Friday, August 13, 2010

The Ground-Zero Mosque

The building of a Ground-Zero mosque has drawn much attention, including from persons interested in public diplomacy, given that a moving force behind the mosque project is Faisal Abdul Rauf, an Iman sent to the Mideast by the State Department to discuss life for Muslims in America. The discussions on whether the construction of the mosque should be allowed have been intense; so far as I can tell, however, it is hardly mentioned in the current media that among the victims of the 9/11 tragedy were Muslims, as pointed out in the below:

Muslim Victims of September 11th Attack -

. ... Thousands of innocent lives were lost on September 11, 2001, and our hearts and prayers go out to their families and loved ones. For several hundred of the victims of 9/11, grief and sorrow has been compounded by constant suspicion, bias, hatred, and attacks on the faith they hold dear.

Imagine being the family of Salman Hamdani. The 23-year-old New York City police cadet was a part-time ambulance driver, incoming medical student, and devout Muslim. When he disappeared on September 11, law enforcement officials came to his family, seeking him for questioning in relation to the terrorist attacks. They allegedly believed he was somehow involved. His whereabouts were undetermined for over six months, until his remains were finally identified. He was found near the North Tower, with his EMT medical bag beside him, presumably doing everything he could to help those in need. His family could finally rest, knowing that he died the hero they always knew him to be.

Or imagine being Baraheen Ashrafi, nine months pregnant with her second child. Her husband, Mohammad Chowdhury, was a waiter at Windows of the World restaurant, on the top floors of Tower One. The morning of September 11, they prayed salaat-l-fajr (the pre-dawn prayer) together, and he went off to work. She never saw him again. Their son, Farqad, was born 48 hours after the attacks -- one of the first 9/11 orphans to be born. In an interview with CTV Canada, she relates that in the months to follow, she mourned for her husband and endured the hostility of some ignorant people around her. "When they saw me ... I'm wearing a scarf. There is a hate look."

Or consider Rahma Salie, a passenger on American Airlines #11 that crashed into the North Tower. Rahma, a Muslim of Sri Lankan origin, was traveling with her husband Michael (a convert to Islam) to attend a friend's wedding in California. Rahma was 7 months pregnant with their first child. According to the Independent UK (October 11, 2001), Rahma's name was initially put on an FBI watch list, because her "Muslim-sounding" name was on the passenger manifest, and her travel patterns were similar to those of the hijackers (she was a computer consultant living in Boston). Although her name was eventually removed from the list, several of her family members were barred from taking flights to her memorial service. Her mother, Haleema, said, "I would like everyone to know that she was a Muslim, she is a Muslim and we are victims too, of this tragic incident.”

Partial List of Muslim 9/11 Victims:

Note: This list is as yet incomplete and unconfirmed. It has been compiled from the Islamic Circle of North America, the Newsday victims database, and reports from other major news organizations. The victims' ages, employers, or other personal information is included when available, along with links to further information or photos.

Samad Afridi
Ashraf Ahmad
Shabbir Ahmad (45 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and 3 children)
Umar Ahmad
Azam Ahsan
Ahmed Ali
Tariq Amanullah (40 years old; Fiduciary Trust Co.; ICNA website team member; leaves wife and 2 children)
Touri Bolourchi (69 years old; United Airlines #175; a retired nurse from Tehran)
Salauddin Ahmad Chaudhury
Abdul K. Chowdhury (30 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Mohammad S. Chowdhury (39 years old; Windows on the World; leaves wife and child born 2 days after the attack)
Jamal Legesse Desantis
Ramzi Attallah Douani (35 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
SaleemUllah Farooqi
Syed Fatha (54 years old; Pitney Bowes)
Osman Gani
Mohammad Hamdani (50 years old)
Salman Hamdani (NYPD Cadet)
Aisha Harris (21 years old; General Telecom)
Shakila Hoque (Marsh & McLennan)
Nabid Hossain
Shahzad Hussain
Talat Hussain
Mohammad Shah Jahan (Marsh & McLennan)
Yasmeen Jamal
Mohammed Jawarta (MAS security)
Arslan Khan Khakwani
Asim Khan
Ataullah Khan
Ayub Khan
Qasim Ali Khan
Sarah Khan (32 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Taimour Khan (29 years old; Karr Futures)
Yasmeen Khan
Zahida Khan
Badruddin Lakhani
Omar Malick
Nurul Hoque Miah (36 years old)
Mubarak Mohammad (23 years old)
Boyie Mohammed (Carr Futures)
Raza Mujtaba
Omar Namoos
Mujeb Qazi
Tarranum Rahim
Ehtesham U. Raja (28 years old)
Ameenia Rasool (33 years old)
Naveed Rehman
Yusuf Saad
Rahma Salie & unborn child (28 years old; American Airlines #11; wife of Michael Theodoridis; 7 months pregnant)
Shoman Samad
Asad Samir
Khalid Shahid (25 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald; engaged to be married in November)
Mohammed Shajahan (44 years old; Marsh & McLennan)
Naseema Simjee (Franklin Resources Inc.'s Fiduciary Trust)
Jamil Swaati
Sanober Syed
Robert Elias Talhami (40 years old; Cantor Fitzgerald)
Michael Theodoridis (32 years old; American Airlines #11; husband of Rahma Salie)
W. Wahid

And, would be it sacriligious to suggest that, among the victims of US reactions to 9/11, thousands upon thousands of innocent Muslims have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan (not to speak of courageous American soldiers dying for no reason, in the name of that military, moral, and linguistic obscenity, GWOT).

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