Wednesday, August 25, 2010

September 11 and Muslims

In 2001, 24 Canadians perished in the attacks that took place on September 11 in the U.S. A total of 2,974 died in Washington D.C., New York and Pennsylvania.

This September 11 will make 9 years since the event and raw emotions are still close to the surface even as construction takes place to build new office towers and a memorial. Part of the controversy in recent months is in regards to a mosque or Islamic cultural center which is a looking to build a few blocks from ground zero.

There was one Winnipegger killed on September 11. Dr. Christine Egan was a nurse and professor at the University of Manitoba. She lived nearby and by all accounts was an amazing person. She was at World Trade Center visiting her brother, an exec at Aon Corporation on the 105th floor when the planes hit. No one that high up above the impact site survived the attack.

Another Winnipegger affected by the attack was my high school friend Abby Carter. He husband Arron Dack was also at World Trade Center when the first plane hit. He was able to call his wife shortly after the impact but was not able to escape below the impact site.

If anyone is to have a strong view about the Islamic cultural center, it might be Abby. This is what she said the other day.

When I first heard of the Mosque I thought “Good. What better way to teach tolerance on both sides of the coin?” Thoughts of it being “insensitive” to 9/11 family members did not enter my mind. I began to hear rumblings of how Muslims build mosques at the sites of their victories, but have discovered there are various interpretations of that understanding, one being that they build mosques at sites within crying distance of Muslims. Muslims were killed in the buildings too. Muslims have suffered from post 9/11 racism. So yes, building in a place of tears makes sense to me. Building within crying distance for all Americans makes sense to me. We are all finding ways of healing.

I think Abby is pretty incredible.

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Alyson said...

It's a shame more people can't think as pragmatically as Abby can.

John Dobbin said...

I think she is an incredible person.