Official Statement from
the Islamic center of Blacksburg
In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate
To our brothers and sisters, members of the Blacksburg family:
We, as Muslims, denounce and resent the cowardly and
inhumane killing of the innocent civilians on Sept. 11.
As members of the American family, we are hurt and feel the pain as a
result of the regretful tragedies of Tuesday.
As members of the Blacksburg family, we feel blessed being part of a
peaceful, loving, and caring community.
Many Citizens of this neighborhood have showered us with their notes of
support, caring phone calls and e-mails, and lovely flower bouquets over
this past week. We live in peace, fully integrated, in the communities
of Blacksburg and Virginia Tech. Terror is, and must remain, our common
We thank God first and all members of this community from the bottom of
our hearts for this bounty, especially those who have expressed their
support and love. We have shared these flowers with our neighbors, the
town, and the university offices in recognition and appreciation of the
important role they play in maintaining Blacksburg and Virginia Tech as
a peaceful and friendly community.
We stand for peace and justice. We call on all involved, especially the
leaders in charge, to exercise restraint and self control. The criminals
behind the crime must be brought to justice through the acknowledged
The Islamic Center of Blacksburg Shura [Advisory] Council Blacksburg
Doantion Campaign for
In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate
In these difficult times, We thank Allah for the effort put forth by
many Islamic Organizations world-wide and the US. It is our observation
that CAIR has been working day and night to stay on top of the
We are sure that many of you
appreciate the role CAIR is playing.
Although we did not see a donation request from CAIR,
We are calling on all Muslims to show their appreciation to CAIR in the
form of a donation.
We are certain that their budget is stretched to the limit and they can
use our financial support to keep up their work for the sake of Allah.
Please donate. Even one dollar.
It all adds up and it is for the sake of Allah. Jazakum
Put your donation in an envelop marked "CAIR" in the donation box in
your Masjid and ask your Masjid treasurer to forward it to CAIR (Masjid
Al-Hedaya in Blacksburg).
Please Circulate widely.. to your
friends and Islamic Centers.
The Islamic Center of Blacksburg, Blacksburg, Virginia
Copyright (c) 2001, Roanoke Times
DATE: Sunday, September 16, 2001 TAG: 0109170140
SECTION: CURRENT PAGE: NRV2 EDITION: NEW RIVER
COLUMN: ELIZABETH OBENSHAIN
SOURCE: ELIZABETH OBENSHAIN EDITORIAL WRITER
GUARDING AGAINST OUR OWN HATRED AFTER THE ATTACK
A pervasive sense of sadness seemed so out of place on this September
afternoon. The last blazing day lily of the summer was blooming in the
yard. My tiger-striped cat lazed in the slanting afternoon sunlight.
It was a perfect day.
Terrorism, however, strikes at the very ordinariness of our lives. It
shatters our sense of well-being. It disrupts our comfort in going to
the office, in climbing on an airplane, in sending our children off to
work in the big city.
If we measure terrorism's success by its ability to instill fear and
disrupt lives, many of its victims here in the New River Valley have
been families and students from the Middle East.
It was jarring to open Wednesday's newspaper and read that Virginia Tech
had counseled these students to lay low. Administrators feared some
mindless act of vengeance could be directed against these students
following Tuesday's horrific attacks in New York and Washington.
What conveniently short memories some Americans have. It was only 10
years ago that we felt such love for our Middle Eastern allies that we
went to war for them in the Persian Gulf. Now some Americans want to
lump everyone from this vast, fractious region into one guilty group.
It's human nature that the worse the crime, the more urgent our need to
find someone quickly to blame and punish. It's understandable, but it
can also lead to injustice and tragedy.
Even as we rail against terrorists driven by hatred, we must guard
against falling victim to mindless hate ourselves. Families and
students living amongst us who are Muslim or Middle Eastern are no more
to blame for fringe terrorist cells linked to Osama bin Laden than the
average Buffalo, N.Y., native is responsible for a hometown boy named
Sedki Riad, a leader in Blacksburg's Islamic community and a professor
of electrical engineering at Tech for 22 years, spoke for fellow Muslims
this week in denouncing Tuesday's murder of innocent people.
"Definitely, everyone feels the hurt and the pain and the sorrow for
Fortunately, Blacksburg and the New River Valley have remained quiet,
free so far of incidents against Islamic centers or Arab nationals
reported in other communities. Riad said: "People here are very
understanding and caring. We get nothing but support."
But many families do feel insecure. Graduate students worry that their
children will be harassed at school. Wives wonder whether it's safe to
wear their chador or head scarves to Kroger. Will their differentness
Those of us in the community should not be satisfied with mere
passivity. We should extend a hand, a word to reassure those foreign
students in our midst that they are secure and welcome here.
At Virginia Tech, the Cranwell International Center still has a waiting
list of students from all parts of the world hoping for a host family
who will invite them into their homes. It's an opportunity like no
other to learn how much we share with other peoples and to understand
how other nations see America.
We learned a painful lesson this week about our vulnerability to
terrorism. How shameful if we use this tragedy as an excuse to terrorize
vulnerable families in our midst. This tragedy has evoked so much of
what is best in the American spirit. Let us not dishonor that spirit by
showing what is meanest.
Beth Obenshain can be reached at 381-1645 or