On this day a year ago a great tragedy unfolded on the soils of America once again. Two pressure cooker bombs were set off within a time frame of 12 seconds separated by a distance of 210 yards near the finish line at the Boston Marathon. Three people died while more than 260 were injured. The perpetrators of this heinous crime were two brothers of Chechen ethnicity who immigrated to America to pursue a better future. Tamarlen Tsarnaev (26) and his younger brother, Dzokhar Tsarnaev (19) were identified as suspects from the surveillance videos. An extensive manhunt ensued soon after the identification and on April 18, Tamarlen Tsarnaev was killed during a gunfire exchange between him and the police at Watertown, Massachusetts. On the evening of April 19, the younger Tsarnaev was taken into custody after he was found hiding inside a boat in the backyard of one of the town’s residents. He is awaiting a federal trial with a possible death sentence.
As the nation mourns and remembers the victims of that dreadful day, one Muslim group is marking the anniversary by giving life. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, one of the oldest Muslim organizations established in America, hosted a blood drive at the Boston City Hall on April 11. It was held in partnership with the City of Boston and the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A). The blood collected would benefit patients supported by Boston Children’s Hospital Blood Donor Center and Kraft Family Blood Donor Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital. The “Muslims for Life” campaign is a nationwide blood drive initiative to honor the lives lost on September 11, 2001 and has been extended to remember the victims of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings. Since the horrific event of 9/11, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been in the forefront to reassure the world of the true nature of the religion of Islam. That is, it is a religion of peace and not of violence as perceived by many. Islam unequivocally supports sanctity of life. The Qur’an states, “…whosoever killed a person…it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind” (5:33).
Speaking at a press conference before the blood drive on April 11, Naseem Mahdi, Vice President and Missionary-in-Charge said,
“As Muslims, it is, we feel, our responsibility to not let extremist elements in the Muslim world drive the agenda of our faith. For us to just go on saying that Islam has nothing to do with violence is not an option. We have to do something that practically demonstrates our message that life is sacred.”
As #BostonStrong trends on Twitter today we as Americans know that nothing can stop us from being who we are. Terrorists may think that by bullying us they are the winners but in the eyes of God they are nothing but losers.