Sunday, September 6, 2009

NY Iman Quits Over Remarks Surrounding 9/11

New York lost 343 firefighters in the 11 September 2001 attacks

Article reprinted from BBC News (October 2005).

I admit to being a bit of a conspiracy theorist. I believe that governments around the world are up to things that are not released to the public due to "national security" - a wonderful catch-all phrase that can encompass anything. In Canada, they are broadcasting a documentary regarding 9/11 and how there are many who believe that it was "an inside job" revolving around Bush's desire for Iraqi oil.
The New York Fire Department has begun a hunt for another Muslim chaplain after its new imam had to resign over his views on the 11 September attacks.

Imam Intikab Habib, 30, told a New York newspaper he doubted al-Qaeda hijackers alone caused the Twin Towers' collapse, and suggested there was a conspiracy.

He stepped down hours before he was due to be officially sworn in on Friday.

The FDNY, which lost 343 firefighters in the 2001 attacks, said he would not have served effectively in the role.

Mr Habib told Newsday, in an interview published on Friday, that he was sceptical of the US government's version of events. "I've heard professionals say that nowhere ever in history did a steel building come down with fire alone," he is quoted as saying.

"Was it 19 hijackers who pulled it down, or was it a conspiracy?"

Mr Habib, who trained in Islamic law in Saudi Arabia, offered no theories on who else might have been involved and described the attacks as tragic.

He made his comments after Newsday asked whether he thought New York's firefighters would object to an imam with Saudi connections. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Fire Department chief Nicholas Scoppetta told reporters Mr Habib, who preaches at a New York mosque, had passed a background check.

But, he said: "It became clear to him he would have difficulty functioning as an FDNY chaplain. "There has been no prior indication that he held those views."

Mr Habib, originally from Guyana, told a local TV station that he had not wanted to step aside but it was "the right thing to do for the department".

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed Mr Habib's resignation, his spokesman Ed Skyler said.

"The remarks were offensive and the mayor is satisfied that the chaplain has resigned," he said.

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