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Sep 14

Reflections on 9/11 after a decade: A night of remembrance and reconciliation.

Reflections on 9/11 after a decade: A night of remembrance and reconciliation at Mosaic

It has been 10 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. While much time has passed, images of the tragic events from that fateful day are still in our thoughts. Multicultural Mosaic Foundation hosted a panel discussion in memory of 9/11 and the innocent lives lost, with hopes of continuing the healing process.
The event took place on Saturday, September 10th, 2011 at the MMF headquarters in Aurora, Colorado with the participation of more than 50 Coloradoans. After a reception full of warm welcome, networking and socializing, the participants enjoyed delicious Turkish food. The event was co-sponsored by the Fountain Magazine that contributed with its special issue on 9/11.
As the host, Diane Otsuka welcomed the audience on behalf of the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation (MMF) and introduced the panel “Reflections on 9/11 after a decade” as an important dialogue event and as a night of remembrance and reconciliation. Ms. Otsuka added that 9/11 brought fear to the U.S, but through dialogue we can replace fear with better understanding as we share our hearts and minds. She added that dialogue is a must today. Before the speeches the participants took a minute of silence commemorate victims of 9/11 and Norway.
The four panelists and the highlights of the panel section were as follows:

    Professor Dr. Karen Feste, Professor at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver
    During her speech, Dr. Feste approached the events of 9/11 from an international conflict resolution perspective. She talked about her scholarly contributions to the subject, and finally contrasted the U.S. reactions to terrorism to the Norwegian reactions during recent attacks on civilians in Norway.
    Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav, rabbi of Congregation Har Mishpacha in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and the Project Manager for “9/11 Ten Years After: A Multifaith Response.”
    Rabbi Booth-Nadav reflected on 9/11 with quotes from Torah, and discussed the importance and meaning of choosing life in both blessing and hardship conditions. He asserted that people all over the world stood by the U.S, sharing the feeling of sorrow after 9/11 regardless of their races and religions, and condemning the attacks. The world came together with compassion and unity. While emphasizing the importance of building bridges to make the world a safer place, and he raised the questions of “Is the world safer after 9/11?” and “In the face of 9/11, what does it mean to choose life?”
    Dr. Nader Hashemi, is an Assistant Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.
    Dr. Hashemi talked about how the post 9/11 situation has become crisis-driven and worse particularly in terms of Islam versus West relations while quoting a PEW report on how Muslims and the West see each other. Accordingly, the terrorist threat to the U.S. continues and the anti-Islamic sentiment and the hateful rhetoric of right-wing groups continues. On the other hand, he highlighted the contributions of Muslims to protecting the security in the U.S making a distinction between terrorists and Muslims in general, and the interfaith dialogue efforts that are getting more widespread. Quoting “What does not break you will make you stronger” by Nietzsche, he expressed his hopefulness of the positive spirit of such constructive efforts.
    Ismail Akbulut, MMF president.
    Mr Akbulut made the following points:
    Any terrorist activity is a blow to human dignity, peace and freedom. Such acts cannot be justified in any way. Each life is sacred in the eyes of God. War can only be declared by state, and even in times of war killing civilians are forbidden in Islam. Terrorists who conduct violent acts completely ignore and violate 1400 year of Islamic scholarship. Such violent ideologies are not supported by the larger Muslim populations. Many major religious scholars, such as Fethullah Gülen, condemn such acts who said “A true Muslim cannot be a terrorist, and a terrorist cannot be a Muslim.”
    Only through mutual understanding and respect can we prevent such events as 9/11. US is an experiment of co-existence. This country is an opportunity and proof that mutual co-existence can be successful. Failure of this experiment would be disastrous for a peaceful future for the rest of the world.
    Mr. Akbulut ended his speech by expressing his feelings sorrow and condolences to the victims of 9/11.