Despite the brouhaha over Donald Trump’s claim that thousands and thousands of Muslims in Jersey City rejoiced over the collapse of the twin towers in terror attack on 9/11, news reports indicate that the Republican presidential hopeful might not have entirely erred in blaming Muslims on the issue.
According to an NJ.Com report published Dec. 20, small pockets of jubilations by Muslims in Jersey City in the aftermath of the terror attack on the World Trade Center in New York were noticed by some residents as well as police officers, many of whom are now retired. The ‘exclusive’ report, based on its own investigation and on interviews with a former police official and some residents of Jersey City, indicated that there might be some credibility in Trump’s assertion about jubilation by Muslims over the attack.
Trump’s claims have come under fire, not only from the community, but also many from his own party as well as the Democrats. The report said that the inquiry provides the “first credible indication” of at least two modest celebrations “as described by onthe-record sources” who said they witnessed the behavior. “When I saw they were happy, I was pissed,” the report quoted Ron Knight, 56, a Tonnele Avenue resident who said he heard cries of “Allahu Akbar” as he shouldered his way through a crowd of 15 to 20 people on John F. Kennedy Boulevard that morning, as saying.
The report claimed quoting “witnesses” that collectively the gatherings amounted to dozens of people at the two locations, Callers also flooded the 911 system with accounts of jubilant Muslims on a rooftop at a third location, according to the report quoting three police officers. Retired police captain Peter Gallagher said, according to the report, that he cleared a rooftop celebration of 20 to 30 people at 6 Tonnele Ave., a four-story apartment building in the hours after the second tower fell on that fateful day. “Some men were dancing, some held kids on their shoulders,” Gallagher, then a sergeant, was quoted as saying.
“The women were shouting in Arabic and keening in the high-pitched wail of Arabic fashion. They were told to go back to their apartments since a crowd of nonMuslims was gathering on the sidewalk below and we feared for their safety,” the report quoting Gallagher said. FBI agents, the report said, took several residents of the building into custody days later, according to neighbors and an account in The Star-Ledger. But it is unclear why they were detained, it said.
The report said three more officers who remain on the Jersey City force said they witnessed small groups of Muslim celebrants on Sept. 11, but they would not speak for attribution, citing a department policy prohibiting media interviews.
The media outlet also spoke to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fullop who had earlier dismissed such claims of jubilation by Muslims. He told NJ.com in an interview that there are no records of such jubilation and over time, “what has happened is that it has become urban legend” in many cities where people say they heard or saw something. He said that such claims are harmful to Jersey City and the Muslim community to perpetuate the stories.
“At the end of the day, the only thing we can go on are facts. There is no media record. There is no police record. There is nothing,” he was quoted as saying. The mayor questioned why Gallagher, the retired captain, did not file a report. “In the days after 9/11, with heightened awareness and heightened scrutiny, the fact that he didn’t document it leads to one of two conclusions: Either he wasn’t doing his job, or it never happened,” Fulop said.