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Will sensitivities trump historical facts in teaching about September 11 attacks?

Will sensitivities trump historical facts in teaching about September 11 attacks?

Manhattan Imam demands references to Islam be dropped from 9/11 Memorial exhibit film

As part of the historical tour one makes through the soon-to-open National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York City, a brief video will be shown describing the group that carried out the deadliest single foreign attack on the homeland in United States history.

Apparently, relating the impetus behind the attack to the religion of Islam has rubbed at least one interfaith group of observers the wrong way.

From the NY Times:

The film, “The Rise of Al Qaeda,” refers to the terrorists as Islamists who viewed their mission as a jihad. The NBC News anchor Brian Williams, who narrates the film, speaks over images of terrorist training camps and Qaeda attacks spanning decades. Interspersed are explanations of the ideology of the terrorists, from video clips in foreign-accented English translations.

The documentary is not even seven minutes long, the exhibit just a small part of the museum. But it has over the last few weeks suddenly become a flash point in what has long been one of the most highly charged issues at the museum: how it should talk about Islam and Muslims…

“The screening of this film in its present state would greatly offend our local Muslim believers as well as any foreign Muslim visitor to the museum,” Sheikh Mostafa Elazabawy, the imam of Masjid Manhattan, wrote in a letter to the museum’s director. “Unsophisticated visitors who do not understand the difference between Al Qaeda and Muslims may come away with a prejudiced view of Islam, leading to antagonism and even confrontation toward Muslim believers near the site.”

While I understand the concern that certain unsavory facts of history can leave innocent people negatively stereotyped, that is no excuse for ignoring or whitewashing the truth.

Neither memorials nor museums — or in this case, a combination of the two — are under the obligation to assuage the sensitivities of those who feel indirectly victimized by their existence. Indeed, they exist to remember history as it was, not as we’d like it to be.

It so happens that, as it was, 19 hijackers inspired by what they believed was the proper adherence to the faith of Islam, murdered more than 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001 in a self-described Jihad. No amount of pressure to be politically correct should dissuade the 9/11 Museum leadership from shying away from that fact.

Still, some feel the video should be edited to make it more palatable.

“Don’t tell me this is an Islamist or an Islamic group; that means they are part of us,” [Elazabawy] said in an interview. “We are all of us against that.”

I admire and respect that the imam of a Manhattan mosque wants to dissociate himself and his fellow faithful from the attackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks.

That said, the attackers cannot be separated from their faith. It was their stated rationale for the attacks, and it was stated over and over again. To insinuate otherwise at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum would not only be disingenuous, it would be a disservice to the victims who lost their lives that day, and their families who carry on without them.

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The truth will set you free. Did I mention it might hurt a bit? Okay. A lot.

I’m sure it hurts Catholics to acknowledge that they’ve killed more Christians over the centuries than any other group. At least they’ve given up that passtime.

    Roy Rogers in reply to Immolate. | April 25, 2014 at 9:56 am

    When did Islam stop murdering Christians? I must have missed that.

    Priest murdered in Syria witnessed to Christ’s love

      Immolate in reply to Roy Rogers. | April 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Who said anything about Muslims discontinuing their murder of Christians? I clearly stated that Catholics left off doing it.

        pst314 in reply to Immolate. | April 25, 2014 at 2:01 pm

        Then please explain what you wrote: “they’ve killed more Christians over the centuries than any other group

    Observer in reply to Immolate. | April 25, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    “The screening of this film in its present state would greatly offend our local Muslim believers as well as any foreign Muslim visitor to the museum,” wrote Sheikh Mostafa Elazabawy.

    The deliberate murder of nearly 3,000 of our fellow citizens, and the attempted murder of tens of thousands more, greatly offends Americans. That these murders and attempted murders were carried out on our soil by Muslim terrorists, for and in the name of Islam, is a fact, and one that we will never forget or deny or try to hide — no matter how much it offends Muslims to be reminded of it. So take your hurt feelings and stuff them in your turban, sheikh, and thank God or Allah or whatever devil you pray to that you’re still alive to have hurt feelings, unlike the thousands of innocent Americans brutally murdered by your fellow Muslims on 9/11/01.

    scooterjay in reply to Immolate. | April 25, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    How many Christians have been killed by the Catholics since 1875?

      Immolate in reply to scooterjay. | April 25, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      Hopefully not many. I would not count individual Catholics acting on their own volition and not motivated by religious differences among my “Catholics killing Christians” metrics.

There is no “right not to be offended” in the United States. If a particular group can’t deal with that fact, they can either modify their behavior and/or reactions or try to take over and remake the country.

Oh, wait…

“Don’t tell me this is an Islamist or an Islamic group; that means they are part of us,” [Elazabawy] said in an interview. “We are all of us against that.”

There has never been a genuine concerted effort by Muslims to speak out against Wahabism or publicly reject the Quranic suras that command the barbarism, forced conversion and murder of us infidels. So who gives a f@#k what about this Imam’s hurt sensibilities.

“The screening of this film in its present state would greatly offend our local Muslim believers … “.
boo effing hoo.

I have little understanding of how Muslims participate in a religion where extremist members continuously perform so many horrific acts from terrorist bombings to stoning women. I’d be saying: “adios to Islam” and have nothing to do with any religion that fails to accept the responsibility of policing their flock (by not voicing displeasure and/or leaving it.).
Almost like having a neighbor who’s teen routinely vandalizes and breaks into homes throughout the neighborhood and the parents simply say: Not our problem man.” .

