Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Going Rogue

Sarah Palin made news this week by utilizing her Twitter account to ask Muslims to "refudiate" the planned mosque two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City.

We can sit here and debate about why the former Vice Presidential candidate and Governor of Alaska thinks it her business to butt in on Big Apple affairs (it's not), but the idea that she is ok with building skyscrapers back on top of Ground Zero is probably a little more to the point.

The World Trade Center complex prior to 9/11/01 was a bustling hub of business in lower Manhattan. The Twin Towers themselves were, stacked on top of one another, a half mile high. The entire complex had its own zip code and it dominated that area of the skyline.

We all know what happened there on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The entire complex was destroyed by terrorists. If you didn't know that, then you're a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. There's plenty of you out there.

Following the clean-up, the 16 acres of land in Lower Manhattan has sat open like a deep wound. Only in recent years has a plan to redevelop the land into a mixture of memorial and office space actually come to fruition. And, pardon me, but it's garish and ghoulish, and just flat out nasty.

To think that we should put office space right back in that area where nearly 3,000 people perished bothers me. Apparently, the mosque two blocks away bothers Governor Palin more than that.

But, there's an entire movement to turn that area into a park memorializing the innocent people and the first responders that got ignored just to return the area to some semblance of a bustling business hub.

I think a grand memorial if office space were necessary would have been to rebuild the Twin Towers exactly to the same height somewhere on that property and to preserve the original footprints of the original towers as part of a memorial. It would have been a great compromise and a fitting tribute to the victims.

Instead, we now have a plan in motion for a museum and memorial to 9/11 coupled with a group of uninspiring and cringeworthy office towers. The biggest...1 World Trade Center (formerly known as the Freedom Tower) will only have 94 floors and a 400 foot spire to top it out at 1,776 feet. The new office complex will have, according to estimates, some 3,000,000 square feet less of space than the previous complex of seven buildings.

I mean, is it really necessary to rebuild these buildings on that site? Look at what Oklahoma City did when its Federal Building was bombed by a terrorist. They developed an absolutely stunning memorial that serves as a proper reminder of what happened on that land.

Shouldn't we be more worried about commemorating what happened at Ground Zero than about some mosque two blocks away?

And, for the record, Muslims have every right to put a mosque in where they want to put them. Every religion was touched on 9/11 by loss, including Islam, and I'm not talking about the terrorists or the hijackers. Here's a what is termed a partial list of Muslim 9/11 victims from

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

When we talk about healing, let's not forget those folks too.

I'm sure everyone will marvel at the new buildings when they are all done, as one estimate says, in 2037. I just don't think it will ever properly commemorate that horrible day in September, 2001. It would be nice to hear Sarah Palin argue for a more proper commemoration of 9/11 instead of against the First Amendment rights of a religion to build a place of worship.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jon, thank you for posting the list of innocent muslims who died on 9/11. Palin and her likes are merely feeding into the winds of ignornant hatred. Many seem to forget Timothy McVey, a non-muslim, prior US soldier and US citizen who carried out the bombing in Oklahoma. We have more of his type lerking in our nation. Encouraging ignornant hatred only makes matters worse.