An imam due to be sworn in as a New York Fire Department chaplain dropped his bid for the position on Friday after being quoted as saying he doubted al Qaeda hijackers were solely responsible for toppling the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.Didn't the NYCFD interview this guy before offering him the position?
Imam Intikab Habib, 30, told a New York newspaper in an interview published on Friday that a broader conspiracy may have led to the September 11 destruction of the twin towers after two hijacked planes crashed into them, setting them ablaze and killing 2,749 people, including 343 firefighters.
Habib had been due to be sworn in on Friday when he was quoted in Newsday as saying he doubted the U.S. government's version of the towers' collapse.
"I've heard professionals say that nowhere ever in history did a steel building come down with fire alone," he told Newsday. "Was it 19 hijackers who pulled it down, or was it a conspiracy?"
Habib told a local TV station on Friday that stepping aside was "the right thing to do for the department. I was given the chance of resigning or not. I did not want to, but it was best for the department."
Fire Department chief Nicholas Scoppetta said in a statement that based on Habib's comments he "would have been unable to effectively serve in the role he was appointed to."
In the interview, Habib offered no theories on who else might have been involved. He called the attacks tragic and said he did not expect to raise his doubts with firefighters.
The newspaper said Habib, a native of Guyana who was educated in Saudi Arabia, was answering a question about whether he thought firefighters would accept a chaplain with connections to Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers involved in the September 11 attacks were Saudi nationals.
"Every single firefighter is outraged by the comments made by the imam," firefighters' union chief Stephen Cassidy said at a news conference. "Everybody is entitled to their opinion but not when you are hired as a religious leader of the New York City Fire Department."
BALI, Indonesia - Bombs exploded almost simultaneously Saturday in two tourist areas of the Indonesian resort island of Bali, killing at least 19 people and wounding 51 others, police and hospital officials said.
The victims included at least two Americans.
The blasts at Jimbaran beach and a bustling outdoor shopping center in downtown Kuta "were clearly the work of terrorists," police Maj. Gen. Ansyaad Mbai, a top Indonesian anti-terrorism official, told The Associated Press.
Iran threatened economic retaliation against all countries voting not to let its nuclear program continue. The Islamic republic singled out India, voicing "surprise" over its backing of an International Atomic Energy Agency resolution that would send Tehran's case to the U.N. Security Council.Good for India. About damn time they joined the responsible nations of the world.
Iran, a country of 68 million, the vast majority Shi'ite Muslims, has long enjoyed cordial relations with India, a country with 26 million Shi'ites, though they represent a minority given India's total 1.1 billion population.
Tehran wasted no time going on the diplomatic offensive, saying it would "review all its economic and trade ties with all those countries which voted against Tehran."
But Patrick Clawson, deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told United Press International he believed there was little Iran could really do to strike back economically. "Sanctions from Iran would not work," said Mr. Clawson, as Iran needs all the business it can get.
Mr. Clawson explains: Iran is not finding a client for its natural gas pipeline, and if it imposed sanctions, it would only hurt itself even more. It would hurt Iran most if the pipeline from Iran, through Pakistan and on to India, were stopped.
The Islamic republic also threatened to resume uranium enrichment -- which would take it closer to nuclear military capacity. It also threatened to block U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities unless the U.N. nuclear watchdog group, the IAEA, withdraws its resolution. Referral to the Security Council would almost certainly result in sanctions against Iran.
"We were very surprised by India," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters in Tehran. Mr. Asefi said Tehran would send "a letter of objection to the countries that voted for the resolution."
Twenty-two countries voted for the resolution Saturday, calling for Iran to back off its nuclear ambition. But Iran is fighting back. The government spokesman warned the 22 countries that voted against Iran "of economic consequences."
But the U.S. is delighted by India's position. "We appreciate the support. The world is saying to Iran that it is time to come clean," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.
In Washington, the White House has said Iran's behavior "was unacceptable." Mr. McClellan said, "The world has put Iran on notice with this resolution."
The White House spokesman said the U.S. continues to support European diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis but stressed it had "become clear" a growing number of nations are aware that "Iran's noncompliance must be addressed."
When the IDF left the Gaza Strip this month, the fear of discovery did not vanish entirely, but the tension decreased tremendously. If in the past a reasonable suspicion about the existence of a tunnel led to the firing of a shell at it, now, with the Palestinian Authority in charge of one side of Philadelphi, such a suspicion will lead at most to a few days' interrogation and detention. The risk justifies the huge price that is guaranteed to the tunnel artists.Tunnels are big business. Probably the most profitable business in Gaza.
Since the upheaval in local life the Israelis leaving the Philadelphi road and being replaced by the Egyptians tunneling has stopped for a time, as everyone waits to seeWhat if Israel killed every family in whose house a tunnel was found? Imagine the outcry.
which way the wind is blowing."
The Egyptians don't kid around," Jaber says. "There, on the other side, if they find a house where a tunnel has been dug, it is the death penalty for everyone. There are no games. With them the law is the law and punishment is punishment. So we do not go into the houses with the tunnels there, no family will agree to that. We leave via orchards and groves, which are camouflaged well. There is a liaison man there who gets $1,000 just to guard the opening and to open and close it when needed. That is his work."