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Tuesday, September 18, 2001

My dear friends,

What happened in my hometown and in Washington, D.C. this week has paralyzed me and the world. I can't describe my feelings at this time of immeasurable tragedy and pain. There is now a wound in the N.Y. skyline and a wound in our hearts.

Everything is forever changed. As an American, as a human being, and as an artist there will be repercussions that are beyond human comprehension at this point. When war happened to generations before ours, things were changed for the better. Now we don't know what that change will be or if we can even wrap our minds around it.

I do know this, however: If we hate those who hate, we become like them. We add to the violence and the negative energy that now threatens to our planet. I believe in justice. I don't believe in revenge. The author Gary Zukov says: "This is an opportunity for a massive expression of compassion. It is also an opportunity for a massive expression of revenge.

Which world do you intend to live in -- a world of revenge or a world of compassion?

It is for you to decide what you will contribute to this world. Many will be asking your opinion of these events. Each question is an opportunity for you to contribute to the love that is in the world or to the fear that is in the world. This is the same opportunity that presents itself to you at each moment."

I know which choice I will make.

The horror that we have experienced brings home to me how important every day is and how important loving one another is.
My thoughts and prayers continually go out to the victims and their families.

Maybe my tour will be of service to our national psyche. Singing "Daybreak" and "I Made It Through The Rain" seems trivial at first glance, but maybe by uplifting spirits each night, I can help. It's really the only thing I know how to do during this time of crisis.

I hope that you, my beautiful friends, fans and family will be there with me doing what you can do to uplift, inspire and heal.

I'm enclosing an article that was sent to me that I think is important for all of us to read.

I'll see you on the road.


Love,
Barry







Reshma Memon Yaqub, a journalist who lives in Montgomery County, Md., wrote this for The Washington Post published September 14, 2001

I am not the enemy.

The horror is unspeakable. Like every American, I am paralyzed by the carnage. My head pounds, thinking of the grief engulfing thousands of families whose loved ones were killed or injured Tuesday. As the attack unfolded, I panicked, racing through what until this moment had felt like a safe, suburban neighborhood to find my son and his babysitter, who were playing, as usual, at a nearby park. I begged my husband, who was at work in Washington, to come home. I am afraid. Wondering what this means for us. And like every American, I am outraged. And I want justice.

But perhaps unlike many other Americans, I'm feeling something else, too. 
A different kind of fear. I feel what my six million fellow American Muslims are feeling -- the fear that we, too, will be considered guilty in the eyes of America, if it turns out that the madmen behind this terrorism were Muslim.  I feel as though I've suddenly become the enemy of two groups -- those who wish to hurt Americans,
and those Americans who wish to strike back.

It's a frightening corner to be in. In the past, when lone Muslims have committed acts of terrorism -- or have been assumed to be guilty, as in Oklahoma City -- hate crimes have abounded against American Muslims who look like they're from ``that part of the world,'' against American children in Muslim schools who pray to the same peace-loving God as Jews and Christians.  I am afraid for the safety of my sisters-in-law, who wear head scarves in public. I am afraid for my brother, a lawyer who defends Muslims in high-profile discrimination cases.       I am afraid to hear people openly state that Muslim blood is worthless and deserves to be spilled, as I heard when I was in college during the Persian Gulf War.  I am afraid that my son won't understand why strangers aren't smiling at him the way they used to. I am afraid that we will be dehumanized because of our skin color, features or clothing.

I was briefly heartened to hear author Tom Clancy, interviewed on CNN, explaining that Islam is a peaceful religion and that we Americans must not let go of our ideals of religious tolerance, because it's the way our country behaves when it has been hurt that really reflects who we are. Still, I'm afraid that Americans might view the televised images of a few misguided people overseas celebrating the pain that America is now feeling, and will assume that I, too, must share that anti-American sentiment, that I, or my family, or my community, or my religion, could be part of the problem. In fact, every major American Muslim organization has decried this violence against us all, Islam forbids such acts of violence, and all the Muslims I know cringe at the idea of our faith being used, abused, in the name of political agendas. And though I, too, want the perpetrators brought to justice, I shudder to think of the innocent lives that may be unnecessarily lost overseas in that pursuit. Children like ours. Mothers like us.

Every time I hear of an act of terrorism, I have two prayers. My first is for the victims and their families. My second is, please don't let it be a Muslim. Because unlike when an act of terrorism is committed by a Christian or a Jew, when it is a Muslim, it's not considered an isolated act perpetrated by an isolated group of madmen. The entire faith is characterized as barbaric, as inhuman. My fellow Americans, I tell you that it's not. That we are not. That we Muslims love our country as you do and that we are grieving alongside you.




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