Reflections – Twenty Years After 9-11

Yasir Qadhi


Channel: Yasir Qadhi

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like to move on to our second

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presenter and that's Dr. emem shave heavy. Yes sir coffee. I've known shakey Assa for a long time we visit, sometimes like ships passing in the night I was leaving New Haven and he was coming in to do his PhD at Yale University. But despite that, and other near misses, we've been able to stay in touch over the over the decades and he's always been someone who has never shied away from doing the unpopular thing, nor the uncomfortable thing. And that takes a lot of courage. And so we commend him for that if you'd like to add anything biographically he's a very studious scholarly person. If I shared in short, we could have asked shakey SEO to recite the Quran is also accorded and Halford

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amongst many other accolades, titles and accomplishments are no longer Tyler, preserve him for this community. And in the magic yielded four minutes of his time to use. Dr. Yes, stuffed

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shout was

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Bismillah Rahim al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen. We began by praising Allah subhana wa tada the one and the unique. It is He alone that we worship, and it is His blessings that we seek. He is the Lord of the oppressed, and he answers the call of the week hamdulillah I don't really have any biographical information to add I am Abdur mood enable for theater, I am some somebody who mullahs has blessed to conceal his sins from the eyes of the people. And so because of that, they have assumed about me things that I'm not worthy of. And so I asked Allah to forgive me for their assumptions, and to keep all of us straight and guided and to protect our sins and faults. And it's

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very honor, it's a big honor for me to be amongst such giants and luminaries, I believe that I'm the youngest speaker. And this shows the personal bond that you have in me I am not qualified to be amongst people that are senior to me, and I am and wisdom and age, because I keep on saying that. actual knowledge isn't just book knowledge is also wisdom. And wisdom is not something you learned from reading. It comes from life experiences, and I keep on telling our youngsters that they need to respect our elders, even if some of them might think they have more book knowledge. They can quote other things. But our elders have the wisdom that comes from years of experience in life and from

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events like, like 911. And so this leads me straight segue straight into the topic here that you know, how to lead really is difficult to imagine. 20 years have gone by, since that, since that tragedy, as they say the entire world changed. And I was actually in the first year of my master's program in Saudi Arabia and Medina. I was actually in Medina, I had just come back the week before and Subhanallah was unless other because if I hadn't been on that flight, I would have been stuck in America for at least half a year because the flights were were canceled, especially Saudi Arabia. So Alaska has returned to Medina, and literally was my first semester of the of the master's program.

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And I saw the Twin Towers fall in my neighbor's TV. I didn't have a TV back then in Medina, and literally everything you know, as they say changed. But let's jump straight to the topic at hand your us Muslims, obviously, we are very familiar with the reaction to 911, with the Islamophobia with the utilization of our religion, in presidential campaigns with the demonization of the oma of our texts of even our Prophet salallahu it he was setting him everybody is familiar with the false invasions that took place, the trillions of dollars that were spent the hundreds of 1000s of lives, perhaps even millions of lives, that were lost as a result of the tragedies that were perpetrated as

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as a defense mechanism of 911 we're also of course, very familiar with the immediate backlash that happened upon us and our families. And, and the difficulties that all of us have and imams aid, you reference this, you know, obliquely, if you like, indirectly in your own book, club deema where there are things that we can't even say, and even the political facts, many of us find it awkward to mention, because when we talk about those facts, we talk about the lives lost.

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In the trillions spent, it is as if it is as if it is perceived that we are a bit loud, we seek others refuge justifying or even sympathizing with the tragedies of 911. But, you know, I posted this flyer on my Facebook page, and Hamdulillah, I have millions of people following and somebody from avani Stan posted and it's on my page, you can look at it right now, somebody from a blondest on posted as a response to this flyer about this event. And he said, for us, we don't really think of 911 as one tragedy for us every day for the last 25 years has been a 911. That's what he posted. And it's it's something that we all understand as the Muslim community. But when we try to express

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those sentiments, wanted to try to contextualize the after effects, much less the precursors to not only 11 it becomes very dangerous territory. And many of us perhaps understandably shy away from talking about the political realities of that event, the precursors to and the after effects of that particular event. And my particular position is that, you know, perhaps it is wise that the religious clergy do not become the norm Chomsky is of the of the oma, because Can you imagine if Imam Zaid, were to espouse the the radical views of Chomsky, can you imagine a religious figure becoming, you know, somebody that's, that's spouting forth, that type of rhetoric, frankly, we

