A group comprising Christians, Jews and Muslims will hold an interfaith memorial ceremony at Ground Zero in New York on Sunday to commemorate those killed in the 9/11 terror attacks exactly 10 years ago.
Priests, rabbis and imams have held joint commemoration ceremonies in churches, mosques and synagogues around the United States over the last several days, to demonstrate a renewed spirit of reconciliation and coexistence which the terrorists sought to eradicate.
Far away from the media spotlight and the publicity-hungry politicians, the 10-year anniversary has turned into a demonstration of affection and cooperation between national leaders of the three faiths.
In New York alone there are expected to be approximately 15 interfaith memorial events. Multi-faith commemorations also set to take place in Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago and other major cities.
The official opening of the interfaith events took place last Friday, when over 2,000 Muslims congregated in an uptown Manhattan mosque and participated in a ceremony commemorating those killed on September 11. Along with head imam Ali Shamsi, a renowned Muslim leader who delivered the sermon at the event, two rabbis and two priests also participated. Commissioner of the New York City Police Department Raymond Kelly was present at the event, as a gesture to the New York City Muslim community.
Interreligious commemorative events also took place in Miami Beach, where Catholics and Jews participated in a prayer service which took place in a mosque. Catholics and Muslims later joined Jews in a prayer which took place at the city’s Beth Or Synagogue.
“We’ve defeated the terrorists”, said Imam Shamsi in an interview with Haaretz. “The terrorists who acted on September 11 sought not only to kill innocent people, but also to divide the public and sow hate among us, to incite man against his fellow man. But they failed.”
Shamsi said he was participating in a total of eight interfaith commemoration ceremonies that will take place in churches and synagogues in Queens.
“Sunday is the Christian day of prayer, thus most of the events I will be participating in are taking place in churches”, he said. "The attackers wanted and still want the believers of the different religions to hate one another. But in the wake of the attacks, we’ve become closer. The relationships between American Jews and Muslims have become tightly knit, and evermore significant.”
"Ten years ago there were no ties between Jews and Muslims in the United States. Today they exist, and are experiencing a blossoming of cooperation," said Rabbi Marc Schneier, head of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
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