Groups express concern over representation of Muslims in 9/11 museum film

By Daniel S Levine,

One of the exhibits at the National September 11 Museum in New York City, which opens next month, will feature a film on the rise of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. Several groups have expressed their concerns over the video, saying that it does not make it clear that not all Muslims supported the attack.

The Rise of Al Qaeda explains how the terrorist group and others grew before the 2001 attacks and is narrated by NBC News anchor Brian Williams. According to the Associated Press, the film hasn’t been shown to the public, but several groups were allowed to see it before the museum opens.

The groups that saw it were not happy about some of its wording and asked that it be re-edited. “The video may very well leave viewers with the impression that all Muslims bear some collective guilt or responsibility for the actions of al-Qaeda, or even misinterpret its content to justify bigotry or even violence toward Muslims or those perceived to be Muslim,” the New York Disaster Interfaith Service Federation said in a letter, reports NY1.

In addition, the group believes that the video uses terms like “jihadist” and “Islamist” without explaining the meaning.

Shaikh Mostafa Elazabawy of the Masjid Manhattan mosque said in another letter that the current version of the film “would greatly offend our local Muslim believers as well as any foreign Muslim visitor to the museum.”

As for the museum, it is defending the film.

“This brief film, within the context of surrounding exhibits, focuses on the roots of al-Qaeda with the express purpose of helping visitors understand who perpetrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” the museum said. “It does not purport to be a film about Islam or in any way generalize that Muslims are terrorists.”

The museum will open on May 21.

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