Family of Irish 9/11 victim slam Koran burning idea
The family of an Irish-born 9/11 victim have slammed the idea of burning Korans to make an attack on the Muslim faith.
Mark Clifford’s sister Ruth McCourt and her four-year-old daughter Juliana were on board the United Airlines flight which crashed into the Twin Towers.
In an incredible coincidence, Mark’s brother Ron escaped the Twin Towers that day, not knowing his sister and niece had been killed in the plane overhead.
Mark told the Irish Examiner he is worried it could all happen again, "I’m very concerned that 9/11 could happen again. There’s no doubt that the burning of the Koran would incite hatred and increase the possibilities of more terrorist killings. All it would achieve is retaliation from extremists.
"It is an act of the utmost stupidity and could have terrible consequences. The pastor should be preaching forgiveness, not inciting hatred and confrontation."
"I’ve moved on from it as best I can, but the scars still remain and they always will. Time is a great healer, but I think about what happened every single day.
"At times what happened doesn’t seem real. It almost seems like something out of a James Bond movie.
"I’ve tried to understand the motivation of those who carried out the attacks and have traveled to the Middle East a couple of times to try and get an understanding of the radical fundamentalism behind it.
"I’ve learnt that compassion and diplomacy are the only way we’re going to bridge the gap with extremists. I’ve also learnt forgiveness and often wonder if the terrorists really understood the full repercussions of what they were doing that day.
"Unfortunately, the world has changed. The countless deaths of American and British soldiers over in Iraq and now Afghanistan, most of whom are under 20, are as a consequence of 9/11."
This year, he says, "I’ll be collecting my thoughts and remembering Ruth and Juliana on the anniversary at the family home in Cork.
"I have had to move on, because there is no point in being angry. The only way to stop this happening again is through diplomacy and religious tolerance."
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