The Real Challenge Facing America

Two planes attacked the US financial heart. A third attacked our military heart. A fourth, aimed at our political heart, went down in a field, its mission aborted by quick-thinking heroes.

Our leaders rightly regard this as an act of war, planned and executed by Islamic zealots. Osama bin Laden has already declared war -- a jihad (Holy War) on the US in the detailed Fatwah he issued in 1998. Bin Laden and those who follow his teaching believe they are protecting Islam and are doing God's will. They are willing to undertake suicide missions because they believe they will be rewarded by God in paradise.

But is this really God's will?

It seems easy for us to answer. But 900 years ago, Christians set forth to do God's will by wresting the Holy Land from the Muslims. History calls it The Crusades and it lasted nearly two hundred years. Recently, Pope John Paul II apologized on behalf of the Church.

During the Spanish Inquisition, leaders of the Christian church tortured and killed hundreds of people while doing "God's will". Recently, Pope John Paul II apologized on behalf of the Church.

Are we about to repeat these same mistakes?

It would be nice if those who died on September 11 could come back and tell their friends that they were mistaken.

But that's not going to happen. We already have the message. God gave it to the Jews in the Old Testament. Christ gave it to the Christians in the New Testament; the Buddhists and Hindus have it and I am sure it is in the Koran as well.

Christians, Jews and Muslims all believe in a Supreme Being. If any of us is correct, we all have the same God. It is God's will that all humans live together in peace. As difficult as it may be, this is what we must strive for, if we really intend to do God's will.

Pray that the Arab world will recognize this cancer in their midst and take the initiative to call for its removal. Then let us all work together to rebuild and to re-educate the hundreds of people that have been ensnared by this faulty ideology.

We are outraged and rightly so, but America must not emulate the terrorists by killing innocent people and risk alienating the entire Arab world with an ever-increasing hatred and an escalating level of retaliation.

For us to attack Afghanistan, bombing its cities and killing its innocent people - already devastated by Russia and the Taliban, while bin Laden hides out in the hills, is not an answer to this problem. It certainly is NOT God's will.

Furthermore, the enemy is not concentrated in a far-off Asian country. It is planted among us, and the eventual victory will be won with the ideology of freedom and not with weapons of destruction.

While we search the rubble for evidence of those who attacked our nation, let us not forget that the 19 individuals who were directly responsible are all dead. They expected to be welcomed as martyrs and rewarded with a special place in Paradise, but instead of heavenly celebrations, they encountered only sadness and an eternity of regret for their misguided actions.

Those who helped them and cheer their "success" need to know the truth.

Bruce Walthers