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worried that perhaps your mom's aid would literally go down the route of Malcolm X, in his ending because the world cannot take such truths. As the famous line goes in that movie, you can't handle the truth. So even if chefs and Imams and clerics have to speak obliquely, as I am doing right now, as as the moms they did at the beginning, the least that we can do is to make sure our communities are aware of these ideas of the context of the precursors of the after effects, even if I cannot speak directly about that, because it's perhaps not wise. And by the way, wisdom is a part of our *tier. It is it is a part of our Suna to be wise in who says what sometimes the messenger and I

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mean messenger by small m, sometimes the messenger does ruin the message because of who that messenger is. And so perhaps the messenger himself shouldn't speak the message, but should facilitate others to speak the message. And we see this even with the messenger capital M himself. So the law Why did he was seldom when he sometimes chose not to do things that were right to do, for example, the Treaty of Arabia and the famous incident even before this in Makkah, when rootsweb Nairobi, I came and challenged him at the beginning of the Dawa, and said to him that Yeah, Mohammed saw Selim your message, who do you think you are to preach it? And then he asked the question, and

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to hire on Ogden muttalib. Do you think your bread better than I've done without Him? Do you think you are wiser and more knowledgeable than your grandfather, Abdulmutallab? And this question to our ears is heretical, are you out of your minds? You're comparing Rasulullah sallallahu? How do you send them to somebody who was not a pure Muslim? Even if you might have been a Hanif? He was not a person upon either an RP there was not a messenger for sure. Are you out of your mind to ask the question, but in Jai Hedy society, in pre Islamic Arabia, there is no question that Abdul muttalib is the legend. And so there is no comparison. And our Prophet system could have answered, of course,

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I'm better. And every one of us would have cheered at that answer. But you see, that is where prophetic wisdom comes in, which teaches us that perhaps not every messenger, small m needs to be the messenger of every single fact, at that very difficult question. Our Profit System chose to be silent and did not respond to that question, because for him to say the truth at that point in time, would have actually harmed the bigger message that he's preaching. So my point here, as I begin, I fully sympathize with your mom's aides, indirect references. And I also endorse those indirect references and the political context. And we're simply going to jump over all of that, because

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sometimes their religious clergy, those that are already in trouble for other things, and for other stances, whether it's their morality issues, or whether it's their other issues that are unpopular to society, perhaps they shouldn't be the the most active political activists. And so we say very clearly 911 and the event that happened on it was indeed a tragedy. It was an Islamic, it was unethical, it was unjust, regardless of whatever political grievances that existed before that action was unjustified. And regardless of how much injustice exponentially was caused as a result of that injustice. It was all wrong. And let's just leave it at that before I move on to my next

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points. And that is that we firmly believe as Muslims that there's no such thing as pure evil, that out of evil, sometimes some positives can occur as well. And that's what makes us believers, we find optimism we find the light at the end of the tunnel, we firmly

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Believe that even when a negative incident happens, that we gain from it, and we benefit from it, and we look at that positive. And so when we look back at the last 20 years, let me summarize in three simple points what I feel, as somebody who was active in dow I just became active, you know, in the mid 90s, a few years before, not as much as everybody else on this call, who definitely has many more decades pre 911 I was my first football was 93 1993 and a four. And I was giving lectures and talks throughout the 90s. And so I just caught that iraq tianyi that era, but of course, it was 911 that, you know, change the course for all of us. So I did, I was active, free, and of course

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posts. So looking at those last 25 years of my own activities, my personal reflection summarized in three points and then inshallah I'll hand the mic back. First and foremost, some of the things that I believe the oma really

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changed after 911 number one, the intellectual maturation of the, of the American Muslim leadership, you know, tragedies, tragedies actually forced you to become mature and strong, just like the orphan loses both parents just like the Prophet sallallahu Sallam became an orphan. There's a divine wisdom in that orphanage, there's a in that orphaning of that child, there's a divine wisdom, if you wanted to become who you were to become Yasuda law, you needed to go to tragedy after tragedy after tragedy. And so just like the orphan, loses the parents, and we feel sad, and sorry, yet it is that orphan that rises from the ashes and becomes rasulillah, Han, Han and bi when we're studying, so

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that tragedy forces anybody to mature up and to think critically. And specifically, our Muslim community matured in many, many, many ways, far more than I can have even time to go over. And maybe even things I haven't even thought about. I mean, off the top of my head, first and foremost, our identities. I remember clearly as the son of immigrants is born and raised in this country, I remember clearly that we had to make a decision post 9:11am I really American are nuts. And to me, and one of the effects of 911, personally, is that I was in Saudi Arabia, I was set to become the first American to do a PhD from the University of Medina ever in its history, I was on track to do