Question: what would the reaction have been a few years after WWII of Shinto religionists wanted to build a shrine next to Pearl Harbor?

What would the reaction have been if Shinto followers protested a documentary that mentioned the religious connections to the Japanese war psyche?

Of course, Americans were much clearer thinkers in those days.

    rabid wombat in reply to Ragspierre. | April 25, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Hey Rags,

    Ironically, there were more Asian than Anglos at Pearl when I visited in the 90’s. It is a lot like Texas today – we won at San Jacinto, but have not sealed the deal.

    On the article, I see this a lot like the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian. Someone will always try to rewrite history. It will take the fortitude of many to prevent it. Teach the young well.


      Ragspierre in reply to rabid wombat. | April 25, 2014 at 11:34 am

      “…we won at San Jacinto…”

      Yeah, Rabid, but “we” were “Texicans” and our number included a goodly contingent of Mexican patriots who were fighting alongside the Anglos to free Texas from the dictator Santa Anna.

      I don’t care about anyone’s skin color or eye shape. I care about their brains, and if those think like mine regarding liberty and such. THOSE are “my people”.

        Phillep Harding in reply to Ragspierre. | April 25, 2014 at 8:09 pm

        What I’ve read as well (before internet, unfortunately). Loads of “Mexicans” did not care for being governed by the crooks in Mexico City.

9thDistrictNeighbor | April 25, 2014 at 9:28 am

Of course they would be offended. Nidal Hassan screamed the same words the highjackers did and his act is still officially considered workplace violence.

It’s been almost 13 years, and I still have not seen Islam do anything to denounce or stop the terror attacks.

No face time on national media…

No posters print ads or broadcast commercials

No international Islamic peace conferences…

Nada Zip Nothing…

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Roy Rogers. | April 25, 2014 at 10:11 am

    This is because, in the Islamic world view, as long as you’re outside the dar ul Islam, they have a lawful right to kill you. You have no standing or right to object. You should expect no apologies. You should expect no blaming of Islam, the Koran, the Hadiths, or the blasted pedophile Mohammed, piss be upon him. Your job is this: accept Islamic dawa/preaching. If you reject that, pay jizya/dhimmi tax. If you reject that, shut up and let them kill you.

    All Muslims are in the dar ul Islam. We who reject Islam are in the dar ul Harb, the house of war. That means we are open game. We, our parents, our children, our dogs, and our cats. They have nothing for which to apologize.

    The sooner Americans learn that, ruminate upon it, digest it, and formulate policy based on the understanding of that, life will be much better for us.

Brian, “I admire and respect that the imam of a Manhattan mosque wants to dissociate himself and his fellow faithful from the attackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks,” you’re making me gag.

Tell me you’re not naive enough to actually believe what you wrote here.

Does somebody have to hit you over the head so a Koran for you to understand that you do not trust what Muslims say, especially when they say it in English?

If the imam were being honest, he would acknowledge that his fellow Muslims slaughtered 3,000 Americans instead of trying to engage in a whitewash. He is not interested in truth; he is engaged in Islamic triumphalism: kill them, build upon the site of the slaughter, and ram it down their throats by preventing them from blaming Muslims.

You really need to find something genuine to respect and admire, dude.

Not only “not Muslim” but not Al Qaeda either, according to David Ray Griffin, “Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Religion…” in Was America Attacked by Muslims on 9/11?

Here’s another slick revisionist website: Non-Muslims Carried Out More than 90% of All Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil.

I link to these because we should not underestimate the propaganda.

Jomatham Tobin has a good article, The Myth at the Heart of the 9/11 Museum Film Backlash.

A little background on the NYT’s story – the author contacted Robert Spencer about the terminology used by the museum. (Robert Spencer is a renowned expert on Islam.)

Not only did Robert point to the terrorist’s own words that the attacks were in the name of Islam, but also correctly pointed out that the memorial’s whole purpose is not to defend Islam but to present the truth of what happened that day.

The author chose not to use Robert’s opinions.

The email exchange can be read here:

This is not actually about the unintentional effect the truth might have on “unsophisticated” people. And it’s not about avoiding giving offense to genuinely good people who don’t want to be lumped in with evil.

This is about short-circuiting anything resembling an effective response to terrorism. It’s about shaming useful idiots into NOT making war against the guilty. It’s about turning enabling more attacks.

Tell them to shove it.

We are being pushed to confrontation. It is just a matter of time ’til it boils over into ugliness……and expect our government to seize the opportunity to declare martial law. They are within the gates of the city and that is the horrible truth. I’ll die fighting before sharia and dhimmitude.

If America were still a healthy and sane society, the universal reaction would be to tell the imam to “shut the **** up and get the f*** out of the USA.” Pickets outside his home and mosque would remind him of this every day. And New York would issue special licenses for street vendors to cook pork in those locations.

rabid wombat | April 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Hi Rags,

You are absolutely correct. I apologize for my poor word choice.


P.S. A lot from Tennessee, too

I’d bet Elazabawy is lying. Sure, he doesn’t want to be *associated* with terrorism, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t *support* terrorism. It’s exactly what Muhammad did, and there’s ample precedent in Sharia that any Muslim who says that what Muhammad did was wrong or immoral is apostate, whom any Muslim may execute sua sponte. Unless, of course, you said it in defense of Islam, in which case it’s laudable.

You can’t say anything these days without someone getting upset or offended. If you upset or offend someone, then you will be forever targeted by entire groups for your comments.