May 15th, 2014
08:18 AM ET

9/11 Museum film stirs controversy

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.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 9/11 • Islam • Muslim • Religious violence

soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Keith

    So, the Muslims think that we shouldn't tell the truth about who and why they attacked us?

    June 28, 2014 at 9:32 am |
  2. Peaceadvocate2014

    Scrap the video and focus on the memorial for the people who were lost since 911 is controversial.

    May 27, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
  3. ogamidiagoro

    What part of the Quran did those who complained read?

    Jihad is a major part of Islam.

    May 19, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
  4. thesamyaza

    faith destroyed that building not evil,.. good and evil are illusionary constructs every individual hold a different idea of what good and evil is. for instance to me Christianity is evil.

    May 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
    • Keith

      I have never heard it presented that way, but it sounds right to me.

      June 28, 2014 at 9:34 am |
  5. joeyy1


    May 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
  6. realbuckyball

    The Quran clearly tells Muslims that infidels should be killed. There is no way to put lipstick on the pig.
    Just like Yahweh said to kill babies and disobedient children.
    Time for the pink monkey to grow up, and leave behind ancient superst'itions.

    May 18, 2014 at 12:47 am |
    • gruphy

      Hey where is this guys feeding bottle?

      May 18, 2014 at 5:35 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Insulting person for speaking the truth you don't want to hear shows nothing beneficial from you. How about growing up and debating what he said, instead of being ignorant about it?

        May 18, 2014 at 7:06 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Insulting a person for speaking the truth you don't want to hear shows nothing beneficial from you. How about growing up and debating what he said, instead of being ignorant about it?

        May 18, 2014 at 7:06 am |
    • Keith

      The truth is hard for some people to hear.

      June 28, 2014 at 9:38 am |
    • dcmcconnell1

      The Bible demands non-believers to be killed also. Or does the Old Testament not count?

      August 15, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
  7. idiotusmaximus

    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.....

    Why edit the truth......so history can lie one more time.....they were JIHAD and very definitely ISLAMIST.....sorry Muslims that's the way it happened and I'm a die-hard ATHEIST .....maybe you want to change other things in history that you don't like?

    May 16, 2014 at 10:17 am |
    • Keith

      The winners get to decide what the truth is. It seems to me that the Muslim Terrorists have won. If you look at the amount of our budget that now goes to fighting an invisible enemy, and the many personal rights and freedoms we have sacrificed for that fight.

      June 28, 2014 at 9:42 am |
  8. joeyy1


    May 15, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
    • tallulah131

      The song's themes include contrast, contradictions and urgency. According to Jon Wiederhon of MTV News, "Martin seems to address the helplessness of being in a dysfunctional relationship he doesn't necessarily want to escape."

      (from wikipedia)

      May 18, 2014 at 3:38 am |
    • Keith

      About the most boring music I have ever heard

      June 28, 2014 at 9:45 am |
  9. flightfromfrostmtn

    Its American policy, its Israel, Its the Wests' decadent ways, Its this, its that... Islam is a religion of peace...These verses give us the right to kill the infidel, these versus say we should be peaceful......

    If it were possible i would love to let them have a globe of their own where Islam dominates... who would they blame for the violence then?

    Violence driven by superst itions – lets ignore the root cause a while longer.....should work out well for us...........

    May 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • kudlak

      "If it were possible i would love to let them have a globe of their own where Islam dominates... who would they blame for the violence then?"

      Life would just be brutal for everyone in that society, and the violence would become sectarian, kinda like Christian Europe use to be.

      May 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
    • gruphy

      In every religion there is a spiritual (God loves me, Jesus loves me, Allah is merciful, Leave people of other religions alone, God is unknowable) and the dogmatic (I love God, I love Jesus, Allah Akbar, kill the infidel, religious people are deluded.) thinking. Do u recognise yourself in there?

      May 18, 2014 at 5:41 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        All gods and the use of them is strictly based on man's imagination, nothing more. People who have claimed to hear god speak are not able to confirm it is god and in certain cases they believe that their imaginary friend (god) demands they do horrible things. Religion of any form has proven to be very detrimental to our world and muslims are far from peaceful-a quick look at the world around you tells you that, although they are very similar to the days of when the Christians burned witches at the stake or the days of the Crusades or the Inquisition. The only safe way to control any of this from happening is to stop religions from having any control anywhere...protect women and children and our species at all cost or the fools believing the stories will ensure the demise of our species before long (as they continue to ignore the obvious and say their imaginary friend had a reason for it-blatant ignorance).

