May 14, 2014
During a news conference Wednesday which cast aspects of a film about al-Qaida at the new 9/11 museum as prejudiced toward Muslims, a speaker invoked the anti-Semitic claim that Jews killed Jesus.
Talat Hamdani, whose son Salman Hamdani was a Muslim New York Police Department cadet killed on 9/11, said religion often is overlooked in other historic crimes.
“Who crucified Jesus?” she said. “Do we ever question that? Bring in the fact that not only the Romans but there were Jews who crucified Jesus?”
Jewish groups say the claim that Jews killed Jesus is one of the strongest messages fueling violent anti-Semitism. The State Department has cited similar statements in its annual reports on Global Anti-Semitism. Though it is still a widely-held belief, Pope Benedict wrote in 2011 that Jews were not responsible for the crucifixion.
No one at the news conference tried to correct Hamdani’s statement or walk it back.
The news conference came on the day the September 11 National Memorial Museum opened to New York’s first responders and victims’ families. It opens to the public May 21.
Islamist groups and their allies have taken issue with the 7-minute film, “The Rise of Al-Qaeda,” since a screening last month. On Wednesday, they reiterated their belief that its references to jihad and Islamist violence are unfair and could leave visitors blaming the entire faith of Islam and all Muslims for the attacks.
Speakers included New York City Councilman Robert Jackson, Rev. Chloe Breyer, daughter of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and Zead Ramadan of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) New York chapter.
“Suicidal terrorism” and “violent extremism” are more accurate descriptions, Ramadan said. He invoked Charles Manson, who was able to get people to do bad things. “It’s unfortunate that there are people who are suicidal and not very guided, and they can be manipulated.”
But al-Qaida’s core ideology relies on religious justification for violence.
“The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies – civilian and military – is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it…,” Osama bin Laden wrote in his 1998 fatwa. In a 2002 letter, he cited a passage from the Quran:
“Permission to fight (against disbelievers) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged and surely, Allah is Able to give them (believers) victory” [Quran 22:39]
This verse, bin Laden wrote, means that, “It is commanded by our religion and intellect that the oppressed have a right to return the aggression. Do not await anything from us but Jihad, resistance and revenge.”
And, according to the 9/11 Commission report, when passengers on United Flight 93 fought back, refusing to let their plane strike another target, the hijackers sent the plane into a nose dive. “Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest!” one shouted.
In a martyrdom video taped before the attacks, hijacker Waleed al-Shehri made it clear he was acting out of a belief that Muslims had strayed from their faith and abandoned jihad.
“The condition of Islam at the present time makes one cry,” he said,” …in view of the weakness, humiliation, scorn and enslavement it is suffering because it neglected the obligations of Allah and His orders, and permitted His forbidden things and abandoned jihad in Allah’s path.”
In addition to Hamdani’s statement about Jews Wednesday, other advocates for changing the film have their own records of extremism.
Read more with video