Daughter of Muslim 9-11 victim speaks out against Ground Zero mosque

Posted by: ST on August 8, 2010 at 11:41 am

A favorite talking point amongst the left during the whole Ground Zero mosque debate has been “weren’t there Muslim victims of 9-11, too? Don’t their opinions count?” as if to suggest they would all be in favor of the Ground Zero mosque – if they were alive to talk about it. Well, yes of course there were Muslim victims of 9-11. And one of their daughters is speaking out today – against it. Neda Bolourchi writes:

I have no grave site to visit, no place to bring my mother her favorite yellow flowers, no spot where I can hold my weary heart close to her. All I have is Ground Zero.

On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, I watched as terrorists slammed United Flight 175 into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, 18 minutes after their accomplices on another hijacked plane hit the North Tower. My mother was on the flight. I witnessed her murder on live television. I still cannot fully comprehend those images. In that moment, I died as well. I carry a hole in my heart that will never be filled.

From the first memorial ceremonies I attended at Ground Zero, I have always been moved by the site; it means something to be close to where my mother may be buried, it brings some peace. That is why the prospect of a mosque near Ground Zero — or a church or a synagogue or any religious or nationalistic monument or symbol — troubles me.

I was born in pre-revolutionary Iran. My family led a largely secular existence — I did not attend a religious school, I never wore a headscarf — but for us, as for anyone there, Islam was part of our heritage, our culture, our entire lives. Though I have nothing but contempt for the fanaticism that propelled the terrorists to carry out their murderous attacks on Sept. 11, I still have great respect for the faith. Yet, I worry that the construction of the Cordoba House Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site would not promote tolerance or understanding; I fear it would become a symbol of victory for militant Muslims around the world.

When I am asked about the people who murdered my mother, I try to hold back my anger. I try to have a more spiritual perspective. I tell myself that perhaps what happened was meant to happen — that it was my mother’s destiny to perish this way. I try to take solace in the notion that her death has forced a much-needed conversation and reevaluation of the role of religion in the Muslim community, of the duties and obligations that the faith imposes and of its impact on the non-Muslim world.

But a mosque near Ground Zero will not move this conversation forward. There were many mosques in the United States before Sept. 11; their mere existence did not bring cross-cultural understanding. The proposed center in New York may be heralded as a peace offering — may genuinely seek to focus on “promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture,” as its Web site declares — but I fear that over time, it will cultivate a fundamentalist version of the Muslim faith, embracing those who share such beliefs and hating those who do not.


I do not like harboring resentment or anger, but I do not want the death of my mother — my best friend, my hero, my strength, my love — to become even more politicized than it already is. To the supporters of this new Islamic cultural center, I must ask: Build your ideological monument somewhere else, far from my mother’s grave, and let her rest.

Read the whole thing.


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6 Responses to “Daughter of Muslim 9-11 victim speaks out against Ground Zero mosque”


  1. Otter says:

    I used to follow things pretty closely at Robert Spencer’s site, and if there is one thing I have learned it is this:

    When a muslim speaks out against something muslim, THEY’VE HAD IT.

    At the very least she will be shunned. If not outright attacked, by her own people.

    I never saw ONE story where it didn’t end up that way. Shunned, silenced, shut out, or just DEAD.

    Good luck, muslim lady.

  2. Steve Skubinna says:

    Big deal, she’s only a woman, and under Muslim law a nonperson. She’s lucky a family member doesn’t kill her for speaking without permission.

    Somebody should erect a billboard at Ground Zero with that photo of the Afghan women, nose and ears cut off. That’s what the mosque represents.

  3. camojack says:

    My heart goes out to this daughter.

  4. Jo says:

    Poignant and moving but also . . . dangerous? I fear for her with the radical Muslim’s seeking to silence both their own women and the Christian faith. God help us all. It is obvious to everyone with decency and common sense that this mosque would be built to show that that ground, like the Dome of the Rock, has been conquered and world dominion is that much closer–obvious to all but the bleeding heart libs who see it as just another example of people’s ‘equal right’s’ being trampled upon by the cruel, narrow-minded right.

  5. Kate says:

    I appreciate this woman’s ordeal and also pray that she will be safe after speaking so boldly about the issue of a mosque to be built at Ground Zero as part of this Culutural Center.

    I find it very insightful that she states that many mosques were already in existence in the United States prior to 9/11/200l, but none of these has ever promoted cross cultural understanding. That is a truth that needs to be underscored. How many have had interfaith services and allowed Christians to celebrate mass with them, say prayers together or even have a potluck dinner? (Just a fews ways I would say you promote interfaith relations) I know Christians would have issues about bending a knee to Allah…I certainly wouldn’t, but we can at least have some social interactions.

    A prime example of where this has never happened and is a sore subject and social problem is in France. There are veritable ghettoes of Muslim society in towns and cities across France. So much for interfaith and cross cultural ties…they don’t wish to integrate into their society. Why do we even entertain the idea that the cultural center at Ground Zero would even pretend to do the same?