Twenty years ago, the world froze as we came face to face with true terror. From the front lines, to behind a TV screen, so many of us watched the pain that unfolded in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. We were trying to grasp what had just happened. Nearly two decades later, I still feel like we are trying to comprehend what happened that day and the events that followed.
Leading up to this tragedy, while working in the Netherlands, my doubts about Islam were growing. 9/11 forced me to confront those doubts head-on. My path as an infidel progressed. I could no longer be quiet—I had to speak out.
Thankfully, in the years that have followed, others have also raised their voice. One of those voices is my dear friend Asra Nomani, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, author of several books, and founder of the “Muslim Women’s Freedom Tour.” Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, she has fought tirelessly to bring much-needed reform to Islam. She led a controversial mix-gender prayer in New York City in 2005 and insisted on the right to pray in the male-only hall of her mosque in Morgantown, WV. This month, she wrote about her experiences and the status of the Muslim reform movement for our blog.
Another person who has fought for similar change is Ibn Warraq, the “Godfather” of the ex-Muslim movement. An ex-Muslim himself, Warraq has penned numerous books about Islam and is one of the first critics of the religion. Even before 9/11, Warraq warned of the dangers of Islamic extremism. On the 20th anniversary of the attacks, he explains the current state of Islamism in the world and how it affects the U.S.
While there is still so much ground to cover in this fight, I am eternally grateful for people like Asra, Ibn, and the many others who have spoken out against Islamism. Without them, there would be no pushback against this rising threat.
And let us never forget the thousands of lives that were lost nearly 20 years ago. While we can’t change the past, your backing helps us build a better future, and I can’t thank you enough for that.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Founder