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The PJ Tatler

Bryan Preston


April 24, 2014 - 1:51 pm

An interfaith group is upset over how a short film at the 9-11 Museum in New York, site of the worst terrorist atrocity ever committed on American soil, depicts Muslims and Islam.

This is not a new fight, we have seen this movie before. The monument to Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA was originally designed to be a “Crescent of Embrace,” consciously using one of Islam’s central symbols. In that case, the National Park Service’s original design seemed to play up Islam while never blaming its extremists, and it played down the victors who brought that aircraft down knowing that while saving others, they were sacrificing their own lives.

The row over the New York film stems from the fact that it is not a hymn to Islam, but is instead a look at what motivated the terrorists. It is simply a fact that the 9-11 hijackers were all Muslims, and that they believed they were conducting righteous jihad by murdering thousands of innocent people, some of whom were also Muslims. To leave those facts out is to create a lie. It is also a fact that most Muslims do not support the actions of the 9-11 hijackers, but there are a number of unsettling facts hanging between those. Most Muslims do support Hamas and the Palestinians broadly against Israel, so they therefore do not reject terrorism for its own sake. Support for hard core sharia Islamic law has gained support across the Islamic world over the past few years. Honor killings have come to Europe and America along with Muslim immigrants, and sharia has too. Sharia stands at direct odds with western ideas regarding separation of church and state and basic human rights. Islam is undergoing what I term a religious revival, meaning its adherents by and large are turning back to the book of their faith and trying to live by it after a few decades of some distance from it. Photos of Iran circa the 1950s show women throwing off the hijab and literally letting their hair down. Current photos show that the hijab and its religious implications have returned.

That revival is problematic, because the Koran teaches peaceful coexistence in its earlier passages, and violent conquest in others, and those passages tend to be later ones and therefore carry more weight. That’s one of a handful of tricks of the light with regard to Islam, which means “peace” but also means “submission.” It’s also simply a fact that Muslim advocates in the West like the Council on American Islamic Relations are not the civil rights champions they claim to be, but are instead fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood, which does in fact have a long-term plan to conquer the West in the name of Islam. Thankfully, the Brotherhood is doing a fine job of discrediting itself in Egypt after the Obama administration empowered it there. Too bad the Obama administration either does not see that, or does not care.

It is simply a fact that Ayaan Hirsi Ali faces credible threats to her life to this day because she left Islam and speaks out against how mainstream Muslims treat women. It is also a fact that very few on the left in the West see fit to give her the time of day, despite all their claims to be feminists and champions of women’s rights.

The problem with the museum film boils down to the use of a couple words: “jihad” and “Islamist.”

“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.”

Museum officials are standing by the film, which they say was vetted by several scholars of Islam and of terrorism. A museum spokesman and panel members described the contents of the film, which was not made available to The New York Times for viewing.

“The terrorists need to be condemned and remembered for what they did,” Dr. Ahmed said. “But when you associate their religion with what they did, then you are automatically including, by association, one and a half billion people who had nothing to do with these actions and who ultimately the U.S. would not want to unnecessarily alienate.”

But, is it honest to disassociate Islam from the terrorists of 9-11, or indeed Islamic terrorism in general? The 9-11 hijackers and the Islamic terrorists who have followed them, including the shoe bomber, Jose Padilla, the Bali bombers, the London bombers, Nidal Hasan in Texas, the Boston bombers and on and on were exhorted by Muslim preachers and theologians and ideology to commit murder. They believed that they were conducting righteous jihad. They believed that Islam is at war with the West, an idea that has taken root in Tehran, among other places. They tended to shout “Allahu Ackbar!” when they slashed throats, seized aircraft full of passengers, fired bullets, and set off deadly bombs.

These were not accidents, unfathomable mysteries or instances of “workplace violence.” Something motivated the people behind these heinous deeds. What? Why are the Twin Towers fallen? The interfaith group that is protesting the museum movie would rather you not ask or answer that question.

Jonathan Tobin rightly calls the effort to change the museum film a sanitization of history.

In promoting this sanitized version of 9/11 in which Islam was not the primary motivation for the attackers, they hope to spare Muslims from the taint of the crime. But what they are really doing is disarming Americans against a potent threat that continues to simmer abroad and even at home as the homegrown extremists who have perpetrated several attacks since then, including the Boston Marathon bombing whose anniversary we just commemorated, have shown.

Rather than seek to edit Islam out of the 9/11 story, those who truly wish to promote better interfaith relations must continue to point out the dangers of these beliefs and the peril of either tolerating them or pretending that they are no longer a threat.


Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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All Comments   (6)
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They claim that terrorists not Islamic...
and then they complain when bodies of dead terrorists aren't treated in accordance with Islamic custom.
They complain when captured terrorists aren't given Korans and Halal meals, and prayer time.
In the Madrassahs, terrorists spend years of their lives learning about Islam. If they claim they are Muslim, who am I to doubt them?
And by demanding we silence ourselves so as not to "offend" Muslims, these advocates are doing the exact same thing their violent radical peers do: attempt to use whatever power they have to hide the truth.

The only reason CAIR uses lawyers and advocates and not suicide bombers in the US is that they judge the lawyers and advocates to be more effective. For the moment.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I haven't been to Pearl Harbor yet, but a little research on the memorials shows plenty of evidence of the acknowledgment of who attacked us.

Once again the silence is deafening from so-called moderate Muslim leaders when it comes to an honest and vocal commitment to denounce islamism, jihad, and efforts to impose sharia throughout the world. They just want to be left alone to 'go about their business' - meaning subverting the essence of our liberties.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't agree with the movie? Don't see it. Don't go to the museum.
I really hope the museum folks stay strong and stand by this movie, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
CAIR will stamp their feet and the PC babies will knuckle under and edit the film to "promote understanding" or some B.S.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do you know what offended me? When a dozen assholes flew a bunch of planes into buildings and killed over three thousand of my neighbors. I work with Muslims everyday, at a Middle East-based company and none of them are offended by the fact that we recognize some Muslims are effing insane.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
They were most certainly not insane. What they did was rational, coherent and logical. As it turns out, they read the koran... and believed it. What part of "slaughter them where you find them" isn't clear?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
"It's a fact that most Muslims don't support 9/11", really? How do you substantiate that as fact? It's quite the opposite. There is widespread support of 9/11, from Patterson NJ to Doha, Qatar and/ or a belief that Mossad did it.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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