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Response to the “Murdered by Muslim Terrorists” Plaque

Peter Gadiel

Peter Gadiel

On September 11th of 2001, nineteen Al-Qaeda affiliated hijackers coordinated a series of horrific suicide attacks, killing almost three thousand innocent men, women, and children.  What motivated these young men to throw away their lives–and take away the lives of others–was a deep-seated and overwhelming hatred towards America.

The 9/11 attacks brought out the best–and at times the worst–in Americans.  Whilst certainly the desire to help out victims and their families reflected the best, there were other parts of society who co-opted the situation for their own nefarious hate-mongering purposes.  For Islamophobes, it became the casus belli against Islam and Muslims in general.  And so, in a horrible irony, the hatred of Al-Qaeda–of Muslim extremists–was internalized by some.  It is a truism–as trite as it sounds–that hate begets hate.

The rhetoric of the Islamophobes mirrors that of the Islamic extremists.  One merely needs to take out the word “Muslim” and substitute it for “Christian” and “Allah” with “Jesus.”  If one listens to the justifications Al-Qaeda gave for 9/11, they are remarkably similar to the justifications given by the Islamophobes to justify the excesses and casualties of aggressive wars.

It is unfortunate that many good meaning Americans may have been influenced by these Islamophobes.  Most impressionable and vulnerable to the hate-mongering are those directly affected by the Islamic extremists.  Nobody could be affected more by Al-Qaeda than the families of the 9/11 victims.  People often get emotional, and it is easy to substitute rage for rationality.  There is a desire to lash out at the other.  Simplistic answers seem comforting.

Peter Gadiel, a resident of Kent, Connecticut, suffered the loss of his son, who died in the horrific 9/11 attacks.  We here at LoonWatch extend our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Gadiel.  Furthermore, we understand that he is going through a difficult time, coping with the loss of a child, something that no parent should ever go through.  However, we urge Mr. Gadiel not to react to the hatred that killed his son with bigotry.

FoxNews reports:

KENT, Conn. — Peter Gadiel wants everyone to remember his son, James, who was killed during the September 11 terrorist attacks.

And he also wants people to remember how he died: “Murdered by Muslim terrorists.”

For Gadiel, any tribute to his son would be woefully incomplete without those words.

“I think it’s important, because I think there’s a nationwide effort to suppress the identity of the people who were involved in the attacks,” Gadiel told Fox News.

Eight years ago, 23-year-old James Gadiel worked for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center. He died when a hijacked plane crashed into the North Tower.

For years, Gadiel’s hometown of Kent, Conn., has wanted to honor the young man with a memorial plaque next to its town hall. But the tribute has hit a snag because James’ father wants to include the phrase, “Murdered by Muslim terrorists,” under his son’s name.

For Peter Gadiel, it is a central fact of the Sept. 11 attacks that is often left out.

“It isn’t just overlooked, it’s suppressed,” Gadiel said. “It’s simply wrong to imply that people just died. The buildings didn’t just collapse, they didn’t just fall down — they were attacked by people with a specific identity, a specific purpose.”

Town officials call the phrase too controversial for a small town memorial, and they recently voted against erecting the plaque if Gadiel insists on the language.

“We perceive ourselves as a very warm, loving town,” said Ruth Epstein, a Kent selectman and one of two town leaders to vote the plaque down. “To disparage any one ethnic group is just against everything that we stand for here.”

Epstein noted that other Sept. 11 memorials, like the one at the Pentagon, don’t mention Muslim terrorists, and she said she does not want to alienate any members of her small and close-knit community.

“We have at least one Muslim family living here with children and it — it would be just awful to have them see something like that,” Epstein told Fox News.

But for Gadiel, it’s an important message that he insists be present on any tribute to his son.

“Muslims have to acknowledge that it was their co-religionists who committed this act in their name,” he said. “I am offended that unlike so many others, they refuse to acknowledge that it was their people who did this.”

This would be a dangerous precedent.  Should the memorial plaques in honor of the Native Americans read “Murdered by White Christian Genocidal Butchers?” According to IraqBodyCount.org, over a 100,000 Iraqi civilians–including men, women, and children–have died due to the war.  Should the graves of the dead be emblazoned with “Murdered by Christian Crusaders?”  Hundreds of civilians died in Gaza due to Israel’s obscene offensive; should memorials be raised to honor them with the words “Murdered by Jewish Terrorists?”

