Donald Trump said that he remembers that thousands of Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey were celebrating the 9/11/2001 attacks on that day. Is that true?
On 9/11/2001, your humble correspondent was defending his PhD at 9:30 am. The defense took place in the Busch Campus of Rutgers University, near Piscataway, New Jersey. After that, we went to the top of the Hill Center, the mathematics department at Rutgers, and saw the smoke above the World Trade Center which is 26 miles away (through the air). Those were terrible days for America.
Other people in New Jersey did the same thing. Jersey City is the city in New Jersey that is on the opposite side of the Hudson River than Manhattan. You can see Manhattan nicely from there. Many people over there were devastated.
But did thousands of Muslims in Jersey City celebrate? You bet. Maybe most of them did so in the privacy of their homes but someone who doubts that there were thousands of Muslims who were extremely happy on that day lives in a complete denial of reality.
Jersey City boasts one of the largest Muslim populations in the U.S. There are about 10,000-15,000 Muslims living over there. Thousands are just tens of percent. To believe that Trump's statement is wrong approximately means to be convinced that less than 10% of these Muslims thought that the Americans deserved the attacks. Is such a belief plausible?
Donald Trump could have misinterpreted this East Jerusalem video as scenes from New Jersey. But even if he has done this mistake, his general claim about the happiness in Jersey City's Muslim community is clearly accurate.
I don't think so. The video above shows the well-known celebrations on 9/11 in East Jerusalem, a suburb of the Israeli capital that the would-be State of Palestine would love to annex. If it did annex the area and these radical Arabs would have the freedom to use their military power in any way, we would deal with another copy of the Islamic State or Afghanistan, a territory famous for its terrorist training camps.
(If the pictures of the Palestinians celebrating the Friday 13th attacks in Paris have avoided you, here is a video of that, too. Obviously, regardless of France's frantic efforts to be a pro-Arab country, they did celebrate that event, too.)
How big a portion of the Arab World or the Muslim World these happy people represented? Clearly, an overwhelming majority. Read e.g. this 2012 text about the Muslim celebrations of 9/11 all over the world. There are various stories that help to paint the global picture. An example from Lebanon:
An hour later, at a little market near the U.S. Embassy, on the outskirts of Beirut, a thrilled shop assistant showed us, using his hands, how the plane had crashed into the twin towers. He, too, was laughing.The estimate was that ninety percent of the Arab World celebrated on 9/11. And you know, when you belong to an overwhelming majority of this kind in your nation, and even if you belong to the small minority, you just know that. Now, when you agree that about 90% of the Arabs in the world celebrated, is it plausible that the Jersey City Arabs are so different that more than 90% of them were sad? Please, give me a break. They belong pretty much to the same demographics. They just happen to live in New Jersey but intrinsically, they're still the same Arabs as those in the countries with Arab majorities. They have the same genes. They are taught pretty much the same things in their mosques where one has to build upon the same Quran with the same intolerant and cruel verses.
Once back at the house where we were staying, we started scanning the international channels. Soon came reports of Palestinians celebrating. The BBC reporter in Jerusalem said it was only a tiny minority. Astonished, we asked some moderate Arabs if that was the case. "Nonsense," said one, speaking for many. "Ninety percent of the Arab world believes that Americans got what they deserved."
The Washington Post joined the anti-Trump propagandist hysteria with a fresh article emotionally titled
Northern New Jersey Draws Probers' EyesSome of the Jersey City's Muslims who celebrated on the rooftops were not only "seen". They were actually officially investigated by the FBI for that reason. And now, 14 years later, WaPo finds it "outrageous" for a presidential candidate to even mention those celebrations? People may reasonably dispute lots of detailed numbers and events but to completely deny the general claim that there was a widespread happiness among the Arabs across the world on that day is just plain insane.
In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners' plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.
On 9/11, CNN also aired a story about 4,000 Muslims in a New York mosque where the "revolutionary Muslims" were distributing fliers praising the attacks. Some fraction has clearly sympathized with them.
A reason why I find it completely nutty for someone to deny that thousands of Muslims in Jersey City celebrated is that I know some rather visible Czechs – and I mean Czech atheists, not Muslims – who had celebrated the 9/11 attacks, too. For example, there exists a far left radical and terror apologist named Jan Čulík who has been an instructor at Glasgow University or something like that. He and his radical comrade Tomáš Pecina were running blisty.cz, a far left extremist weblog that still exists, and were praising the 9/11 attacks as a deserved revenge for a very long time after the attacks. (Blisty stands for "British letters" but I was explaining the name as "Bin Laden's letters".) I had quite some fights with this radical scum at that time and they had a sufficient support for the fight of mine to have been nontrivial.
And now someone wants to tell me that 90% of the Muslims in a city with a large Muslim population were sad on that day? And what about the one about Cinderella?
Most Muslims in any large enough community in the world have assigned a positive sign to the events of 9/11. Most whites or Christians etc. didn't. But there exists a rather significant percentage of the truthers who believe that something entirely differently was behind the attacks. And those are not just some low-IQ nuts. Petr Hájek, a former aide of Czech President Klaus who is currently running his Counterstream Internet daily, is a truther. He was also a (co-)founder of Reflex, a prestigious magazine, in 1990. The percentage of people with similar non-standard beliefs is large enough, too. To deny their existence would be crazy, too.
This kind of a detachment from reality seems to be everywhere, however. For example, Obama's ex-classmate Andrew Schapiro is the current ambassador to Czechia (see e.g. my debate with him a year ago).
In June, he was the guest of the Jan Kraus TV show; Jan Kraus is a Czech (Jewish, like Schapiro) comedian and host. Before he impressed everyone with his guitar and singing (Ryan Hollweg, a tough American player in Pilsen's ice-hockey team, is playing and singing songs with his guitar after victorious matches, too), they talked about the difficult life of Schapiro's ancestors in the Czech lands of the late 1930s etc.
But Kraus also proposed Schapiro to "buy" the Czech nation for $10 million – because $1 is enough to buy a social democratic vote in some elections we sometimes have. With a small investment, the enemies of the U.S. could be largely eliminated in Czechia. (That's an exaggeration because you mostly buy just Romani votes in this way, but good enough.) Schapiro said No, no, no and he insisted that only about 4 Czech citizens who live in their mothers' basements dislike America, as a convoy has shown, and everyone else loves America. ;-)
Kraus was surprised by Schapiro's assertion so he asked whether Schapiro believed that a communist may be pro-American. Well, about 15 percent of our nation are proud full-fledged supporters of the communists (be sure that this group overlaps with my life's environment, too) and of course, the friends of America are a tiny subgroup of the communists. And needless to say, foes of America are widespread outside the communist party's base, too. At the end, the friends and enemies of America are "comparable groups" even in Czechia – which is a much more pro-American country than the average country.
Does Mr Schapiro really fail to see these facts or was he just trying to construct an alternate reality he would prefer? At least, Schapiro said that Kraus' comment about the pro-American communists was a "good point". (The translator has confused the tanks that shoot with fuel tanks at some point.)
I think that the would-be intelligent, politically correct mass media (plus ambassadors and other folks) seem to disseminate a hugely distorted and oversimplified picture of reality that is completely ignorant of many facts that even rather ordinary people are very well aware of – often including many details.