A Muslim American Student Reflects on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11


Matty Stern

2,996 Americans lost their lives in the Terror Attacks on September 11, 2001.

Er er er er, my alarm clock blared the second it hit 8:00 a.m. I yawned loudly. I had just been in the middle of an amazing dream when my clock snapped me awake and into the reality of my Tuesday morning’s to-do list. The first to-do was to get ready for my 11 a.m. environmental science class. As I trudged into the bathroom and began brushing my teeth, my thoughts settled over what I’m going to do for my birthday next month. 

This year, I turn 20 years old. As I began to wrap a rose-colored hijab around my head, my thoughts turned to another thing that turns 20 years old this year: the anniversary of the September 11th Terror Attacks. 

My heart drops into my stomach every time I think of 9/11. Not only were the attacks a loss for my family, as Americans, but it was also a loss for us as Muslims. Our hearts bear utter abhorrence toward the actions of Osama bin Laden and the other terrorists who crashed U.S. commercial airplanes into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and in a Pennsylvania field, killing 2,996 of our fellow Americans. However, our hearts also bear abhorrence toward the terrorists because our image was destroyed along with the Twin Towers. 

Although the terrorists responsible for 9/11 claim to follow the same religion that we do, their actions do not match the teachings of Islam by any means. Some individuals falsely believe that the Islamic teaching of Jihad, which means “to struggle” in Arabic, is what was being practiced by the perpetrators of 9/11. However, the concept of Jihad is to struggle to attain nearness to God and in chapter five, verse 32 of the Quran, God states “Whoever kills a soul… it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.” The fact that killing is one of the greatest sins in God’s eyes proves that what took place on 9/11 was not an act of Jihad. 

While I usually ask for the latest Apple product or new shoes to add to my collection, this year my birthday wishes will be a little different. I wish for people to form an understanding of others before judging them in their religion, politics, race, or culture. I also wish comfort to the loved ones of the victims and heroes of the September 11th Attacks during this time of remembrance.