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New York Celebrations

Reader comment on item: Fighting Militant Islam, Without Bias

Submitted by Irfan Khawaja (United States), Jun 11, 2002 at 13:36

What is the evidence for the claim that Muslims were celebrating 9/11 in the
mosques of New York? I have done extensive research on this question with
respect to rumors of celebrations in Paterson, New Jersey and found that the
rumors were false (as were rumors of celebrations in nearby New Jersey
towns and cities: Verona, Cedar Grove, Little Falls, Newark, Jersey City, etc.)

As far as NJ is concerned, there is nil evidence of a coverup. I interviewed
every single reporter involved, and found not a single one who could plausibly
be accused of covering anything up. In fact, the Herald News (Paterson) and
Star-Ledger (Newark) quoted two eyewitnesses respectively (Rev Jack Copas of
Totowa, Emaad Abdullah of Clifton) who claimed to have seen "something" take
place on the streets of Paterson on the afternoon of 9/11. These claims of having seen "something" later ballooned into wild rumors of "Muslim celebrations" and even riots. But what Copas and Abdullah saw were not "celebrations." I should add that Lee Leonard had claimed on Channel 11 that celebrations had taken place, as had several radio stations (WINS,WABC, WPLJ). No coverup there. The rumors were
passed on by columnists in the LA Times and New York Post, as well as by a
Rabbi Stanely Asekoff of West Orange, who still hasn't bothered to remove the
sermon in which he made the claims:


I happen to know what it is that the eyewitnesses saw, because I got my information from one of the people involved. Bear in mind that Abdullah, who is a Muslim, took a remarkable risk in saying that he had seen anything at all; the city government was saying that absolutely "nothing" had taken place. (So, by the way, was the NJ Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith.) All of this was reported, and all
of it is available in the public record. There is no evidence whatsoever of a coverup
in NJ, despite the number of times such a thing was alleged.

I looked into celebration rumors in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Florida,
Michigan, and California. I didn't find a single actual celebration. All I found were ...
rumors: the same pattern as I studied in detail in
New Jersey. The Wall Street Journal's Jeffrey Zaslow did a story in March (I
believe) finding much the same thing.

In light of this, it's hard to view claims about "celebrations" taking place in
this country on 9/11 in the absence of any real evidence for them.

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