        May 18, 2014 at 7:01 am |
        • hotairace


          May 18, 2014 at 7:06 am |
  10. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Normally I wouldn't hesitate to criticize people, who ignorant of the distinction, conflate Islam and all Muslims with terrorism.

    I haven't seen this film, but I don't get the feeling that this is the case here. To be meaningful in the context of this article, the accompanying video should have been the sections of the movie that speak of the rise of Al Queda and have created whatever controversy there is.

    The fact is clear. The heinous acts of 9/11 were perpetrated in the name of Islam. There is no way to sugar coat this and it is a subject that should not be avoided.

    May 15, 2014 at 11:01 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Perhaps the question should be:

      Is the 9/11 museum the place to educate visitors about being Muslim and how being Muslim is not equivalent to being a extremist jihadi terrorist?

      I can see relatives of the victims being very impatient with this approach.

      The museum of course is more than a place for relatives to grieve but I don't think the museum should sugar coat what happened.

      May 15, 2014 at 11:07 am |
      • gruphy

        In my country Islam meant beautiful women, polygamy, exotic cuisine, and certain other niceties. Of course short temper and ghettoism was also there. However terrorism is and was never one. Its sad the dogmatic Muslims are becoming more prominent. Spiritual Islam focussing on Allah's mercy is a very beautiful doctrine.

        May 18, 2014 at 5:48 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          The issue is that Muslims like Christians think their god is the right one and the extremists use the belief to deny rights to those who don't believe as they do-a pregnant Christian woman sentenced to hang for not renouncing her belief and to 100 lashes-not such a peace loving religion to torture a woman and oppress people.

          May 18, 2014 at 6:48 am |
  11. hotairace

    Perhaps it would be better if the video concluded with something like "The actions of these muslim terrorists is not much different than . It is not unusual for normally decent persons to perform horrendous acts when they take their unfounded beliefs, for which there is not a shred of actual evidence, to extremes."

    May 15, 2014 at 10:34 am |
    • kudlak

      No need to go any further than the Irish during the time of The Troubles.

      May 15, 2014 at 10:37 am |
    • hotairace

      Above should have said "much different than [insert long list of religion inspired atrocities].". . .

      May 15, 2014 at 10:41 am |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    while islamic countries are still sentencing people to death for apostasy, no muslim anywhere can claim that islam is a religion of peace. That's just BS and we need to call them on this BS. All muslims everywhere have to bear the shame and the responsibility of the pain and suffering their religion is wreaking on the human race.

    May 15, 2014 at 10:12 am |
    • Alias

      That is a reflection of a government using religion to unite and control the population.
      Research where the acronym f u c k came from.

      May 15, 2014 at 10:24 am |
      • workingcopy12

        A Van Halen album?

        May 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
      • Akira


        May 19, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
  13. Vic

    Islam can never be a religion of peace until 'holy war' or 'jihad' is renounced.

    May 15, 2014 at 10:06 am |
    • Alias

      please remind me in what year the RCC renounced crusades?

      May 15, 2014 at 10:11 am |
      • Keith

        The RCC is not there is it?

        June 28, 2014 at 9:51 am |
  14. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Stop all the verbiage and cut to the truth:

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

    Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

    Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    May 15, 2014 at 9:50 am |
    • gulliblenomore

      Or....just admit that all religions are man-made c-rap and move into the 21st century.

      May 15, 2014 at 9:55 am |
      • Reality

        Been there and done that:

        Putting the kibosh on all religions and their gods in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

        • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

        • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

        • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

        • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

        • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

        • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

        • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

        Added details available upon written request but also given many times on this blog.

        A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

        e.g. Taoism

        "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

        Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

        May 15, 2014 at 11:15 pm |
    • Alias

      Islam did not attack christianity.
      Some angry Saudis attacked the USA because of our foreign policies.
      Islam was a tool to rally the troops just as other religions have been used in the past.

