Dear NYDIS Members & Partners:
Sunday’s killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has evoked many reactions. He was a fanatical global terrorist who among his many crimes against humanity, instigated the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, the bombing of the USS Cole, and the September 11th attacks. He was an unrepentant mass murderer, and he has paid the ultimate price for his crimes. We regret that he will not receive justice in a court of law, but he will be judged by God, and that may bring some solace to those who have suffered.
Americans, and New Yorkers in particular, have lived in fear of him for a decade, and while his perversions of Islam have brought untold hardship to many Muslims across the globe, we pray for and live in the hope that justice, peace and truth may prevail.
We are mindful of the extraordinary efforts and sacrifice of so many Americans in the days, months and years following September 11, 2001. Through your generosity, NYDIS is proud to have helped lead 9/11 recovery efforts and to alleviate the pain and suffering of the victims’ families, survivors, and the tens of thousands of recovery workers who now suffer from toxic exposure at Ground Zero. Many have rebuilt their lives, but we must remember that many thousands continue to struggle with the impact of 9/11 physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The death of Osama Bin Laden does not lessen that grief; his death does not restore the enormous losses resulting from 9/11 or other terrorist attacks or the subsequent violence of war. As people of faith, we do not celebrate the death of any human being, even of one who caused such devastation and destruction. But we do hope his death will bring some relief from the fear and anger and pain felt by those who have lost so much.
On behalf of the many New York City faith communities that are our members, we join our government in cautioning Americans and the global community to embrace our Muslim neighbors and employ terrorism mitigation and preparedness best practices to shield ourselves from those who would do us all harm.
In the days following 9/11, New York showed itself to be a most compassionate and caring community. Let us celebrate that and reach out to all who suffer in the face of disaster and adversity. Let us come to their aid, showing them compassion, bringing them hope, and help to heal this broken world. As we pursue justice, let us also sow peace, and let the legacy of 9/11 be increasing liberty and justice for all.
Ruth Yoder Wenger, Executive Vice-President & the NYDIS Board of Directors