The Islamophobes might ask “weren’t the 9/11 hijackers Muslims and terrorists, so what is wrong with having the plaque say exactly that?”  Well, on this line of reasoning, what’s wrong with erecting memorial plaques for white suburban kids “Murdered by Urban Blacks?”  Or if a Jew killed anyone, then plaques boldly saying that “Jews Murdered This Man.”  Maybe we should start identifying every race or religion in this manner?

The truth is that if all people did this, then there would be no religion–and no ethnic group–that would be left without “blood on their hands.” Luckily, most human beings agree with the principle enunciated in the ancient scriptures that, ‘there is no collective guilt.’ In the Quran it states, “Every soul earns only to its own account; no laden soul bears the sins of another” (6:164) and in the Bible: “Each is to die for his own sin.” (Deut. 24:16).

The phraseology chosen by Mr. Gadiel seems to associate the sin of the 9/11 attacks to all of the Muslims.  Any sensible person can see that, which is why the officials refused to include such an offensive and inflammatory inscription.  Ruth Epstein, one of Kent’s town leaders, said quite correctly: “To disparage any one ethnic group is just against everything we stand for here.”  In fact, it is exactly what the Al-Qaeda hijackers stood–and died–for.

Mr. Gadiel said: “Muslims have to acknowledge that it was their co-religionists who committed this act in their name. I am offended that unlike so many others, they refuse to acknowledge that it was their people who did this.”

The way he phrased the statement tells us a lot about Mr. Gadiel’s frame of mind.  It’s as if he sees Muslims as one monolithic group, as if Muslims are the Borg, with one master leader who makes all the decisions.  So somehow, in his mind, he sees all Muslims as collectively denying that they had anything to do with the attacks.  Even that idea–that somehow ‘they’ are involved because their co-religionists were involved–is certainly questionable.

And he’s just quite frankly wrong about this; all of the major Muslim organizations condemned Al-Qaeda (an Islamic extremist group) for what they did on 9/11.  Is that not acknowledging who did it? It is often erroneously claimed by some that Muslims have remained silent about 9/11 or terrorism in general.  Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.  The major Muslim organizations have issued statement after statement about their abhorrence of terrorism and condemnation of 9/11 in specific.  It is to the point of exhaustion.  Here is one non-exhaustive list of condemnations of 9/11 and terrorism, from the major Islamic organizations.

Many Muslims would argue that while they have bent over backwards to condemn the 9/11 attacks ad nauseum, few non-Muslim Americans have recognized the deaths of millions of Muslim civilians who have died as the result of interventionist policies, those that are in fact fueled by the same type of hatred that brought down the World Trade Center.  Would Mr. Gadiel like to admit that “his people” did that, or would he simply “refuse to acknowledge” it?  In Kent, there is a Mr. Gadiel mourning the loss of his son, who died at the hands of the Islamic extremist group Al-Qaeda.  In Kirkuk, there is a Mr. Gamal mourning the loss of his daughter, who died at the hands of the Christian extremist group Blackwater.

Of course, the dead of America have one advantage over the dead of Iraq.  The former have names and faces, whereas the latter are left by the mainstream media as nameless and faceless.  The former are recognized in memorial services and plaques (as they should be), whereas the latter are forgotten in the rubble that they died under.  One sees this double standard in the media quite clearly: the lives of those who died in 9/11 are covered in detail in order to personalize them (as should be done), whereas the death of Iraqis–of “Mooslims”–is just a meaningless statistic.

As for the phrase “their people” that Mr. Gadiel employed, that is questionable as well, since many Muslims in this country–nay, most–see themselves as Americans, so they are “our people.”  Our people and part of the pluralistic country we live in.  LoonWatch.com condemns all forms of bigotry and hatred.  We do not agree with the binary world view, the ‘us vs them’ mentality that fuels this holy war between Judeo-Christianity and Islam.  Yes Mr. Gadiel, a group of extremists killed your son, but do not let them kill American values: our pluralistic tradition that embraces people of all races and religions.

Mr. Gadiel, your son died.  Do not co-opt his death to spread hatred.  Use his death to spread love, compassion, and understanding–values that you no doubt preached to your son when he was alive.  Al-Qaeda wants you to hate Muslims in general.  What they don’t want is for you to embrace Muslims as brothers in humanity.