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that the first Westerner, actually to do a PhD. 911 was actually so personal to me. And I say this, very frankly, I never felt more of an affinity for my people of this land for the country. I was born and raised. And I never felt a greater affinity right after that, that that day, because I realized my future is not over here in a foreign land far, far away. Even if it's the holy city of Medina, My future is here amongst my people amongst the language I speak and the culture I'm born with. And so that caused me to finish up my Masters submit my dissertation, the day I submitted the dissertation, I told my advisor in my faculty, you know, I'm going back to America, and they were

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shocked. But that's the reason 911 was my personal motivation for me to leave that track, and then come back to the states and do my PhD over here. The point is that many of us, quote unquote, children of immigrants, we realize we might be children of immigrants, but we are a part of this land. And to me, that is very important. That psychological framework, that shift of taking ownership of this is our land, we're not going anywhere we're not. And even if it's for better or for worse, the fact that we're planting our flags here, metaphorically and physically, and we're realizing this is what is at stake here. It's a shift of a mindset that did not exist pre 911, as

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well, that maturation I'm talking about, we realize that we're all in this together, we realized that regardless of the sectarian differences that were rampant in the 90s, anybody who was active in the 90s, is well aware of the Sufi selfie divide or of this and that divider of the ht, and the Deobandi all of these were very demarcated factions of Islam, post 911, many of us had a wake up call, and imaams aid is a testimony to this, even if some of us were active in some, you know, interpretation of Islam, we tried our best to minimize those differences. We work to build bridges. In fact, 10 years ago, imaams aid you and I and imagine we're on United for change platform that was

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expressly meant to bring together different, you know, strands of Islam and different strands, that would not have happened pre 911. And so 911 cause many of us to understand that we are one oma and we need to work not just interfaith but intra faith and also inter cultural as well. And obviously a lot still has to be done. But again, let's be frank here compared to the 80s and 90s. And what my father tells me what the 70s compared to that era, there is no question that we are far more understanding of our ethnic divided differences. And a lot of work is being done between the quote unquote suburbian massages and the inner city massages. Yes, a lot more.

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has to be done. We're far from perfect. But the thing is both sides, both of these massages understand the need, and the pros and cons of, of coming together. And there is a much greater understanding that there needs to be, there are talents on both sides and the resources on both sides. And so there's active cooperation, dare I say, in most American cities, of course, a lot more has to be done. But let's go back to the 90s, when there was a silent wall, let's be honest, again, there was that that division between the the inner city and between the suburbian massages, and we're not working to make sure that those divisions are minimized. Also, by the way, the issue of

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political activism. And that's a very key point of post 911. That, I think as well, I mean, again, I grew up in the 80s and 90s. And during that timeframe, the norm was to hear this notion of voting is how long it was the default in most suburbian massages, and our Imams and chefs from us heart and from other places, you know, there was this identity of, you know, shear, we shouldn't really get involved in the system too much all of this change post 911. Because we realized, if we wanted to impact the community, if we wanted to protect our civil rights, there is no way to do so other than to get involved in the political process. You never really hear it's not mainstream at all anymore

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to hear this notion of voting is how that's literally out the window. Those folks, I'm still, I'm sure they're around somewhere. But I mean, that notion is pretty much thrown out the window, forget voting is out on the question outcomes, okay, which is the lesser of the two evil candidates and whatnot. So it's a different level of dynamics, and we're still maturing, but we are maturing way faster than any other community. So my point being, again, so much can be said, but I wanted to give it back to our esteemed elders and seniors. But I think we also need to look at where our future lies in this in this very difficult time and scenario, and Alhamdulillah. You know, yes, there's a

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lot to be worried about. But hamdulillah on many fronts, the future is very, very bright. There's an increased awareness of our Islamic identity of our American heritage. If you like the fact that this is our land and country, there is a sense of maturity and wisdom about, you know, the notion of we need to get involved in civic issues and social issues. Again, a lot can be done. But let's be honest, in the 90s, you didn't have this notion of, of activism and of being socially productive in your community, it really wasn't there, you didn't have Muslim lead. clerics and leaders by and large, obviously, there are exceptions to this rule. But generally speaking, you did not have this

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awareness of Islam being more than just rituals and theology rather is it is also a faith that must contribute to the lands that is living in. So there has been a lot of positives that have come from from within our community and inshallah a lot more to look forward to. And with that, inshallah handed back to our esteemed guests and speakers, which is Aquila, who was said, I want to come back to LA heat water catch. Liquid center, Morimoto, he was a cat with

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DARPA. Yes, yeah.

