September 11, 2001 was the day almost all Americans became aware that radical Islam was at war with the United States. The heinous attacks committed by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists that killed nearly 3,000 innocents on U.S. soil were the catalyst for America to respond militarily to the deadly threat posed by militant Islam.
In April, President Obama signed legislation designating September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. On the surface, this appears benign. Encouraging Americans to remember the attacks is laudable. However, the purpose of this official designation appears to be heavier on "day of service" than "day of remembrance." A statement from President and Mrs. Obama about the day makes one obscure mention in four paragraphs that might be construed as "remembering" the true nature of that infamous day:
"In that same spirit, we call on all Americans to join in service on September 11 and honor the heroes of that dark day..."
The rest of the statement focuses on how and why Americans should become involved in volunteer community service. But, in the Presidential message, there is virtually no other discussion of what happened that tragic day - an unprecedented attack on our homeland by a religiously maniacal enemy bent on our destruction.
And how does the U.S. State Department approach the newly created 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance? A recent State Department cable from the Secretary of State to the many U.S. embassies, consulates and other posts around the world says the Department "encourages posts to consider organizing an Interfaith Day of Service in their host countries as a way to commemorate the anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001."
For those posted in countries with large Muslim populations, the Department recommends that they:
"...send a message of goodwill, cooperation, and shared interest to their host countries and their religious communities. To accommodate posts in countries where Muslims may be observing Ramadan until/about September 19, posts are requested to plan an Interfaith Day of Service between September 11 and October 18, 2009 [emphasis added]. We encourage you to bring together leaders of different religious backgrounds and identify jointly a priority project. Those leaders would encourage their members to join mission employees and resident Americans in working together on a community project. We request that posts keep their regional bureaus informed of their 9/11 commemoration plans so that the information can be made available to interested USG officials and agencies."
The DOS cable purports to tout "interfaith" service efforts, but specific religious references throughout the cable only mention Islam and Muslims.
- Organize a food-drive for the end of Ramadan with religious leaders and citizens in Muslim communities to donate to a local mosque or community, such as this activity in Dubai in 2008...
- The Office of the Special Representative for Muslim Communities (S/SRMC) can be a resource.
A list of Ramadan 2009 outreach materials for Muslim communities can be found at...
This State Department cable is yet another example of the agency engaging in "outreach" activities steeped in a religious context:
The Global Partnership Initiative (S/ GPI ) has developed new tools and talking points for the Department's efforts at the nexus of faith and foreign policy.
"Faith and foreign policy." Yet there is no explanation, at least in this cable, about what that means. The cable does provide an interesting statement indicating what the meaning of 9/11 may be to State's high command:
The Interfaith Day of Service is an opportunity for posts to expand their contact bases, initiate long-term partnerships with civil society, and spread goodwill in observing September 11, 2001 .
Seemingly, to commemorate the anniversary of the worst attack on America in modern times, our State Department will use that commemoration to "spread goodwill" in foreign countries. Given the history of these faith-based outreach efforts that primarily focus on Muslim countries and Islam, that spreading of "goodwill" is aimed mostly at Muslims. On the anniversary of the day radical Islamic jihadists spread massive death and destruction to America, Americans may wonder how much goodwill will be spread to the United States from the "Muslim world."
The State Department has a history of involvement with radical Islamists and of engaging in Islamic-oriented programs that bring into question Constitutional issues related to the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment.