by Jack Minor –
The White House has instructed officials to downplay al-Qaeda’s role in the Sept. 11 attacks, while New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in order to avoid offending Muslim groups, has decided to exclude clergy and first responders from participating in the 9/11 ceremony this Sunday.
Bloomberg said he decided to exclude clergy and first responders because he wants to keep the focus on the victim’s families. The ceremony will be restricted solely to family members of the victims.
The decision has caused outrage among various groups. During the hours that followed thousands of police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and others worked tirelessly for days attempting to retrieve victims trapped in the wreckage.
In the years following 9/11 many first responders and people working nearby have suffered health problems from breathing the toxic air caused by the collapse of the twin towers. Critics have said it is outrageous to exclude these people from a service commemorating the first attack on American soil since the War of 1812. The attack by Islamic terrorists on 9/11 caused the death of nearly 3,000 Americans.
Ironically, the first war America fought as a country was also against Islamists. Following the end of the American Revolution, Muslim states along the Barbary Coast began to engage in piracy against American ships.
In 1801, Tripoli declared war on the U.S. after President Thomas Jefferson’s refusal to pay tribute to the Barbary States. The Barbary War became immortalized in the line of the Marine’s hymn ”to the shores of Tripoli.”
The ban on clergy praying at the ceremony appears to have come after Mayor Bloomberg first invited Muslim Imam, Feisal Rauf to speak at the ceremony. Rauf is the Imam of the Ground Zero mosque that both Bloomberg and President Obama have publically supported.
Following the invitation, residents of New York and elsewhere objected to permitting Rauf to speak. Many New Yorkers still strongly oppose erecting a mosque at ground zero. The mosque location is at the Burlington Coat Factory building, which was damaged when a section of landing gear from one of the doomed aircraft penetrated the building.
Following the outcry against Rauf, Bloomberg subsequently banned all clergy from attending the event. Former Justice Department prosecutor and founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, Larry Klayman expressed outrage over what he sees as appeasement toward Muslim groups. “It would seem as if the mayor feels the necessity to get down on his knees to those who hate us and want to wage full scale revolution for the Islamic cause.”
Critics have complained that not permitting clergy and first responders to attend, smacks of political correctness, noting that the clergy were there alongside rescue workers in the days following 9/11.
In addition to the clergy ban, government officials appear to be attempting to downplay the significance of the attack on American soil that day.
The Obama administration issued a set of memos instructing government agencies how they are to conduct 9/11 commemorations domestically and abroad. The memos indicate that officials are not to simply memorialize the 3,000 who died on that day, but instead honor all victims of terrorism around the world over the past 10 years. The memo also calls for officials to “minimize references to al-Qaeda.”
The memo intended for overseas officials said “As we commemorate the citizens of over 90 countries who perished in the 9/11 attacks, we honor all victims of terrorism, in every nation around the world. We honor and celebrate the resilience of individuals, families, and communities on every continent, whether in New York or Nairobi, Bali or Belfast, Mumbai or Manila, or Lahore or London.”
While clergy may not be welcome in New York, several local churches are going ahead with their own plans to commemorate the attack.
Destiny Christian Center will be remembering 9/11 and honoring America this Sunday. The Greeley Wesleyan Church has said they will feature a video and the Worship Arts department will be performing a special song. The church will also feature commemorative displays honoring the fallen.
St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church has said they will be showing a “We Remember” video and have a display of American flags present at the church.
Faith Bible Baptist Church is hosting a slightly different type of service. They will remember the attacks, while simultaneously acknowledging the pastor’s 10th anniversary with the church. Pastor Matt Walters was actually in the process of moving to Greeley to assume the pastorate on the day of the attack.