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One thing you said made me reflect on where I was on 911. I was in Syria, locked inside of a Master's studying for exams, because the messages, they locked up between prayers, so I just told him lock me and no one will bother me. And not even my wife. I think she's online. So the screen goes black.

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And so the neighborhood kids, they start banging on the doors, banging on the shakes, he said, You know, they blew up the Sears Tower in the World Trade Center and the man, the list is long. You got to come out and go get the man that he unlocked. And I never wants us. Our apartment had a satellite hookup. I never wants to use that until that day. And I woke up and and whoever it was on CNN, was talking to Tom Clancy. And

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no, he said, Tom, is this life imitating art because he wrote a novel? Yeah. So that's who I was. And I also had that that epiphany in terms of belonging, I was, I was an extremely anti American person.

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The first thing I thought was like the community, they need us. And we'd exactly say something intelligent. I don't know, I wrote something in the sea high and you guys should do A, B, C, and D. And a lot of people said they appreciated that. But this isn't about me. It's about

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the shade. Yeah. So let me let me start this discussion by working in a question from one of the viewers and

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miss someone in the house who to bring me some water because I'm getting a leg cramp. I get that one. I don't drink enough water. I don't want to be grimacing

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On the screen,

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but a question who asked and this, this will let me start with something you said shaky. So you mentioned how the messenger and might not be appropriate for some life one night, someone like myself for yourself, or any of the panelists to say something like, and I'm saying this

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just factually that 911 has has led to two disasters wars,

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that have resulted in the deaths of a million Muslims. And I'll say a 4 million Muslims can be killed anywhere, most of those civilians, and we're not able to speak about it. I think we create a void that's going to be filled

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critical race theory is going to be filled by desires to find other avenues to express that deep desire for justice. So I think it's very important that we talk about this but and here's where the question comes in. One of the sisters who was doing was asking, How can we talk about those things, without either

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creating a deep spirit of anti Americanism

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in our children?

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On the one hand, so I'll just start with that. You know, I think the way that we do it that we do it factually, with no bitterness with the desire to help this country, heal and be better, because there are

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Afghanis Iraqi Somalis.

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But this country is dying the spiritual death. Yes, as a result afforded to doing J.

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Say that we want to

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do some truth telling at Cornell Cornell West likes to say that so shaky so you start, you bite into that and everyone jump in. J, I think there was a bit of a misunderstanding. Obviously, I myself have been extremely vocal in my own hot tub in my own lectures about many of these issues. I actually give a hold recently about this. And I'm going to give another one actually, this Friday, about the after effects of 911. I just gave a talk last month about an honest sign. And I was very clear that the entire war on terror became a war of terror that was engineered for financial gain. I mean, I was very clear about this. But my point was that not every mom feels comfortable becoming

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that bitter or that not bitter, sorry, that politically blunt and understandably, people's tolerance is different and and just like fitna to halco corallian, is some people caved under some people use DoDEA. We can't expect every amount of shift. So my point was those that decide to be silent, at least facilitate other voices to be given to your community. Right. that's point number one. Point number two. Let's be brutally honest here. Even you and I have a red line that we're not going to cross, you hinted at some of that stuff in your own demo, right? We're not going to go down certain things. Why did you say that? Because we are all cognizant that there are a lot of unanswered

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questions, just leave it that way. It's not the best use of my and your

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acceptably amongst the people to have that tainted or destroyed by going down things that are not the wisest for us to do. The same goes for the more awkward question, which is factually correct, of the causes of the tragedy of 911. Now I've taught an entire, you know, nine years at university is to teach a course called Jihad and fundamentalism, right? That was the title of my course. And in that course, I was able to explain and contextualize and go into detail about where this is coming from, and the political motivations. It is well nigh impossible in a 20 minute lecture for the average person in this country to even begin to understand the causes of 911. They're not coming out

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of a vacuum. The minute you begin talking about that the immediate suspicion is you're justifying and you're contextualizing right? Sorry, I'm not contextualizing validating. They don't understand that you're contextualizing in order to avoid a future tragedy. So that was my point. shahana I got no, that's very clear.

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He can't