- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

People of different religious faiths spoke yesterday in Washington of their shared horror at Tuesday's terrorist attacks at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York, offering prayers for the dead and grieving.
Clergy from Western and Eastern religious traditions will join together today at 10 a.m. at Georgetown University when the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington holds a day of prayer.
Last evening at a prayer service at Washington Hospital Center chapel, most pews were filled. "People don't know what to do with this — that's why they are here," said the Rev. Clyde Spicer Jr., one of four pastors at the service.
One woman asked those present, including family members, staff and clergy to "pray for people who were so angry" — including her son — that they might find a way to forgive.
Another woman said her husband was having his fourth open heart surgery and asked people to remember those dealing with normal difficulties in the midst of new anxieties.
Yesterday morning, Hamza Haj's plans to pray at a mosque were thwarted twice — first when a man in a police line told him to not to enter the Dar al Hirja mosque between Bailey's Crossroads and Seven Corners in Fairfax County and again when he found the iron gates at the Islamic Center on Massachusetts Avenue locked at the scheduled 5:08 a.m. prayer time.
"I couldn't sleep. Someone locally must be helping coordinate this," Mr. Haj said, standing on the sidewalk as national flags flanking the mosque hung, fluttering slightly, at half-staff in the pre-dawn air. "Whoever did it should be brought to justice."
Mr. Haj said he personally opposes the death penalty, but noted that giving victims' families some say over the penalty for perpetrators is an important principle in Islam.
Taxi driver Mohammed Atia of Arlington had hoped to pray at the locked mosque, too, and took a moment to express his emotion outside.
"I don't think a human being could do something like that. I hope the FBI and CIA find who did this — InshAllah in God's help," said Mr. Atia, a native of Egypt who has worked at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport for 10 years.
A sign on the Salvation Army's national and regional headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue told their story: Closed — ongoing emergency.
Stapled to an oak tree nearby the organization's headquarters was the drawing of the U.S. flag and above it the message: "UNITED WE STAND"; below it: "Terrorists WILL FALL."
Uptown, congregants came early yesterday morning to Kesher Israel Orthodox synagogue in Georgetown where Rabbi Barry Freundel highlighted Psalms 20 and 120 — cries for deliverance and reminders of God's covenant with His people.
Mr. Freundel said he had heard people express hopes that the unprecedented attacks and killing of innocents might turn the corner toward peace in the Middle East, but said he doubted it.
"We have an inability to deal with this type of evil," Mr. Freundel said. "You offer peace, but you don't combat it by pushing peace. It's a very painful reality, [but] there are crimes so heinous that capital punishment is the only response. If we don't react with more punishment, we diminish ourselves."
Law students Allan Ellman of New York City and Michael Adler of Long Island said the attack "hit home" in many ways.
"I think people will see Israel's situation more clearly," Mr. Ellman said.
"Terrorism is on an international level, not just in Israel — Israel's never experienced an event of this magnitude," Mr. Adler said.
Imam Yahya Hendi, the Muslim chaplain of Georgetown University, said the attacks are as "tragic and unacceptable" to the Muslim community as to every community in the nation.
"The Muslim community in America and worldwide is very sad, and would like to see those behind these attacks brought to justice," Mr. Hendi said in a statement.
The National Cathedral was closed yesterday as a safety precaution, and at 6 a.m. police patrolled the grounds. However, Good Shepherd Chapel and Cathedral Garth remained open for services and private prayer.
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington, celebrated a special 12:10 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew on Rhode Island Avenue and called on everyone to pray for the nation and the attack victims.
After the Mass, Cardinal McCarrick said his nephew is one of the New York City firefighters missing inside the ruins of the World Trade Center. He told reporters that he was in one of the first groups of firefighters to go into the Trade Center, and was inside when it collapsed.
Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington, identified the nephew as Michael Lynch, in his 30s, who is the son of one of Cardinal McCarrick's cousins. The archbishop, though, considers him a nephew.
Cardinal McCarrick said he was supposed to preside at Firefighter Lynch's wedding in November.
Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law convened a symposium on terrorism yesterday titled "Just Response to Terrorist Warfare."
In Kensington Tuesday night, e-mail and word-of-mouth announcements of an impromptu service brought enough people to fill about half the seats at St. Paul United Methodist Church.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints closed its Washington temple, headquarters in Salt Lake City and Utah temples from Ogden to Provo yesterday, but planned to reopen them today.
Mormon leaders offered prayers and said the church's resources would be available to any relief agency requesting assistance.
Arlo Wagner contributed to this article.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide