In the 11 September attacks, 343 New York
fire fighters died
The New York fire department's Muslim chaplain has abruptly resigned
after saying in a published interview that a conspiracy, not 19 al-Qaida hijackers,
may have been responsible for the 11 September attacks.
"It became clear to him that he would have difficulty functioning as an
FDNY chaplain," Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta told reporters on
Friday an hour before Imam Intikab Habib - who has been on the job for six weeks
- was to be officially sworn in. "There has been no prior indication that
he held those views."
Habib told the Newsday newspaper that he was sceptical of the official
version of the attack on the World Trade Center, which killed 343 members of
the Fire Department of New York. The newspaper published the interview hours
before the swearing-in ceremony on Friday.
"It takes two or three weeks to demolish a building like that.
But it was pulled down in a couple of hours," Habib told the newspaper.
"Was it 19 hijackers who brought it down, or was it a conspiracy?"
The 30-year Guyana native joined the department as chaplain on 15 August after
the FDNY's Islamic Society recommended him for the part-time position, which
pays $18,000 a year.
Scoppetta said Habib, who was educated in Islamic law in Saudi Arabia and preaches
at a New York mosque, had appeared qualified and passed a background check.
"It's sad," said Kevin James, a spokesman for the Islamic Society
of Fire Department Personnel. "We had no idea those were his views. He's
entitled to his opinion but he's not the right person for the chaplain."
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