|05ABUDHABI3883||2005-09-12 12:49:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Abu Dhabi|
null Diana T Fritz 08/28/2006 03:59:09 PM From DB/Inbox: Search Results Cable Text: UNCLAS ABU DHABI 03883 SIPDIS CXABU: ACTION: AMB INFO: DCM POL PAO ECON DISSEMINATION: AMB CHARGE: PROG APPROVED: AMB:MSISON DRAFTED: DCM:MQUINN CLEARED: PAO:HOLSIN-WINDECKER VZCZCADI574 OO RUEHC RUEHZM DE RUEHAD #3883/01 2551249 ZNR UUUUU ZZH O 121249Z SEP 05 FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1530 INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ABU DHABI 003883
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Embassy Abu Dhabi held a ceremony
commemorating the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and
honoring the memory of those from eighty-two countries who
lost their lives on September 11. UAE senior officials from
the Presidency, and Ministries of Justice and Islamic
Affairs, Information and Foreign Affairs attended as well as
the diplomatic corps, including ambassadors from 25 Muslim
(13 Arab) countries. More than 95 guests gathered for the
30-minute ceremony which featured statements by the
Ambassador, the UAEG's senior religious advisor, and an
American clergyman. Ambassador Sison emphasized that 9/ll
had been a blow to the entire world and a reason for all to
stand united against the scourge of terrorism regardless of
nationality or religion. She thanked the UAEG for its
partnership in the war on terror as well as for its generous
donation to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. Arabic and
English language media coverage of the 9/11 ceremony was
extensive; the event has also been posted on the official UAE
News Agency (WAM) website. (Note: That two of the 9/11
hijackers were UAE nationals was left unspoken during the
ceremony but is a fact well-known both to participants and
the UAE populace.) END SUMMARY.
2. The Ambassador opened the event with remarks highlighting
the fact that it was not the U.S. alone that had been
attacked on 9/11. The blow had affected the entire
international community. She praised the UAE,s strong
public stand against extremism and terrorism and quoted
POTUS' September 9 statement at the R swearing-in that "We
must defeat the terrorists not only on the battlefield but
also on the battlefield of ideas." The featured speaker from
the UAEG was Sheikh Ali Al Hashemi, Religious Advisor to
President Khalifa. Keying his speech to the Ambassador,s
remarks, Al Hashemi noted that the significance of the
anniversary lay in the fact that people the world over
remembered the innocents who died on 9/11. It was
regrettable that the criminal acts were committed by people
who considered themselves Muslims, he emphasized. "A human
being," he observed, "is neither an angel nor a devil ... and
we have to nourish the spiritual and ethical sides of people.
What happened in the U.S. on 9/11 was contradictory to
Islam,s principles and to those of all other religions. All
faiths respect human life, and human life must be protected."
(Note: Information Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al
Nahyan, in Paris enroute to the UN, had telephoned Ambassador
earlier in the week and congratulated the Embassy for
organizing the event and featuring Al Hashemi, a higly
respected religious scholar. End note.)
3. (SBU) The Reverend William Bartoul, a Roman Catholic
chaplain stationed at the USAF 380th Expeditionary Wing at
UAE,s Al Dhafra Air Base, hailed the important role of
courage in the battle for freedom and asked those assembled
to remember all the persons killed on 9/11 as well as "the
victims of every nation that felt the murderous touch of a
terrorist... (including) the troops who have fallen in the
pursuit of justice and freedom from terrorism... the
survivors, the families and friends of those who have died."
The presence of an American clergyman made an unmistakable
impression on the UAE Islamic Affairs officials present; he
was invited to meet them again, to attend their events as
well as an iftar during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
4. Upwards of 95 host country and foreign government
officials attended the 9/11 ceremony, including key UAE
senior officials charged with counter-radicalization, terror
finance, and military-to-military responsibilities. The
Under Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Islamic
Affairs, Mohamed bin Juma bin Salem, the Under Secretary of
the Ministry of Information, Saqr Ghobash, and the Assistant
Under Secretaries from the Ministries of Information, Foreign
Affairs, and Justice/Islamic Affairs all attended the
ceremony. Ambassadors and charges from a total of 47
embassies -- including 25 Muslim countries and 13 Arab
nations attended, as did resident American business,
educational and community leaders and Embassy/Consulate
General staff and families. At the conclusion of
Ambassador's speech the audience observed a moment of silence.
