Editorial: Inappropriate Link Between Terrorism and Hajj

February 24, 2003

Source: The Washington Post


On February 24, 2003 The Washington Post printed an editorial by Mona Eltahawy stating that "males 16 and over from 25 nations -- all Muslim or Arab, with the exception of North Korea -- must register under the program, which began in September. It is aimed at temporary foreign visitors who present 'increased national security concerns...' I feel a disconnect between what our beliefs and lives are actually like and what we hear they are like in government statements and news reports... Similarly, I've had to remind myself over the past few days what hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage, means to me and other Muslims for whom it is one of the highest pillars of our religion... When Attorney General John Ashcroft raised the country's alert status from 'elevated risk' to 'high risk,' he made the connection between terror and hajj and the holiday that marks the end of the pilgrimage season, Eid al-Adha... the attorney general took the highlight of the Muslim calendar and rendered it a blip on the terrorist radar. Never mind that 2 million Muslims converged peacefully on Mecca and its environs for the five-day ritual that symbolizes spiritual cleansing and rebirth. Once again, because of the 19 men behind the horrors of Sept. 11, 2001, our faith is relevant only for its terror quotient."