Below is the article as it appeared in the Imperial Valley Press and written by Eric Galvan.
Muslim Imam Aziz Abdin said the events of Sept. 11, 2001, both saddened him and made him proud.
Abdin said Thursday, before a crowd at the Muslim Mosque in El Centro as part of the Imperial Valley Interfaith Council’s Sept. 11 remembrance, that he was saddened that innocent people were killed for no reason and that terrorists claimed the events were done in the name of God.
“But I was also proud. What makes me proud is the sacrifice made by our heroes, the firefighters and police officers that gave their lives,” Abdin said. “And what also made me proud was the unity of this country. The events never broke the unity of this country.”
The sentiments were echoed throughout the night as people from different religious faiths and differing beliefs gathered to listen to words from those in the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities.
Imperial Valley College president Ed Gould talked about his memories during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 when he was visiting Grossmont College in El Cajon from his home in Stockton.
He said as the events unfolded, throughout the day he witnessed and was told of rising tensions at Grossmont and at his college at the time in Stockton.
Trying to ease tensions he decided to hold memorial ceremonies to help students and faculty cope.
“What we realized was that it would take some time to heal,” Gould said. “But from that came the recognition that love, not hate, powers the world.”
Dr. Mirza Baig said for as long as she could remember she never covered her head with a traditional Muslim scarf.
But she said following the events of Sept. 11 she decided it was time to start covering her head. That would show her faith and beliefs and allow others to ask questions and help gain a better understanding of the Muslim religion.
“It was as if I was coming out of the closet,” Baig said. “By doing so, I could only hope to improve the understanding of my religion.”
David Oceguera, pastor of the El Centro Seventh-day Adventist Church, offered a prayer before dinner served to those present, saying: “We come together seven years later after such atrocious things happened. … We pray for the heroes. … We pray for the citizens that sacrificed their lives so other could live. … And may justice be served one day.”