9/11 Widow: Why I Want the Mosque

Alissa Torres believes 'we've missed the patriotic message entirely'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2010 11:16 AM CDT
Photographs, notes, flowers and other mementos are displayed at a memorial for the victims of World Trade Center terrorist attacks September 8, 2006 in Jersey City, New Jersey.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Alissa Torres, who lost her husband on 9/11, learned about the Park51 Islamic center when a reporter emailed her looking for family members who thought the mosque was "a bad idea." "I always thought journalists were supposed to be objective, and yet, here we were, the 'victims of 9/11,' being prodded for our outrage," she writes on Salon. "What did I think about the decision to construct a 'mosque' this close to Ground Zero? I thought it was a no-brainer. Of course it should be built there."

Torres' husband, "a dark-skinned Latino who came here illegally from Colombia," is a perfect example of "the diversity of those who died at Ground Zero," she writes. "Do we think no Muslims died in the towers? How did '9/11 victim' become sloppy shorthand for 'white Christian'?" Many other victims' families, however, disagreed with her—and jumped at the chance to talk to the press. "I can't shake the feeling that the media has duped us. In trying to create a controversy where there is none, in raking over wounds that—nine years later—still hurt."

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