9/11 Museum Film Sparks Concerns Over Reference to Islam, Terrorists

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The National September 11 Memorial Museum plans to show a film that is already causing controversy.

Groups who were asked to screen the seven-minute documentary "The Rise of Al Qaeda" said the film makes no distinction between the Islamic extremists who committed the September 11th attacks and the Islamic faith as a whole.

They said the terrorists are referred to as "Islamists.”

Ruth Yoder-Wenger with New York Disaster Interfaith Services met with museum officials, including the museum director Alice Greenwald, to discuss the group’s concerns about the film.

“And I remember specifically Ms. Greenwald nodding her head and saying, 'Yes, I understand, I understand, and we’re not going to change it,'” she said.

Museum spokesman Anthony Guido confirmed the museum will not be making any changes to the film. In an email, the museum said the goal of the film is to show who was responsible for the attacks. “It does not purport to be a film about Islam or in any way generalize that Muslims are terrorists," the email said.

Ryan Mahoney with the Council on American Islamic Relations in New York said he will continue to push for edits to be made before the museum opens.

They need “to make it really clear the issue is with extremists, not Muslims in general,” he said. “Muslims were first responders, Muslims died in this event, and it’s a tragedy for all communities.”

The Museum did not permit WNYC to screen a copy of the film.