A Muslim who thinks that 9/11 was the result of a broad conspiracy, not 19 Muslim hijackers, has been hired as a chaplain by the New York Fire Department.
Conspiracy theories are nothing new in the Muslim world — in fact, they have sometimes had a peculiar power to influence public policy. And certainly Intikab Habib is correct that conspiracy theories about 9/11 are rife among Muslims in America and elsewhere. But for the FDNY to hire a Muslim chaplain who is unwilling to accept Muslim guilt for 9/11 is symptomatic of a larger problem: the craven unwillingness or inability of public officials to come to grips with the reality of what we’re facing — and in this case, that unwillingness results in what is effectively a stinging insult to those who were murdered on that day. “Incoming FDNY chaplain questions 9/11 story,” from Newsday, with thanks to Jawa:
An imam slated to be sworn in Friday as the second Muslim chaplain in Fire Department history said he questioned whether 19 hijackers were responsible for the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and suggested a broader conspiracy may have brought down the Twin Towers and killed more than 2,700 people.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Imam Intikab Habib, 30, a native of Guyana who studied Islam in Saudi Arabia, said he doubted the United States government’s official story blaming 19 hijackers associated with al-Quaida and Osama bin Laden.
“I as an individual don’t know who did the attacks,” said Habib, 30, a soft-spoken man who immigrated to New York in July 2000 after spending six years in Saudi Arabia getting a degree in Islamic theology and law. “There are so many conflicting reports about it. I don’t believe it was 19 … hijackers who did those attacks.”
Asked to elaborate on his reasons for doubting that story, he talked about video and news reports widely disseminated in the Muslim community.
“I’ve heard professionals say that nowhere ever in history did a steel building come down with fire alone,” he said. “It takes two or three weeks to demolish a building like that. But it was pulled down in a couple of hours. Was it 19 hijackers who brought it down, or was it a conspiracy?”