The tragedy of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 brought Americans together to grieve and mourn for the lost. Now 14 years later, the effects are still being felt on an emotional and physical level, in the passing of another anniversary.
The threats of developing toxin-induced cancerous diseases and other serious health problems for thousands who have lived or worked near Ground Zero remain high. This is a direct result of the combination of building dust mixed with hazardous chemicals including lead in pulverized computers, to the mercury in the crushed florescent light bulbs.
According to findings from 911Research, the average decline in lung function experienced by Ground Zero workers was equivalent to 12 years of aging. Furthermore, research has shown that firefighters working to rescue people in the world trade centers are nearly 20 percent more likely to develop cancer in comparison to those who did not operate there.
These far-reaching consequences were the direct result of an attack carried out by al-Qaeda, as the public soon found out. But little did they know the strikes they carried out on 9/11 were far from the first acts of violence.
According to BBC News, al-Qaeda’s history goes back to the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Some might go so far as to equate them as being fighters of freedom, even receiving training and funding from the United States. This was before they diverted their attention from being anti-communist to initiating a socio-religious warfare with surrounding neighbors, and eventually, many others.
Al-Qaeda claims to be an Islamic organization, but often quarrels with others of differing branches within Islam. One of the primary arguments one might make about al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other militant divisions of Islam is that they willfully ignore any text in their Holy Scriptures that might be interpreted as either promoting peace with their neighbors or restricting the use of violence against noncombatants who have no direct threat against them.
According to the Islamic Supreme Council of America, Jihad, or “holy war,” is primarily a battle from within oneself to become a better individual. If it does take military form, it is supposed to only stand when “there is no peaceful alternative… . Innocents–such as women, children, or invalids–must never be harmed, and any peaceful overtures from the enemy must be accepted.” Such text would not support the actions al-Qaeda have taken resulting in the hundreds of civilians they have killed even before 9/11.
There may still be those who have unfavorable feelings towards Islam because of the attacks carried out by terrorists in the name of religion. However, war is a word used 36 times in the Qur’an, while peace is repeated 67 times. Most, if not all, of today’s major religions have peace at a core of their sacred texts. It is merely up to the people living today to carry out the work of establishing this peace and living up to the standards of what their religion truly stands for.