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  • Brian

    Why not just go ahead and say “George Tiller- Murdered by White Christian Extremist”… i’m sure his family loved him just as much as this father loved his son. Personally, it sounds awful to me, but it would be their right to do so. And yea, you might say you are ok with it now that your trying to make a point, but had this never come up, there would be an equal amount of outrage from the very people that support this guy right now. Why can’t we just move passed this. I hear people saying “what happened to freedom of speech..?”, but noone follows up with it saying “…however I do think this is a little extreme”… and if you DONT think thats extreme then something just isnt right and its scary to me.. It’s just a complete step back to me. How would you as a Muslim, who feels very strong and passionate about there religion, feel about reading that…better yet, if your white, and if George Tiller was a black man, and you read somethin crazy like Murdered by White Christian Extremist on his memorial, how would that make you feel. You’d say to yourself “why bring race into this…”… likewise Muslims feel “why bring my religion into this”… I understand the freedom of speech argument…i really do, but i just dont see how people have no problem at all with him putting that up there. It’s very insensitive… you tell me… how far is too far?

  • Hubert

    “I wonder if any of the parents of the little kids killed in Oklahoma City bombing are wanting to put up a memorial or plaque that read “killed by Christian terrorist” since all Christians in America or the world for that matter must remember that one of their own coreligionists murdered those innocent babies in the kindergarten.”

    McVeigh wasn’t a Christian he was an atheist who said that ‘science is my god’ and no time did he quote the Bible.

  • James

    Lex,

    I thought these people also had regular jobs! LOL I’m not as familiar with them as you are (fortunately). I know Spencer is funded by David Horowitz. Any other funding sources for these blogs? (Soros takes care of loonwatch lol)

  • You know, at times like this, I can’t help but bring out the ole linky to the Wiki page for the Know Nothings. Doesn’t that just hit the spot?

    And on a different note, regarding Muslims apologizing, every Muslim I know was almost more outraged at the 9/11 attacks than I was, so NO, I don’t ask my personal friends (and my Persian brother in law) nor my co-bloggers to start apologizing for what 19 loonies did. I mean, WTF? This is the freakin’ web. What would people expect me to do? Get them on Skype and ask them to beg for forgiveness on bended knee?

    Plenty of organizations (Muslim orgs. I mean) HAVE condemned these attacks as well as others. It does precious little good when idiots like Geller, Spencer, Bostom, etc. just post on their blogs that “it’s all taqiyya!!”. As long as those people are online (as if they don’t have better things to do, I’m serious, these guys gave up other jobs to have these blogs and write their books) and as long as they keep the gullible sucked into the “Taqiyya Loophole” then we much simply hope and pray for common sense to prevail.

  • Schlaftius

    I wonder if any of the parents of the little kids killed in Oklahoma City bombing are wanting to put up a memorial or plaque that read “killed by Christian terrorist” since all Christians in America or the world for that matter must remember that one of their own coreligionists murdered those innocent babies in the kindergarten.

  • Andrew

    Whoops I shouldn’t have used onenewsnow as a source; it’s too right wing and I just saw that they believe that ‘muslim mafia’ crap, I just want to make it clear that I don’t agree with that site.

  • Andrew

    Also the Iraq war is not a modern ‘crusade’, since the soldiers are not all Christians, a pope isn’t involved, the top American military men couldn’t care less about religion and then there’s the matter of General David McKiernan kissing a quran. McKiernan also provided over the burning of bibles:

    http://www.onenewsnow.com/Security/Default.aspx?id=516980

    Does that sound like something the crusaders would do? You might as well compare the hundred years war to the war of 1812.

  • Andrew

    “Andrew, you are a loon. Let me ask you, my nutty friend: Based on your logic, would it be OK for a memorial of a white suburban kid to read “murdered by black criminals?” One could then justify it by saying that it would only be racist if it read “murdered by blacks” whereas “murdered by black criminals” supposedly makes the distinction between blacks and black criminals?”

    Yeah it would be okay, because it’s a factual statement that makes a distinction between law abiding Black people and Black criminals, if the sign read ‘killed by blacks’ then yeah that would be racism. Like I said, this man isn’t trying to spread hate since he’s making a clear distinction between normal muslims and terrorists, anti-muslim bigots love to lump all muslims in together.

  • Danios

    Andrew, you are a loon. Let me ask you, my nutty friend: Based on your logic, would it be OK for a memorial of a white suburban kid to read “murdered by black criminals?” One could then justify it by saying that it would only be racist if it read “murdered by blacks” whereas “murdered by black criminals” supposedly makes the distinction between blacks and black criminals? Anyways, there is not much point in wasting time with you on this, since only a loon could actually make the arguments you did. Your words alone are enough to make you look like a loon and I don’t think I need to actually refute them since it is self-evident to people.

