Today across America we remember the deaths of nearly 3000 people who lost their lives in the attacks of September 11, 2001.
We should also remember the deaths of close to 50,000 Afgans and nearly 1,500,000 Iraqis who subsequently lost their lives in the aftermath.
Not to mention the 3000+ US and allied soldiers who have died in Afghanistan or the approximately 4500 US soldiers killed in Iraq.
All because of the criminal actions of 15 Saudis, 2 men from the Arab Emirates, 1 Egyptian, and 1 Lebanese.
Who were not by any means crazy or stupid. They were intelligent capable men who had a goal and worked very hard to achieve that goal. Their motivations were not due to greed or nationalism or insanity. Their motivation was hate.
Hate fueled by an unblinking and unquestioning faith motivated by a man of suspect character and motivation.
And what they did was merely the first stanza of a malediction on the world that continues to this day.
A malediction that continues in the collapse of two nation states and the destabilization of countless others.
A malediction that continues in the spread of a criminal organization that claims to be a legitimate government spreading terror and false faith.
A malediction that continues in the displacement and deaths of thousands of people, creating one of the worst humanitarian aid crisis since World War 2.
A malediction that continues in a lack of justice for those who actually supported the criminals.
A malediction that continues in our failure to look at our own complicity in the crimes.
A malediction that continues in the irrational fear of Islam and people of the Middle East in the US, which leads to unprovoked assaults on people in our street for the crime of being brown.
A malediction that will continue for decades to come.
All because a tiny group of people failed to actually read their sacred texts.
All because a tiny group of people failed to question their religious leaders.
All because a tiny group of people accepted what they were told because it fit in with what they already believed.
All because a tiny group of people accepted a distorted false faith rather than try to actually think.
All of this could have been avoided.
Believe, but think.
Listen, but question.
Have a faith strong enough to change.