Standing Hand in Hand
September 26, 2001

Dear Friends:

I am back from Vacation. It was a very hard one because of what happened in New York
and Washington. We were 41 Americans in visit in Poland when the criminal terrorist attack
took place. You can imagine our shock and our frustrations, I never wept in my life as I did
these days. Immediately we called for a prayer service at the Hotel. I share with all of you
the suffering of our People in the USA and join you for Prayers.

I hope that the USA , our Dear Country, will be wise to work for justice, peace and
TRUTH. An act of war when more than a millions of Afgani people start to be refugees in
their own poor country or outside will not honor our DEAR and BELOVED victims of the
WTC. The family of the Victims should have their word, this is not helping them or us to
mourn our beloved innocent people. An Act of war against innocent people who did not
choose their own government should never happen. All people are not terrorists.

WE WANT JUSTICE againt the Terrosrists. This is a must. But not against  the innocent
families anywhere in the world. NO AMERICAN CAN ACCEPT THAT.

I feel also that we need to respond to the invitation of our President Bush and find a way
how we can help as Americans. (Everybody is called to do his part, WE NEED TO BE AT
WORK FOR THE BEST. Holding our flag, praying is good but not enough, WE NEED

I am putting some suggestions that you may think about. I am sure that you do have other
ideas.  Please share.

1) Religious Leaders should work together for a kind of CONFERENCE THAT
EDUCATE PEOPLE and bring all together to think as one heart that religions should not be
used as a means for violence. Religion is a call to love, to serve, to respect, to share, to
cooperate fro the best...  The Conference can EDUCATE people on what is Islam or an
Arab; What is a Christian and what is a Jew. Religious Leaders should help to build bridges
of love, solidarity and Unity in America. As Americans we need to bring our people together
over religious beliefs, ethnic or language back grounds and form a new way to work
together for the best. Our children future is on our hand. Any Idea?

2) THANKSGIVING Day on November 22 should become a DAY in which we thank
God for our Diversity but also for our Unity and Solidarity between different American
religions, Ethnic groups and Languages. What we can do to celebrate this DAY and make
from it an important NATIONAL DAY? Any Idea?

3) I had a friend who called me and asked me if Afghans are Arabs. Of course they are not,
I told him. It seems to me that people do not distinguish between Arab and Muslim. We
need to start a kind of EDUCATIVE series that help our American people to see the
differences and not confusing things. The ignorance of the REAL Islam (That do not call for
killings) is confusing our American people, for example. UNIVERSITIES and High schools
should help us and I think that some of them started to do that. Please share with them and
give your part. I am be willing as a Catholic priest to come with a Muslim Friend at any
school or University or Church and speak about that educative subject. Any Idea?

4) We need to have OPEN and SINCERE FORUMS that dare to speak out about things:
(Some have started to do so, we need more and more Forums)
a) Why things like that have happened in our Country the USA?
b) How can we help to stop things like that to happen again?
c) PERHAPS understanding the SITUATION of others, their history, geography, ethnic
history, or perhaps RECOGNIZING our past mistakes as US Administrations can help us
to understand and be healed?
d) Some people are speaking about: NOT ON OUR NAME ANY MORE, what they
mean by that?
e) Our USA Future is not on creating new Enemies.
Some people say that we create new enemies by supporting this or that regime; Afghans did
not choose Taliban ... we cannot starve millions on the name of our victims, we DO NOT
HONOR OUR VICTIMS ON THIS WAY, our good American people will never accept
that, we have been doing it to Cuba because of one man, Fidel Castro for more than 38
years, and against one man, Hussein, for Iraq for more than 10 years ... innocent people are
suffering and not these leaders ...). The School of Americas in Central and South America;
the Sanctions that USA have imposed in different ways on over 70 countries; the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the question of slavery in Africa and our way of thinking about
what is an African; the superpowers and their economic impacts on the poor countries; do
we really want to be the police of the world; the question of globalization ...We need to
speak about different issues and see things from the eyes of others. (I have been in visit to
Europe and I found that they do not think like us Americans ... every time I was speaking
they looked at me and said, you Americans! you do not know what you are doing we
really not know what we are doing? Any Idea?

6) Responsibility towards our Future Generation: I DO NOT WANT MY CHILD TO
LIVE IN FEARS!!  For their safety we need to teach them how they are called to love each
other over religion, ethnic or languages. Building in our children the future of our USA. Any

7) EDUCATING our Congress: If our president Bush did not to know during his election
Campaign that Ben Laden was not a ROCK group, and have called these days for a
crusade and a definitive Justice, and made some terms that was criticized by the world
leaders and he was called to change his wordings ... then the Congress needs our help to be
educated. It seems that a lot of our Congress are ignorant on a lot of issues. It made a lot of
us to doubt about their knowledge about history, Geography, the facts and events in the
world. We do not want to be governed (sorry to say that) by ignorant people. Any Idea?

8) It is time more than ever to call on the Media and Hollywood to change their way in
speaking to us and our children. Some people are saying: we cannot accept any more any
kind of violence on our screens ... Any idea?

9) For the coming Christmas TREE we may hope to decorate it with THE SYMBOLS of
the different American religions and speak about solidarity, love, justice, peace and TRUTH.

Abouna Labib Kobti