    I like HGG’s idea. A sign that says “killed by Al-Qaeda” would be fine.

    Sincerely,
    Danios.

  • Andrew

    What an absurd post, the people who killed his sons were muslim terrorists; it’s a simple factual statement, if he said he wanted the plaque to read ‘murdered by muslims’ you’d have a point.

    “This would be a dangerous precedent.”

    In your opinion.

    “Should the memorial plaques in honor of the Native Americans read “Murdered by White Christian Genocidal Butchers?”

    Yes that would be a factual statement.

    “According to IraqBodyCount.org, over a 100,000 Iraqi civilians–including men, women, and children–have died due to the war. Should the graves of the dead be emblazoned with “Murdered by Christian Crusaders?”

    Of course not, since every single US soldier is not a Christian.

    “Hundreds of civilians died in Gaza due to Israel’s obscene offensive; should memorials be raised to honor them with the words “Murdered by Jewish Terrorists?”

    Why not?

    “The Islamophobes might ask “weren’t the 9/11 hijackers Muslims and terrorists, so what is wrong with having the plaque say exactly that?” Well, on this line of reasoning, what’s wrong with erecting memorial plaques for white suburban kids “Murdered by Urban Blacks?”

    If he said he wanted a plaque that read ‘murdered by muslims’ you’d have a point; the words ‘muslim terrorists’ make a distinction between psychos with AKs and normal law abiding muslims.

    “One sees this double standard in the media quite clearly: the lives of those who died in 9/11 are covered in detail in order to personalize them (as should be done), whereas the death of Iraqis–of “Mooslims”–is just a meaningless statistic.”

    The media’s that way with any large body count; Northern Ireland, Shri Lanka, the Yugoslavia wars etc all treated as meaningless stats.

    “Mr. Gadiel, your son died. Do not co-opt his death to spread hatred.”

    If he’s trying to spread hatred why doesn’t he want the plaque to read ‘murdered by muslims’? People trying to spread hate don’t make the distinction between fanatics and average joes.

  • Nada

    Any pity I might have for this man is minimized by the fact that he wants to use his sons’ tribute to spread hatred. I’m sick of Muslims having to constantly apologize for and condemn 9/11, especially if this is the response we get. Sorry your son died, but it’s not our fault.

  • Nissa

    This just depressed me. Of course Muslims should all share responsibility for what our co-religionists do….I mean it is only fair since everyone else has to abide by that rule (??!!)

    I am very sorry for his loss, losing a child must be awful and his anger is understandable…I don’t at all hold it against him….but then people should realise that there is a Muslim father on the other side of this imaginary clash of civilisations feeling the same thing and we are all just doomed to hate and war when extremists exploit these very human emotions for their own agendas and everyday people just go with the hate and don’t think past it….

    ‘the Muslim world’…’the West’….these things are political constructions and the world is a lot more complex but I suppose it takes too much effort to realise that…

  • P.S. thanks for linking to Iraq Body Count. I have forgotten to add their widget to my govvs site, though it’s on my old blog. I love what they are doing. I DO want to know the names of those murdered people, and felt that way prior to my return from wingnuttia. Thanks again for posting it, that should be on the news here nightly, dammit.

  • HGG–yeah, that was my thinking, there should be no problem with naming al Qaeda, or the fact that that was a mass murder. This guy, sorry as I feel for him for losing his son (on live TV no less–over and over and over), seems to listen to WAY too much Michael Savage. I mean, I listen to Savage too, but only to LMAO at his insanity.

    HGG–my Bob Jones U. Alum neighbors (the ones I managed to put up with for 2 years and then chased off my street) used to call me a “dirty Mexican”, though I’m not Mexican, but I’ve planned a Big Gay Mariachi Lawn Party for the next time they visit, and you are most cordially invited….ROFL!! I will be singing “Cancion Mixteca” personally, a favorite of mine, though I’m actually 1/4 Spanish/Cuban and not Mexican nor dirty. Go figure. Wish I’d had you here for that real offline battle!

  • HGG

    Why not a plaque that says “Murdered by Al-Qaeda”? Why the need to turn a tragedy into a form of hate?

