The circle of the 9/11 memorials controversy

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The controversy over the proposed mosque near the World Trade Center has been years in the making.

It’s a short — too short — story from the Associated Press today which provides a comparison between two cities that were targets of terrorists on 9/11:

Muslims pray daily at Pentagon’s 9/11 crash site.

A chapel was built at the Pentagon in 2002 to host prayer services by a number of different religions, Muslim included, according to the AP, which reports that “nobody has ever protested.”

The story seems to originate from a fairly smarmy Salon.com blog post a few weeks ago that appears to have gone largely unnoticed.


Yes, Muslims have infiltrated the Pentagon for their nefarious, prayerful purposes — daring to practice their religion inside the building where 184 people died on Sept. 11, 2001. They haven’t even had the sensitivity to move two blocks, let alone a mile, away from that sacred site.

The “desecration” began shockingly soon after the attacks.

This week, FactCheck.org addressed the question of whether an actual mosque existed at the Pentagon.


The truth is that there is no “mosque” in the Pentagon, according to Army spokesman George Wright. There is a chapel inside the Pentagon where Muslim employees can go to pray, as ABC News recently reported. It’s just not exclusive to followers of Islam.

The Pentagon’s non-denominational chapel was built and dedicated in 2002 in honor of Pentagon employees and passengers of American Airlines Flight 77 who died in the terrorist attack on the building on Sept. 11, 2001.

So, in New York the issue is an actual mosque/community center. In Washington, there’s less of a controversy because other faiths are involved. And unmentioned in all of this is Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which started the controversy over the inclusion of an Islamic symbol with a 9/11 memorial years ago when the parents of Thomas Burnett Jr., of Bloomington, said they didn’t want their son’s name on the memorial as long as a design (above) included a crescent, the symbol of Islam.

About two weeks ago, the Flight 93 Memorial Task Force disbanded after an agreement was reached on the memorial’s construction. Burnett’s name will appear on it (Update: See comments).

The memorial site is being called Sacred Ground.

Meanwhile, back near the World Trade Center, the controversy continues. Today, President Obama said he has “no regrets” about defending religious freedom in the controversy about whether a mosque planned near the WTC site is “disrespectful.”

  • Lisa

    When Timothy McVeigh bombed the building in Oklahoma City did anyone dwell on his religion?

  • Beverly Burnett

    Just for your information, a news person when interviewing my husband, asked him would he ever try and keep Tommy’s name off the memorial? My husband answered, “maybe” ……but was hopeful that the symbols would be removed from the design. I never said I would keep my son’s name off the memorial …….I have not given up ..the Crescent of Embrace name was changed to Circle of Embrace …..what next will be called? The designer and the committee keep changing the design, very difficult to keep up with them. The design is important but I am more concerned with the remains that are still in the open grave, the sacred ground. Now they have bulldozers moving the soil …..this committe got it all wrong. They should have secured the crash site and buried the remains. Instead they concretrated on a design and they selected one that is flawed. I have always thought that the land should not be touched ….leave the site as it was on 9/11. Leave it was when the passengers and crew saw it from Flight 93. Why have 2300 acres? Why have it a National Park ….shouldn’t it be a Cemetery, a final resting place for the 40 passengers and crew? Now that they are moving the land, I ask you, will our son’s wedding ring and St. Thomas medal be returned to us? The wedding ring was engraved and my husband wore it when we were married 57 years ago. We love our son, we miss our son and want a proper burial or return all of his remains to Minnesota.

  • clarice Feldman

    Lisa, contrary to leftist mythology,McVeigh apparently was an atheist. When he was convicted did you hear anyone say we should reach out to those upset by the WACO massacre?