Guest Editorial by Hassan Alaouie
Terry Jones and Osama Bin Laden: They both taught me a lesson in life . They both made me question who I am and what my role in society is. They both motivated me to take a real hard look at being Muslim and more accurately what being a Muslim in America is all about. In that search I found answers.
They both drove me to question my faith. At the same time, those questions resulted in profound and enlightening answers. They both spoke of an Islamic faith which I never knew, nor was ever taught. They both spoke of a foreign religion that seemed completely inhumane and ungodly. And both of them tried to instill in me a fear and unyielding hatred. That did NOT work on me. However there was at least one lesson that I learned from each of them:
The Osama Bin Laden lesson: Break out of your shell. Now that Osama is gone, many of us rejoiced in Dearborn. We (Muslims, Christians, and all others) have a sense of relief. One of the bad guys is gone. Many in the community believe that we will be more accepted into the mainstream. We can finally live our lives as Americans, instead of being looked at as outsiders. It’s as if the Navy Seal who executed Osama also removed the shackles of Muslim Americans.
It wasn’t one man who caused our disenfranchisement. It was the result of us not speaking openly and frankly. It was the result of us feeling secure in a bubble that we had created for ourselves. A bubble which was ultimately popped and exposed by the wrong person. It is time to come out of our shelters and show our true identity — Americans who will live in a country that honors, celebrates, and grows because of the numerous freedoms embedded in its constitution.
The Terry Jones lesson: Interfaith discussions are powerful and progressive. Now that he has “expressed” all his hearts desire, Terry Jones can go back home victorious. He received the much needed and wanted press attention, and at the same time ruffled the feathers of the sensitive. It is true that he has a right to protest. It is true that he has the right to speak freely. It is also true that he can publicly denounce an entire group, race, ethnicity, or religion without worrying about being arrested. However, what is the message in that? If his intent was to tarnish Dearborn area Muslims — then he did the exact opposite.
In all my years of activism, I have never seen the interfaith community of Dearborn come so close together. During the attacks of September 11th, many of the interfaith partners came in and sympathized with local area Muslims. However everyone understood that Dearborn was not an area of concern because of the generations of Muslims that lived there. Terry Jones’ event was different. It was a direct attack on Dearborn Muslims. And that brought a much greater and more focused interfaith community. It brought political, and religious leaders in a bond that I had never experienced. With people of so many different backgrounds (ethnicity, racially, and religiously) it seemed as though the promise of humanity took a firm stance and claimed a throne in Dearborn. I was impressed by the many meetings and gatherings and I was humbled by the presence of all who attended. I was in complete awe of how they collectively worked for a common cause.
I would never congratulate Osama or Terry on these lessons because I know that wasn’t their intention; however I would like to thank the countless sources of accurate information. Thank you to the religious leaders, educational instructors, community leaders, journalists and countless authors that speak the truth, rather than those that leech on peoples’ fears.
Now I have a deeper of understanding of one principle: No matter how wrong or how inhuman a person or action is, there is a lesson to be learned.
Hassan Alaouie was born at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan and grew up in Dearborn Heights. Mr. Alaouie attended Crestwood High School and studied Computer Engineering at UofM Dearborn. He is the father of 4, and currently works as a Ford engineer.
- Community Debates Response To Terry Jones
- OOTD Cancels Protest – Condemns Pastor Terry Jones and Prophet Mohammed
- Interfaith Prayer Vigil Set for April 21st
- Mayor O’Reilly Explains Actions While Praising Community Response
- Daddy, I Saw the Mayor Do Something
- Diversity and Peace
- The Evolutionary Hermeneutic and Dearborn
- A Christian Response – Comparing Bible and Koran
- Dearborn Rejects Extremism – Jury Find Jones a Threat to Peace – Arab American News
- First Amendment Applies to Terry Jones – Lansing State Journal
- ACLU Says Jones Ruling Was Blatantly Unconstitutional – Dearborn Patch