A Prayer For The Victims of September 11th and All Terrorist Attacks

I remember the September 11th terrorist attacks clearly and before I can answer what I was doing, I offer a prayer for the victims, which include innocent American Muslims. That day is unforgettable, as it is for most Americans who were old enough to recall. As a young analyst in the U.S. Government, I happened to be on a military base when I watched the planes shatter glass and destroy thousands of lives in New York city. I watched in horror and then was pulled into secret vaults.

Senior commanders asked me point-blank: Who did this? How did this happen? What were the warning signs?

As the only Muslim American woman on that base at that time, everyone wanted explanations.

I had few answers, except that something was about to happen. Listening to and watching terrorist propaganda material and reading literature for months and years had made it clear that Al Qaeda, the kingpin of terror groups back then, was planning something. And it would be big. 

How did I know?

The 1993 World Trade Center bombings was an indication of Al Qaeda’s capability and willingness to perpetrate a lethal attack. And the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Africa also proved the terror group’s ability to conduct a multi-pronged attack. They had mastered the art of surprise. 

I spent days on the military base helping to reconstruct the intelligence assessments I had drafted with other seasoned analysts. I tried to remember what we said to the White House and senior staff in the defense and intelligence community. 

The truth is that I wanted answers, too. And being Muslim didn’t mean I could paint a complete picture of the attacks. 

When I was able to safely return home, I continued my work alongside an elite group of analysts and operators inside the Counter-Terrorism Center. We worked tirelessly looking for clues and put together an investigation–a portfolio that read like a thriller novel.

The ugliest truth of terror attacks is that innocent people die. But they are a stark reminder of why it’s important to prevent other attacks, and for me, the search involves education. While knowledge, alone, does not end extremism, it is the first step to raising awareness about Islam–how a lived, peaceful Islam is not the hateful narrative of radical Islam.

To read the complete story, goto Invisible Martyrs.

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