Are We As Devoted As The 9/11 Terrorists?


Were the Islamic terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks crazed fanatics, or were they simply religious men who were deeply devoted to a destructive and deadly cause?

The night before these jihadists committed their ghastly acts, they read a letter written in Arabic giving them their final instructions, including these lines: “Purify your soul from all unclean things. Completely forget something called “this world” [or, “this life”]. The time for play is over and the serious time is upon us. How much time have we wasted in our lives? Shouldn’t we take advantage of these last hours to offer good deeds and obedience?”

In another context, many of us could say “Amen” to these words, but in this context it reminds us of a sad reality: These men were more committed to evil than most of us are committed to good, more serious about their faith (in an unhealthy way) than most of us are about our faith (in a healthy way). What would happen if we were as devoted to restoration as they were to destruction, as committed to saving lives as they were to destroying lives?

Mahatma Gandhi once said that, “A reformer has to sail not with the current. Very often he has to go against it even though it may cost him his life.” Yet some of us aren’t willing to stand up for what is right if it might cost us our reputation, let alone our lives. (Our soldiers, of course, are a notable exception to this, as they risk their lives for freedom.)

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