Last year I wrote an article from the heart about why I choose to be a pacifist and what happened in my life that caused it. 9/11 and what happened afterward was ultimately why I became a pacifist. I wrote it after my cousin got upset about me saying that I don't support the military. I still don't. My own brother recently joined the Army and is stationed somewhere in Korea. I don't talk to him. We weren't the talking types anyways. I would talk to him if he called. I don't hate him or anything. He's my brother after all. I don't support his decision to join the military. He's not in a combatant role, but nonetheless he's been trained to kill people and I can't tolerate that. That doesn't mean that I hate him. I know that I rant and rage a lot about people, but I certainly don't hate them. I can't tolerate their behavior, but that doesn't mean I advocate violence or harm against them. I equate joining the military with doing other dumb things like stealing and leading a homosexual lifestyle. While I don't hate any person, I don't have to tolerate or condone their behavior. So I don't tolerate my brother's choice either.
Now that I've said that and made it clear. I think I'd like to talk about why I feel the way that I do.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you would be oh so wrong. That man is not a terrorist. He's not middle eastern; he's from India. He isn't muslim either. He a Sikh.
On September 15, 2001, Frank Roque, a man clearly disturbed by the images of 9/11, went to a gas station and shot Balbir Singh Sodhi, the owner of the gas station. He thought Mr. Sodhi was a Muslim and had been telling his co-workers for days that he was going to kill a Muslim. Because sikh men are required by their faith to wear turbans, ignorant Roque mistook him for being Muslim and shot him. In fact he shot him 5 times. Muslim men do wear turbans. They typically wrap them around a small head cap. The style is different than the Sikh style.
This is Babir Singh Sodhi. He was an immigrant from India where the vast majority of Sikh's are from and experience religious persecution. He came to the United States and worked hard to earn his gas station. He came to the United States to have an easier life for his family and because some idiot didn't know that he wasn't a muslim but instead hardened his heart, he died.
In case you're wondering, this is Osama bin Laden wearing a Muslim style turban which are usually only white, black, or green and don't have a peak in them. Muslim men unlike Sikh men are not obligated to wear turbans. Now you know the difference. So people who use such filthy language as "rag head" and "towel head" (ahem, the military in particular) don't realize that Muslim men aren't the only ones who wear turbans.
After I heard that my own fellow Americans were retaliating against other Americans simply because of their faith (or mistaken identity), I was hoping pissed. There were Muslims who died during 9/11 as well. Rahme Salie was a Muslim victim of 9/11. She was a passenger on flight 11. Her and her husband both died along with their unborn child. Her family was barred from traveling to her memorial service.
Needless to say, if the terrorists had wanted mass chaos and for hatred of Muslims to perforate, they got their wish. But they won't get my hatred. They will only get my pity. And that's why I became a pacifist.
While I can't justify why some Muslim extremists decided to do such a horrible thing, I also can't understand why people would continually perpetuate the violence. And that is why 9/11 and what happened shortly afterward became a turning point in my life. I turned to the Prince of Peace and said "no" to all of that evil.
So how did 9/11 affect you? Did you loose someone? Did you suddenly find yourself learning more about Islam? How has your life changed since?