New York (CNN) - Thursday's opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York was 13 years in the making.
Museum officials consulted hundreds of people - survivors, relatives of the victims, rescue workers, community leaders and others - as they determined what should be included in the exhibits occupying the halls beneath the footprints of the Twin Towers.
While that effort has been applauded by many for being a fitting, emotional telling of one of the darkest days in U.S. history, it is not without its controversies. Among them is a seven-minute film entitled "The Rise of Al Qaeda."
The documentary tells the story of the growth of a worldwide terrorist organization. The film, which features video of al Qaeda training camps and previous attacks, plays next to a room where photos of the 9/11 attackers are on display.
The inclusion of that story is not the problem. But the use of words like "jihad" and "Islamist" in the narration prompted some Muslim Americans and others to call for edits.
Opinion by Nathan Lean, special to CNN
(CNN) - The attacks of September 11, 2001, were unthinkable, and are rightfully memorialized with the somber reflection that marks other tragedies of our nation’s past.
From the Oval Office that Tuesday evening 12 years ago, President George W. Bush addressed the stricken nation with a message of hope.
“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America,” he said. “This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace.”
Sadly, though, out of that dark hour came more darkness.
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) – The Transportation Security Agency has issued an advisory about the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, telling its workforce and passengers that they may observe Muslims fasting, carrying prayer beads and whispering prayers on planes and in airports.
Ramadan begins this week, though the exact date varies depending on locale. It is the holiest month of the year for the world's 1.5 billion Muslims, during which many fast during daylight hours and dedicate more time than usual to praying and reading the Quran.
"Whenever the TSA is trying to create an environment of understanding, we welcome that," said Haris Tarin, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council's Washington office. "At the same time, it highlights certain actions that can make the American Muslim population seem almost alien."
Editor's note: Sumbul Ali-Karamali is the author of "The Muslim Next Door: the Qur’an, the Media, and that Veil Thing, and Growing up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam." She is on the steering committee of Women in Islamic Spirituality and Equality and is a member of the Muslim Women’s Global Shura Council, both of which aim to promote women’s rights and human rights from an Islamic perspective.
By Sumbul Ali-Karamali, Special to CNN
(CNN) - My father always told me never to talk about religion, politics, or other people’s children. He was part of a generation of American Muslims who wanted to stay quiet and assimilate into American life and not rock the boat. Growing up in Southern California, I tried to follow his advice.
But after 9/11, I found that I, along with other American Muslims, have had little choice but to talk about religion.
Although countless Muslims have condemned the acts of 9/11 in the United States and worldwide, American Muslims became objects of suspicion.
By Susan Candiotti, CNN
You won’t find Mohammed Hamdani among the names of the first responders that are etched in a wall at the 9/11 memorial in New York.
But on the day of the 9/11 attacks, the 23-year-old certified EMT and onetime NYPD police cadet skipped his job at a university research lab to rush to the World Trade Center. Not long after, his family posted Hamdani’s picture on a wall of the missing.
Six months later, his remains were found - in 34 parts.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story ran in 2011, around the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
By Jose G. Santos, CNN
Fairfax Station, Virginia (CNN)– Ten years ago, Balbir Singh Sodhi was gunned down, apparently because he looked Muslim or Arab.
He was neither.
Sodhi was a Sikh. Members of the religious tradition say he was the first person to be murdered in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks.
That claim has been backed up by the Justice Department.
"The first person killed in post-9/11 violence, Balbir Singh Sodhi, was a Sikh, shot while pumping gas at his gas station in Arizona four days after 9/11," said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez in congressional testimony earlier this year.
For American Sikhs, Sunday's deadly attack on worshippers at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee dredged up memories of other recent attacks against their community.
At least seven people, including a gunman shot by a police officer, were killed in Sunday's attack.
In the case of the post 9/11 attack on in Arizona, a 45-year-old aircraft mechanic named Frank Roque gunned down a bearded, turban-wearing Indian immigrant outside a Mesa gas station. Roque drove up to the station, fired a handgun at Balbir Singh Sodhi - who owned the station - five times, then fled.
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
Sunday was the 19th anniversary of the first World Trade Center terrorist attack, which claimed 6 lives on February 26, 1993. I took this occasion as a chance to see the 9/11 Memorial, which remembers these six victims alongside the 2977 people killed on September 11, 2001, in the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
I have been writing recently about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Lower Manhattan site is obviously influenced by that design. So it is hard to avoid comparisons. There are the granite walls, though in the New York memorial there is flowing over them. And there are the names of the dead, though in New York they are cut through bronze rather than inscribed on granite.
But the spirit of the 9/11 Memorial is very different.
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
(CNN) – Every religion has its true believers and its doubters, its pious and its pragmatists, but new evidence suggests that Muslims tend to be more committed to their faith than other believers.
Muslims are much more likely than Christians and Hindus to say that their own faith is the only true path to paradise, according to a recent global survey, and they are more inclined to say their religion is an important part of their daily lives.
Muslims also have a much greater tendency to say their religion motivates them to do good works, said the survey, released over the summer by Ipsos-Mori, a British research company that polls around the world.
By Dan Merica, CNN
(CNN) – A decade after the 9/11 attacks, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America agreed Friday to rebuild the destroyed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan.
The agreement stipulates that the church be rebuilt near the original site with slight modifications to the archdiocese's desired plans, the most noticeable being a nondenominational bereavement center at the east end of the structure.
“Rebuilding St. Nicholas Church, with a nondenominational bereavement center, is not just good news for the Greek Orthodox community, but for all New Yorkers,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “With this agreement, we are continuing New York’s collective healing, restoration and resurgence.”
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Falls Church, Virginia (CNN)– Worshippers hurried by a host of cameras and reporters on their way to Friday prayers at the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center. Many of those who stopped to ask about the gaggle of media found out for the first time American Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who once stood in their pulpit, had been killed Friday by a CIA drone strike in Yemen.
“I think he should have gotten a proper burial as a Muslim, but as a human being I don’t think he was right for his mentality and his morality,” said Jouwad Syed, who recently started attending the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center.
“In a way, we’re not glad that he’s dead. At the same token, it’s helpful. We’re trying to clear our name. There’s crazy people everywhere you go in different religions. He’s just one of the few and he definitely doesn’t represent what Islam is all about,” Syed said.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.