As an American Muslim, the terror inflicted on America on September 11, 2001 struck me on many levels. The terrorists hijacked planes and my religion to attack my country and killed over 3,000 of my fellow Americans in the process. For me, it quickly matured my life-long mission to preserve the principles that founded the United States, and it made far more urgent the need to demonstrate to my fellow Muslims that the tenets of genuine liberty and freedom as they exist in America are integral to our faith.
Now, eight years after the attacks we, as a nation, continue to ignore the writing on the wall only to fall further and further behind in the contest of ideas. There seems to be a spreading denial over the threat and yet, it is obviously not going away. Just in the past few months, we have seen homegrown terror cells arrested in North Carolina and New York. And, over 30 attacks have been prevented since 9/11 – all of which have only one thing in common- the ideology of militant Islamism which fuels the radical Muslims who plotted them.
What has been lost in the public debate since the attacks is that terrorism is just the symptom of a much larger ideological struggle. American families need to realize that on every front from government, to media, to education, and business, today we face a national and global conflict between individual liberty and political Islam. Make no mistake: Islamists are at odds with Western civilizations and will use all the tools available to them to dominate. The militant Islamists will hijack planes and detonate bombs while the lawful Islamists will institute Sharia courts in Great Britain or exaggerate the victimization of American Muslims. Ultimately, Americans are then taken off course of our advocacy for liberty and against Islamism while the Islamists' advance their own agenda seeking to erode public confidence in our institutions and our way of life. Their dreams of an Islamic state stand in stark contrast to the American dream which we should be teaching our families. It may sound farfetched to some, but read the writings of the Muslim Brotherhood. Islamists are patient and take a long view of history. They know that while death by a thousand cuts is not quick, it still is death.
Islamism is growing in America. In 2009, we saw Hizb ut-Tahrir go public with their convention in Chicago and actively and openly recruit followers to bring an end to our way of life. Yet our government is still quibbling over the language we will use to describe our efforts against their ideology which fuels terrorism.
The Obama Administration has naively called for a "Day of Service" this 9/11. At AIFD, we are calling for a "Day of Remembrance and Vigilance." Americans must remember the horror of 9/11 and must be vigilant in not allowing Political Islam to wear down the principles that built our country. American Muslims in particular must be vigilant in protecting our faith from Islamists and act upon our responsibility to lead the national effort against Islamism while providing our own families an alternative to political Islam.