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Tears, prayers as US remembers 9/11


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A young girl cries as she lies against the name of a loved one at Ground Zero today. – AFP Photo

GROUND ZERO (New York), Sept 11: Yards from the 9/11 memorial, hundreds of Americans, including Muslims, protested on Sunday against Islamophobia as thousands of other Americans walked past them on their way to pay homage to 2,903 people killed at this spot 10 years ago.

Weeping relatives of the victims streamed into a newly opened memorial and placed pictures and flowers beside names etched in bronze. President Barack Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush, bowed their heads and touched the inscriptions.

Children, parents, spouses and siblings called out the names of their slain relatives as millions watched the remembrance on their TV sets across America with tears rolling down their cheeks.

At Ground Zero, where the twin towers of the World Trade Centre stood before they were brought down by terrorists, some in the crowd broke down as a child read out the name of his father. He was in his mother's womb when his father was killed.

“Even thought I never saw you, I will always love you, dad,” he said, as the crowd wept.

“God is a refuge and strength,” said President Obama while reading a passage from the Bible at this haunting but hopeful tribute to the victims. “Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.”

Mr Bush, who ruled the US for 7 years during and after the terrorist attacks, read from a letter President Abraham Lincoln wrote in 1864 to a grieving mother who lost five children in the civil war.

“I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming,” he said.

It was the first time Mr Bush and Mr Obama had stood together at Ground Zero, which has become a symbol of unity in America. Unlike Mr Obama, whose job-approval is now at an all-time low, Mr Bush drew a brief cheer from the crowd before his reading. “For Mr Obama, Sept 11 underpins what has become one of the great paradoxes of his presidency. A Democratic leader who opposed the Iraq war and is pulling troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan has, at the same time, notched up a record as a lethal, relentless hunter of terrorists,” noted The New York Times in a report on Sunday's proceedings.

“Mr Obama has carried out more drone strikes in Pakistan in his first year in office than Mr Bush did in his eight years,” the newspaper added.

“We have taken the fight to Al Qaeda like never before,” Mr Obama told the grieving audience as his administration pledged to continue the drone strikes, which it says have mostly killed terrorists.

In Washington, the National Cathedral held an interfaith service at the Washington Hebrew Congregation at 8:46am, when the first plane had hit the twin-towers.

“Faith is mercy. Mercy is love for humanity. A love for humanity is to believe that human life - all human life - is sacred,” Imam Mohammed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society told the congregation. ADMS runs the largest mosque in the greater Washington area.

At the Pentagon, which was also hit by a hijacked plane on 9/11, Vice President Joe Biden and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta honoured those who died during the attack in Washington.

In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, President and Mrs Obama led a crowd of 5,000 to honour those who died in yet another plane hijacked on 9/11 by the terrorists.

In New York, more than 100 anti-discrimination groups participated in a rally to support the Muslims.

“Right-wing extremists planned an ugly, anti-Muslim rally today to revive their racist campaign against Islam,” said a pamphlet distributed by the organisers. “This climate of scapegoating has included anti-immigrant hysteria and legislation. We condemn it.”

Saleem Akhtarm, national director, American Muslim Taskforce, an umbrella organisation representing dozens of groups, urged the audience to pray for the victims of 9/11 as well as “those three million killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the wars started after 9/11”.

He urged the American public to uphold the US constitution, which grants equal rights to all people regardless of their faiths.

As President Obama and Mr Bush left New York after the initial ceremony, officials relaxed their strict security arrangements put in place three days ago when a CIA informant in Pakistan warned against a possible terrorist attack during the 10th anniversary.

Cars driving by were not stopped and searched, although people going to the memorial were frisked. Members of the media, who also were frisked earlier on Sunday, were spared.

There was a temporary scare in Massachusetts where police were scrambled to track down a truck after receiving a report that three men were seen loading large drums into the back of the vehicle.

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1

Comments (9) Closed

sheryaar Sep 12, 2011 01:58pm
i dont blv people are crying for the victims of 9/11 in front of their former president George bush who is responsible for this whole drama... people should instead push Obama govt for bush's trial and like cowards they were listening to this lier giving speech in front of packed crowd... and for Obama what reason does he have to kill thousand in Pakistan with drone attacks (mostly civilians) to avenge 9/11 ...
nadeem Sep 12, 2011 06:06pm
All fake and fabricated.. stuff by them...
ArishaG Sep 12, 2011 09:33pm
True. Somehow the number of casualties outside of the US which is the direct cause of this event are never brought into light. How many of the thousands were actual guilty of the crime yet have paid a price with their lives.
sami Sep 12, 2011 11:03pm
9/11 very sad day for muslims all over the world,which turn their life so miserable all over the world & so far more then 600 thousand muslims have been killed in this so called war against terrorism.
Pakistani Sep 13, 2011 01:29am
Tears for the victims of 9/11, but no tears for the victims of drone attacks in Pakistan, how sad, I guess we aren't humans probably that's why no one bothers even shedding a tear for us.
Murtaza Sep 13, 2011 04:30am
For the sake as human being it is not less than saddening moment when one thinks of the death of innocent people, whether it is 9/11 attack or the killing of innocent people of Iraq and Afghanistan at the hands of American forces, every single guilty should be brought to the International Court of Justice, whether Al-Qaeda men or soldiers from American forces. No any single race is superior than whole humanity.
Anil Sharma Sep 13, 2011 11:58am
Sometime it is interesting to think what would have been the American response to the Iraqi take-over of Kuwait, if Kuwait had been only a country of farmers growing vegetables and there had been no oil under its earth?! Probably, now Afghanistan has a huge untapped oil reserve deep under its belly !
omer Sep 13, 2011 12:13pm
Yes!!! Life of an American so precious and fine!!! Its a shame our media doesnt give even a fraction of the coverage to its own orphans...Orphans at the hands of neo conservative onslaught on the muslim world. A media laced with hypocrisy and double standards...This media states that " drone attacked suspected terrorists in a car, they attacked again when the local terrorist sympathisers were rescuing the initial victims, they attacked yet again when more people were assembling to help their terrorist friends." Yes...all killed here in the east are terrorists because they were born a tribal or afghan. This media sheds tears of blood for others and looks away coldly when heaps of bodies lie in its own streets.
Shujjat Ayub Khan Sep 13, 2011 11:19pm
US visa must be really hard to get now.