THE PHOENIX OF MANHATTAN
In the rubble of their shattered dreams our blessed brethren lie
victims of the evil that has darkened freedom's sky
but the Phoenix of Manhattan will surely rise again
from the ashes that will smother the evil deeds of men
Forget us not their spirits cry from where those towers stood
for here we worked and lived and died this was our neighborhood
It's only dust and rubble now, a place of tears and pain
but the Phoenix of Manhattan will make it pure again
Take up the torch of freedom from our lifeless hand
and proudly bear it in our stead throughout this fabled land
hold it high and shed its light for al the world to see
our foes may end our lives and dreams but not our liberty
Go forward now their spirits cry let us not be lost in vain
for the Phoenix of Manhattan is rising once again
to seek the brotherhood of man it's quest will never cease
when mankind lives in harmony then we shall rest in peace
Michael Kenneth Panton, Canada
After nine years I would have expected a concrete, steel and glass "phoenix" in the form of an impressive skycraper to fill in the gap of the New York skyline left with the loss of the towers of the World Trade Center. In time it will come. We know more patience is required.
The "phoenix" of lives of the families who lost a loved ones in that tragedy will take even longer to recover. The gap left in their family constellation may never be filled and yet their lives must ultimately embrace the space as part of their reality and finally move on to continue creating meaningful lives for themselves. For some, this has been achieved, for others, they will need more time. Patience is required.
Today we remember the events of that day nine years ago. We all know where we were when we first learned of the horrific events. We knew life would change for us.
Given the rising tide of islamophobia in the US and Canada, I have been thinking of how hard it has been to be a muslim in North America since 9/11. These 9 years that growing community has been attacked, discriminated against and generally viewed with suspicion.
I never thought I would ever give George Bush credit for anything. In spite of the mistake of refering the search for al- Qaeda a "crusade" (which someone, who knew more about history than he did, corrected) he consistently insisted the United States was not at war with Islam.
Involvement in the attack on the World Trade Center was by men who did not fairly represent Islam. I invite you to read Dr. Cole's comments on this point. "Top Ways 9/11 broke Islamic Law" on his posting on this day.
With the increasing hostilities toward Muslims in the US with the threat to burn the Qur'an, resistance to the location of Mosque's in any neighbourhood around the country, particularily the location of the Islamic Center a couple of blocks from the site of the WTC, one fears that an outbreak of violence against Muslim's in the US cannot be far behind. Might racism inspire lynching in the US once again.
It is time for more of us learn more about Islam and how it is important to our fellow citizens and neighbours who are Muslim. A good place to begin is the read the blog of "30 Mosques in 30 days". This year two muslim men set out to visit 30 mosques across the US within the 30 days of Ramadan. Last year they visited 30 mosques within New York City in 30 days. In their accounts they show that Muslims are part of America. Last years account show the wonderful ethnic diversity among the mosques in New York. We learn that mosques are not exotic and frightening places but very similar to churches where worship is held, along with the community gatherings where good food is shared and people learn about their faith as the worry about maintaining their mosque as a community home for them. Non-muslims with find a familiarity in the wide variety of mosques, which are now well established as a part of the religious mix of institutions in the country. Read about the Mother Mosque, the first established in North America, not in Detroit of New York but in the heartland of the US, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; just as the first one in Canada was established a couple of years later, (with the help of Christians and Jews, in Edmonton, Alberta. Perhaps, it is time to find an excuse to visit a mosque near you and come to know your muslim neighbours better. Muslims are an increasingly important part of both Canada and the United States. Recently, there was an article on the moving of a prefab Mosque built in Winnipeg and now being moved to Inuvik on Canada's Actic coast. The Northern British Columbia Community of Prince George eagerly helped the creation of a mosque so that the professionals who are muslim will settle in their city. Who would have believed it a decade or two ago. Muslim communities above to Arctic Circle. As we say is Canada we extend from "sea to sea to sea".
It is time to resist Islamophobia and reach out to the Muslim community and help them where we can and speak up against those who promote fear and hate.