    Also, as a Mexican, I have no problem with the USA taking the name of America for themselves. Maybe it’s not arrogance, just lack of creativity. :p

  • Danios

    Or it could just be that the word “America” is not in the name “Mexico” but *is* in the name “United States of America” and thus “America” is used as an abbreviation of the more cumbersome “United States of America.” 🙂

    I believe we should be cautious and nuanced in our critique of others, and in our discourse in general. As such, it my contention that broad generalizations of Americans–especially when they are negative–are unhelpful. I myself am a proud American. And by proud, I don’t mean arrogant.

    Sincerely,
    Danios.

  • AF

    Theres no country in this world called “America”.
    America is a continent, formed by North America and South America.

    This continent called “America” is divided in various countries, like Mexico, Cuba, Canada, Brasil, Argentina, USA and so on.

    So a Mexican citizen is a Mexican (his country of birth) and an American (his continent of birth).

    A Brasilian citizen is a Brasilian (his country of birth) and an American (his continent of birth).

    Just like an Italian is an Italian (his country of birth) and an European (his continent of birth).

    For some strange reason, though, the citizens of the country called USA, which is part of the continent America, keep calling themselves “americans”, and their place of living “America”, not in the sense that “America” is a continent but that it is their particular “country”.

    This little, but significant distinction speaks volumes of the utter and immense arrogance, boastfulness and pompousness of the people that inhabit that country called USA.

  • Name

    I agree with you James. The media *cough* fox news *cough* thinks that muslims are lazing it around not doing anything. The media’s job is to report, meaning they have to go wherever the buzz is happening. If the media keeps on using the lame statement “why won’t muslims condemn terrorism?” or “why won’t muslims issue a fatwa against bin laden” well just this year muslims held a candle light vigil commemorating the people who lost their on 9/11. A fatwa issued by the Islamic Commission of Spain against Osama Bin Laden and Al Waeda, and the fatwas by the US Fiqh Council of North America and British Muslim clerics against religious extremism and terrorism. Robert spencer and gang lamely replied and I quote: “All I am saying is this: if someone wants to identify himself as a Muslim and yet eschew the jihad ideology now and in the future, a good way to start would be by being honest about what his religion actually teaches, and working from that basis. Saying that Islam actually teaches peace is not only inaccurate and deceptive.” In the end all the Islamaphobics want is to show Islam as an evil religion with no tolerance. Meticulously enunciating that only the actions of a Muslim deems the religions true colors to be as that of the Muslims action.

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  • peebeuponthem

    “Murdered by Muslim terrorists” is a simple, entirely true fact. I suggest “Murdered by radical fundamentalist Muslim Saudi terrorists” to correct the distracting fears and spurious objections cleverly raised to obscure simple fact. If the law is with you, argue the law. If the facts are with you, argue the facts. I neither the law or the facts are with you, get emotional and create doubt.

  • blah

    New sign over Aushwitz

    “Here lies 1 million Jews …murdered by Christian terrorists”

  • James

    As shown, Muslim groups do condemn terrorism. Why doesn’t the media widely report that they do? My opinion is that American Muslims have nothing to apologize for. Did they plan the attack on 9/11? Did they have anything to do with it? No. Why do people want Muslims to apologize for 9/11? This especially coming from people who supposedly believe in “personal responsibility”. There is a difference between condemning and apologizing. Apologizing for something implies you did something wrong.

    I was surprised at this statement from Mr. Gadiel,

    “I think it’s important, because I think there’s a nationwide effort to suppress the identity of the people who were involved in the attacks,” Gadiel told Fox News.”

    Seriously? How is it possible to think that? Who doesn’t know the identity of the terrorists?

  • Ryan

    Sad Gadiel lost his son, but if he wants a plaque it should say “murdered by cowardly terrorists”. Not all Muslims are the same, and all races and religions have blood on their hands.

  • mallorcaman

    I am amazed by how wise and level-headed this post is, it is a very difficult subject to tackle but it was tastefully and artfully done, the good logic and arguments do not hurt either. I hope that God heals Mr. Gadiel’s heart from the hurt of losing his son and protects it from any hate against Muslims or any other collective of human beings as a result of the hurt. God bless Mr. Gadiel, and God Bless Loonwatch, my anti-rage pill.

  • Condolences To Mr. Gadiel

    My sincere condolences to Mr. Gadiel. Good article guys. You guys should contact some muslim websites and hopefully get some traffic.

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