      May 15, 2014 at 10:15 am |
      • Reality

        The terror and horror of Islam is written in their operating manual:

        o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
        "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

        "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

        "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

        "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:29-)

        "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

        "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

        "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

        "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

        "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

        "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

        "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

        "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

        "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

        "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of you

        May 16, 2014 at 8:31 am |
        • Keith

          It seems they forgot the part about being merciful to each other. Lucky for us they are killing why more fellow Muslims than they are infidels.

          June 28, 2014 at 9:59 am |
    • Keith

      Are you going to demand that the Yahwehist remove half of their "bible" also? The Christians don't follow their book now but a Fundamentalist movement could turn Christianity into a religion as harmful as Islam any day.

      June 28, 2014 at 9:55 am |
  15. gulliblenomore

    The sooner ALL religions are gone from this planet, the sooner we will all be able to live a more peaceful existence

    May 15, 2014 at 9:27 am |
    • Dyslexic doG


      May 15, 2014 at 10:14 am |
    • ddeevviinn

      I agree. It will be just like the "peaceful existence" under Joseph Stalin and the "godless" Soviet Union. Can't wait.

      May 16, 2014 at 3:38 am |
      • ssq41

        Sorry, dev....several melennia of a world full of religion has proferred more dicontent than anything ol' Joe could have dreamed of.

        I always love when you raise Stalin from the dead, though. Clearly, having lived the Evangelical life for 3 decades, you would be far more comfortable in a Stalinesque world than in the Republic you currently live in.

        I don't know why American Christians just don't purchase some land from Putin and migrate....Certainly Franklin Graham seems to greatly admire the rising Czar.

        May 16, 2014 at 4:32 am |
      • Keith

        No one is claiming that peace will break out if religion was removed, but if you look at the world today, there would be a lot less violence than we now have.

        June 28, 2014 at 10:04 am |
    • Keith

      I tend to agree, Religion has been one of the most destructive forces in human history.

      June 28, 2014 at 10:02 am |
  16. Doc Vestibule

    Bin Laden's followers believe his words that "oppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy. Destruction is freedom and democracy, while resistance is terrorism and intolerance."

    He often hearkened back to the Isreali/American campaign in Lebanon in the early eighties, stating "as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children."

    He was, without a doubt, a murdering warlord who inspired his followers to commit atrocious acts of barbarism, but we must bear in mind that he was not a villain in his own eyes – nor in the eyes of those who heeded his call to arms.

    May 15, 2014 at 8:46 am |
    • colin31714

      It was the Canadians. The Canadians were behind it. They wanted to draw fire to Bin Laden, while they established a Caliphate stretching from "the Arctic Circle to the Panama Canal" as one Quebecois extremist put it. "Nous sommes tous Osama Bin Laden".

      May 15, 2014 at 9:02 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        It's aboot protecting freedom, eh.
        A "pax Canadiana" if you will. Liberte, verite et tortierre pour la monde entiere!

        May 15, 2014 at 9:17 am |
        • colin31714

          Non, c'est pas vrai. C'est la perfidie canadienne!!

          May 15, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • fintronics

          Find a mouse in your beer, get a free case eh?

          May 15, 2014 at 10:22 am |
      • kudlak

        Sounds like the movie Canadian Bacon.

        May 15, 2014 at 11:16 am |
    • Alias

      Too much reality for this page.
      You know the posters here run from facts.

      May 15, 2014 at 10:29 am |
    • Keith

      If you are in the house when it is bombed, it doesn't' make any difference who is right. If America would quit bombing peoples houses and killing their children we would have a lot fewer enemies.

      June 28, 2014 at 10:06 am |
  17. Theo Phileo

    Isn't it funny how times change?

    I remember that after the attacks, when the president was on TV and telling the American people that "the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from ALL of us soon," and when musicians were writings songs about how angry they were, if we had built this memorial THEN, I'm sure the interior walls would have been ceremonially painted with muslim blood. Now, we're worried about offending them. GROW UP...

    I'm sure there's NOWHERE on the planet where they are "worried about offending Americans."

    May 15, 2014 at 8:38 am |
    • kudlak

      And don't you just miss the good old days when any old indian village could be massacred just because some other indians killed a settler a 1000 miles away, or when you could lynch some black man just because a pregnant white girl claimed to be ra.ped?

      May 15, 2014 at 11:28 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Name one country in the world who is concerned about offending Americans.

        May 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • hotairace

          Why should any country worry about offending the USA?

          May 15, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
About this blog

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.