Jan 16, 2002
September 11 and December 13—to Indians, the events of these days were startlingly similar. On one day, suicide bombers used hijacked planes to destroy the centers of industry; on the other, suicide terrorists used hand grenades and AK47s in an aborted attempt to bring down a nation’s government. In both cases, the targets represented a country’s main citadels—America’s economic and military strength, in the one case, and the seat of India’s democratic governance, in the other.
The enormity of the events of September 11 sparked unprecedented demand for books on Islam and the Middle East. For a while in fall 2001, books about Islam, Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan made bestseller lists, as readers played catch-up by devouring university or specialty press titles by scholarly and policy experts. Books by journalists with experience in the varied cultures of the Muslim world have also offered compelling looks inside parts of the world unknown to most Americans.
In baptism, we are not only bathed but also clothed. “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ,” writes Paul in his Letter to the Galatians. In baptism we are clothed in our true identity as children of God, an identity deeper even than our ethnicity, our social status, our gender: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:27-29).