11 September 2013

Lighting a Candle for Mohammed Shajahan

Twelve years ago, American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 AM. When this happened, it took out the 93rd and 99th floors and all those in between. Marsh & McLennan occupied the 93rd through the 100th floors of the North Tower.

On that morning, all 295 employees and 63 contractors of Marsh & McLennan Companies, an insurance brokerage and risk management firm, lost their lives.

In a matter of milliseconds, a group of cowards murdered those wives, husbands, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and cherished ones. Mohammed Shajahan was one of them.

I first heard about Project 2,996 three years ago. This project is a way to help memorialize those who died on September 11, 2001, and for us to learn about those people who lost their lives. I wrote about Mohammed during a time of social upset in our country. The news media was working everyone up into a frenzy over a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center attacks and some idiot pastor in Florida was threatening to burn a pile of Qur'ans. So I chose to memorialize Mohammed Shajahan as a way of showing people that it wasn't nearly 3,000 white, American Christians who were murdered that day. The people murdered were of many backgrounds, including Muslim.

And here we are, three years later, TWELVE years later, still beating our chests in hysterical fear of anything having to do with Islam (Syria, the Million Muslim March, Iran, hijabs, and on and on). And so it will go until our generation, the generation who lived through these attacks or who watched these horrible acts played out on our TV screens, is dead and turned to dust.

From the few bits I've gleaned on line, I've learned that Mohammed, who was a computer administrator for Marsh & McLennan, was also very much a family man. The comments left on the memorial written by his company are heartbreaking. There, you see what his children and friends had to say about him and I cry each time I read them.

im one of his daughter's best friend and they always seem so myserable thinking about thier dad. i feel really bad for them and im always trying to comfort them by anyway. 

I am an ex-employee of Marsh. It is a great company to work for. I used to meet Mr Shahjahan quiet often. I always remember his words. He used offer prayers in his office. May god bless him.  

I know he was well-loved and was a wonderful father, husband, and friend. His children looked up to him and still miss him terribly. I'm sure today will be difficult for them.

Since first writing about Mohammed, I have remembered him every year by lighting a candle. I wait to see his name scroll across the bottom of the morning news shows every September 11th and I cry for his loved ones still left here on Earth. I vow to someday visit the World Trade Center Memorial and place a flower on his name. I think about that awful September day and hope that during my children's lifetimes, those of the Muslim faith will again be embraced with open arms by our countrymen.

Someday, there will be no fear. No sadness. No hatred. No generalizations. Someday, Mohammed's grandchildren and great-grandchildren will practice their faith in America without worry or trepidation.

I wish today was that day.


Michael from dadcation.com said...

I think this is cool.

Anonymous said...

As a nation, we need to begin to understand that most people who practice and believe in Islamic religions are peaceful and probably friendly if we get to know them. I believe that the United States majorities as we have known them will change gradually over time and white, Christian America will not be a majority group here. This isn't a bad thing at all. I am sorry for your grief and wish it were not necessary. Perhaps all of us can learn to live in peace someday. I know that will not be in my life-time.