Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Farooq Muhammad

The New York Times, after a battle, obtained transcripts of interviews conducted with firefighters and other emergency personnel regarding the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. They published those transcripts online.

Here is an excerpt from one:

File No. 9110180

Interview Date: November 1, 2001

Transcribed by Nancy Francis

LIEUTENANT FEILER: Today's date is November 1st, 2001. The time now is 1035 hours, and this is Monty Feiler of the New York City Fire Department, World Trade Center Task Force. I'm conducting an interview with the following individual:

Q. Please state your name, rank, title and assigned command.

A. My name is Farooq Muhammad. I'm an EMT. Presently I'm on light duty at BHS. I normally work at Battalion 58.

Q. Of the New York City Fire Department. We're conducting the interview at the BITS office regarding the events of September 11th, 2001. . . .

. . .

Q. Is there anything else that you want to add before we conclude, anything that you think is important, that you want to reiterate?

A. Well, I'd like to reiterate the fact that, as a Muslim who works for the Fire Department, that I can say that, as far as my family is concerned, as far as my friends who happen to be Muslims are concerned, that this is no way, you know, this no way reflects Islam. Islam does not teach this. Islam is a religion of peace and it teaches brotherhood amongst all people and races. Regardless of what religion they are, you're supposed to treat them with respect, just like you would treat your own mother or father with respect. What you would want for yourself, that's how you treat them.

I think not only was this an attack on the United States, but the people who did this also attacked Islam because now here you are with millions of people in the world thinking that Islam is something that's of violence, when really it isn't, when really it's these people who chose it as a means to get their -- whatever they did, you know, to get that done, not to actually portray the true Islam. It's just something that they tried to use to manipulate. That's what a lot of people do, unfortunately, and a lot of people out there who claim to be Muslims do manipulate people into thinking that killing innocent people is good when Islam clearly teaches you that it's something that's not tolerated by God and never will be and it shouldn't be tolerated by any Muslim.

So I'd like to let people know that, hopefully, I just hope that people could realize that. People could just do some research on their own instead of just listening to somebody who says that, oh, no, Islam teaches hatred or violence. Hopefully, they could research on their own and find that, no, it's the opposite. It teaches peace and love for all humanity, whether they're Jewish or Christian or Buddha or whatever, rich or poor, men, women or children. It actually teaches respect for the most vulnerable, for the weakest, poorest people. You treat them equal, as you would anyone. There's no like you're better than me or I'm better than you because I'm Muslim. It just doesn't work that way.

It just hurts me that this happened, just like a slap in the face, that's how I see it. For good-hearted Muslims who follow the true message all over the world, I feel this is like a slap in the face, and as an American, I hope that as a nation we could conquer this terrorism, I really do hope that, because my family came here many, many years ago for a better life, to live the American dream. I was born here, raised here. I'm an American citizen. This is my home. I plan on keeping this as my home for as long as I live. I mean, I'm an American. Where am I going to go? This is my home. I truly hope that together Americans can overcome this and that peace could be a part of our daily lives instead of having to worry about getting on the train or traveling or driving in your car worrying about some kind of terrorist attack, or opening your mail, worrying about getting sick.

LIEUTENANT FEILER: Okay. On behalf of the Fire Department, I want to thank you for participating in this. Can I just get the time, please?

A VOICE: 11:00.

LIEUTENANT FEILER: We'll conclude the interview at 11:00 o'clock. Thank you.

Let me make this crystal clear: I don't care who you are.

If you are a hero, I will sing your praise.

And, if you are a criminal, I will expose you.

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