5. The embassy's 9/11 ceremony received extensive coverage
in the Tuesday, September 12, UAE Arabic and English press
with prominent articles and photographs in Al-Ittihad, Al
Khaleej, Akhbar Al Arab, the Khaleej Times, Gulf News and
other papers. The event is also carried on the official UAE
News Agency (WAM) website: http://WWW.WAM.ORG.AE.
6. Ambassador,s public expression of thanks for UAE,s
generous donation toward Hurricane Katrina relief was
highlighted in the Khaleej Times as a separate article and
featured in most Arabic language coverage of the 9/11
ceremony. (Photos and text of Hurricane Katrina articles
have been e-mailed to IIP-Bill Peters.)
7. Both the remarks in English and Arabic and a separate
statement thanking the UAE for aid to Katrina victims are
posted on Embassy,s public website.
8. The Ambassador,s remarks; begin text:
Thank you all for coming today.
I am so honored by the presence of His Eminence Sheikh Ali Al
Hashemi, Religious and Legal Advisor to His Highness the
President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa, by the participation of
Father Barthoul, and by the presence of so many Ambassadors,
fellow Americans, and friends from so many countries.
A great writer once said that the struggle of humanity
against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
It has been four years since 9/11... and we have not
As the years go by, it is important that we still remember
what happened on that September morning. Yes, we remember
the cruelty of the brutal attacks in New York, Washington,
and Pennsylvania. Yes, we remember the pain and anguish of
the innocent victims and their loved ones.
But, we also remember the outpouring of friendship, support,
and sympathy from nations around the world. Because of
course, it was not the United States alone that was attacked.
As in all terrorist attacks, many many innocent people
suffered. On that day in 2001, the blow was to the entire
international community. All the peoples of the world were
affected. Eighty-two countries lost mothers, fathers,
daughters, sons and dear friends.
I might note that the UAE, long a strong partner and stalwart
friend and ally of the United States, under the leadership of
the late President, His Highness Sheikh Zayed, was among the
first to offer words of condolence after 9/11.
Of course, we Americans understand that we cannot allow the
violent acts of a few misguided young men to affect our view
of good-hearted men and women around the world. Recently
after the London and Sharm al Sheikh attacks, there have been
a number of strongly worded public statements, here in the
UAE and elsewhere, condemning extremism and terrorism. These
statements are very welcome and have been well accepted.
In fact, President Bush noted just last Friday, September 9,
that "We must defeat the terrorists not only on the
battlefield but also on the battlefield of ideas."
You know, around the world, we all share the same values.
Whatever our nationality, whatever our religion, whatever our
family background, we all want the same things from life. We
want to be able to live in peace. We want to raise our
children in decent surroundings. We want to prosper. We
want to allow for different cultures to coexist and thrive.
We have not allowed the 9/11 attacks to change our values.
The UAE government has been a staunch ally in the
international fight against terrorism. We must all stand
united against the scourge of terrorism that has done such
harm to innocent people in country after country since 9/11 -
in Sharm al Sheikh, in London, in Bali, in Madrid, and
Just two weeks ago, when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Alabama, we were again reminded that our
friends around the world are there for us in our time of
need. This time, it wasn't terrorism but Mother Nature that
wrought havoc upon us.
We Americans here at the Embassy and in the United States
were overwhelmed by the warm and compassionate response that
we received from our friends. The government of the UAE
acted very quickly and very generously to assist the victims
of Hurricane Katrina, as did many countries around the world.
The messages and support of His Highness the President,
Sheikh Khalifa and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, were very
much appreciated by President Bush and the people of the
This act of friendship reaffirmed the close ties between our
It is good to know that we can rely on such a trustworthy
friend in difficult times - whether we are suffering from a
terror attack or a disaster brought about by Mother Nature.
We will never forget the friendship and support that we have
received from our friends here in the UAE and around the
world from each of your countries. Such events, as painful
as they are, remind us that humanity has no borders, and no
I would like to ask for a moment of silence to remember all
of the innocent people who died in the attacks of September
11, 2001, and in all of the terrible terrorist attacks in so
many other countries.
I would also ask that we bow our heads to say a special
prayer for the thousands of victims of the terrible
devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Thank you all for being with us today.