silent memories.

Pastor Terry Jones, who said he would burn 200 Korans on Sept. 11, then later on NBC’s Today Show said “God told him not to”, only added anger, hatred and spread fear around the world.

My fear is that there are many Pastor Jones’s who feel as he does, that all Muslims caused the September 11 attacks. The pastor’s threat spread through the Muslim world and caused many to protest back. Two people died.

What good did the pastor’s threat do for the world we live in? Once again, more fear and hatred on both sides of the world. Pastor Jones in my opinion took us all back to living in time of fear and ignorance.

The other protest that was going on, the one that probably sparked Pastor Jones to make his threat, is about the Muslim cultural centre.

This 13-story building is planned to be constructed two blocks away from Ground Zero. It has caused much outrage and many protests.

Later in the afternoon in Anchorage, the former Alaska governor, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, the conservative broadcaster, were speaking out against this proposed building, and charging those listeners $74 to $225.

Could they not have had their speeches on the day before or after 9/11? Was there no political reasons or self-agenda behind this?

We need to remember those lost and their families who were left behind on September 11 and let them have this day to honour their memories. Also, we need to remember it was Al Qaeda, a radical, extremist group perverting religion that caused the attacks. They represent being a Muslim about as much as the Ku Klux Klan represents being a Christian.

We all have rights, but sometimes those rights are not the right things to do.

Please join my facebook page as I wish to promote peace and tolerance for everyone.

A special note to Al-Jazera. Please join my facebook so I can spread my message to those Muslims who do not live in the Western world.

Marina Coldwell recently traveled to New York City and is the Express’ recipe columnist

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