Fourteen Years Ago Today . . .
Vol: 168 Issue: 11 Friday, September 11, 2015
Fouteen years ago today, nineteen Muslim males between the ages of 17 and 35 years old boarded four planes on the US East Coast that were bound for California. Most of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia; the rest from other countries of the Arab Middle East.
The passengers initially believed it was just a ‘routine’ hijacking — they believed that they were to be hostages, it never occurred to them at first that the planes themselves were the prize.
It wasn’t until the first strikes against the World Trade Center that some of the passengers started to put the pieces together.
American Airlines Flight 11 was bound from Logan Airport in Boston to LAX when Mohammed Atta’s crew took it over. Flight 11 struck first, hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 EST, the impact instantly killing all 92 onboard.
United Flight 175 also departed Logan to LAX before being taken over by Marwan Al-Shehhi’s five-man crew. Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 EST.
American Airlines Flight 77 was the third plane hijacked nine years ago this morning. It was hijacked by Ani Hanjour and his crew and steered into the Pentagon, killing 125 people on the ground and all 60 passengers.
Among the passengers was Barbara Olson, wife of US Solicitor General Ted Olson. Olson was able to speak with his wife aboard the plane after the WTC strikes had taken place so both parties knew what the hijackers had in mind for Flight 77.
I don’t know why this particular 9/11 story impacts me the most — maybe it’s because it was the Olsons — it seemed somehow unifying, knowing that the tragedy reached from the streets of New York all the way into the bowels of the White House.
But even nine years later, my heart breaks at the thought of what that conversation must have been like. I cannot even imagine how I would feel speaking to my wife, both of us knowing she is about to be murdered.
Flight 93 was bound from Newark to San Francisco when Ziad Jarra and his crew stormed the cockpit and overpowered and murdered its crew nine years ago today at 9:28 EST.
At 09:28:17 a crew member began shouting “Mayday! Mayday!” over the radio. At 09:35 AM a flight attendant is heard over the radio pleading, “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die,” followed by a voice saying in Arabic, “Everything is fine. I’m finished.”
It’s the stuff nightmares are made of.
It wasn’t until the second plane hit the towers that it began to dawn on America that this was not a horrible accident, but rather, a deliberate attack. None of the victims’ bodies were recoved intact.
In all, it is estimated that 17,600 civilians were working in the WTC at the time of the strikes. Many managed to escape, but 2,606 people, excluding the plane passengers and hijackers, were killed. Many were vaporized — the dust itself was mingled with the ashes of the dead.
At least 1,366 of the dead were on or above the floors impacted by the plane that hit the North Tower. Another 618 in the South Tower were working above the impact zone. Ninety percent of those at or above the impact zones did not survive.
At least two hundred people leapt to their deaths to escape being burned to death in the raging infernos. Witnesses said bodies fell from the sky like rain. The impact of falling bodies could be heard in the background of recordings made at the time.
A piece of landing gear was found atop the Burlington Coat Factory building, which was also heavily coated with the ashes of the Towers (and of the dead).
This is the building now slated to be demolished and replaced with an Islamic monument to the attacks to be called “Cordoba House.”
It is important to understand how Islamic triumphalism works and the signficance of the chosen name; Cordoba House.
In 711 the Muslims conquered Andalusia in what is now Spain, including the Christian city of Cordoba. It’s inhabitants were slaughtered or enslaved.
The Cordoba Mosque in Spain, ostensibly a memorial to the Islamic Golden Era, was built atop the city’s main Christian cathedral. It was symbolic of Muslim triumph over the infidel.
Throughout Islam’s history, whenever a region was conquered, one of the first acts of the conquerors was to erect a mosque atop the sacred sites of the vanquished. The pagan Ka’ba temple at Mecca was converted into the Mosque of Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, following that city’s conquest by Mohammed.
When Jerusalem was conquered by Islam in the 8th century, the al-Aqsa Mosque was built directly atop the Temple Mount and surrounded it by madrassas (Muslim schools) administered by a Waqf (council) to handle its expenses.
When the Muslims conquered Damascus, they destroyed the Christian basilica of St. John the Baptist and replaced it with the Umayyad Mosque.
The mosque contains a shrine that still allegedly contains the head of John the Baptist as well as the tomb of Saladin. And of course, the various madrassa and waqfs and so on and so forth.
When the Muslims conquered Constantinople, they tore down the Byzantine Hagia Sophia Cathedral and replaced it with a mosque. Sultan Mehmed II surrounded the mosque with madrassas administered by a Waqf.
In 2006 when the Pope visited the Hagia Sophia, there were warnings of Islamic fury if there was “any pereception within the Muslim world that the Pope was trying to reappropriate a Christian center that fell to the Muslims.
The extent to which the Pope avoided offending Muslim sensibilities was unprecedented. Wrote LA Times blogger Raymond Ibrahim in December, 2006;
“He refrained from any gesture that could be misconstrued as Christian worship and merely took in the sights of the museum. Moreover, when he was invited into the Blue Mosque nearby, he respectfully took off his shoes and prayed, eyes downcast, standing next to the the grand mufti of Istanbul like a true dhimmi — a subdued non-Muslim living under Islamic law and acknowledging Islamic superiority.”
Speaking of true ‘dhimmi’ fashion, during yesterday’s rambling news conferences, the president told the nation “From a national security interest, we have to be clear about who the enemy is here.”
Obama led with three main points. The first was that the hijackers distorted the real Islam.
“We are not at war against Islam. We’re at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam or falsely used the banner of Islam to engage in their destructive acts.”
The second is that opposing the construction of the Cordoba House is tantamount to ‘turning on each other’ and practically accusing Cordoba’s opponents of anti-Islamic bigotry:
“This country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal, that they have certain inalienable rights . . And what it means is that if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on the site.”
Having lectured America on the Muslim right to build a mosque only yards from Ground Zero, he turned his attention to the 1st Amendment rights of an American citizen to burn a Koran on private property if he wants to.
“The idea that we would burn the sacred text of someone else’s religion is contrary to what this country stands for. It’s contrary to what this country was founded on.”
Nobody has at any time, to my knowledge, questioned the right of Muslims to build Cordoba House anywhere they like. And nobody has questioned the right of an American citizen to burn a Koran on private property.
Having rights means having the liberty not to exercise them.
The choice of “Cordoba House” is doubly significant, however. The message of “Cordoba” is well understood in the Islamic world. So too, is the designation of “house”.
To us, the designation of ‘house’ carries with it the flavor of hearth and home, shelter, intimacy, and so forth. An inn is a ‘public house’, for example.
But Cordoba House in Arabic is dar al Cordoba. In Arabic, ‘dar’ is used more in the divisive sense, as a separation, as in ‘dar al Islam’ (the Zone of Islam) or ‘dar al Harb’ (the Zone of War). The Cordoba House is slated to open as an Islamic school (madrassas) and cultural center (waqf) on 09/11/11.
“God hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than God? Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” The Koran –Sura 9:111
This is one of the Koran’s jihad verses.
If there is anything historically analogous to the choice of the name Cordoba House that might portend some good news for America, it is in the memory that ultimately, the West managed to recapture Cordoba.
But only following years.
It was only nine years ago today that nineteen Muslim hijackers murdered 2,977 innocent people, wounding at least six thousand other individuals and destroying uncounted families and lives in the process.
Nine years ago today, enraged commentators were paraphrasing Admiral Yamamoto’s comment following the successful attack on Pearl Harbor — “I fear that all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
Who would have believed back then that America would simply roll over and go back to sleep?
Originally Published: September 11, 2010
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