x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

9/11 is marked worldwide with reflection and prayers

A decade after the events of September 11 2001, the world paused to reflect yesterday.

Residents from the Mary Rose Abad GK village, a low-cost housing community in Manila named after one of the victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York, offer flowers, balloons and light candles yesterday in memory of Mary Rose Abad, a US woman whose Filipino-born husband built the community as a memorial to his wife. Jay Directo / AFP Photo
Residents from the Mary Rose Abad GK village, a low-cost housing community in Manila named after one of the victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York, offer flowers, balloons and light candles yesterday in memory of Mary Rose Abad, a US woman whose Filipino-born husband built the community as a memorial to his wife. Jay Directo / AFP Photo

A mother in Malaysia greeted her dead son. People in Manila left roses for the victim who helped give them homes. And mourners in Tokyo stood before a piece of steel from ground zero, remembering the 23 bank employees who did not make it out alive.

A decade after the events of September 11 2001, the world's leaders and citizens paused to reflect yesterday. But there were also those, including a former Malaysian prime minister, who reiterated old claims that the US government was behind the attacks.

From Sydney to Spain, formal ceremonies paid tribute to the nearly 3,000 who perished from more than 90 countries.

For some people, the pain never stops. In Malaysia, Pathmawathy Navaratnam woke up yesterday in her suburban Kuala Lumpur home and did what she has done every day for the past decade: wish her son Vijayashanker Paramsothy "Good morning".

Paramsothy, a 23-year-old financial analysta was killed in the attacks on New York.

"He is my sunshine. He has lived life to the fullest, but I can't accept that he is not here anymore," Navaratnam said. "I am still living, but I am dead inside."

In Manila, dozens of former shanty dwellers offered roses, balloons and prayers for another victim, Marie Rose Abad, an American citizen. The neighbourhood used to be squalid and reeking of rubbish. But in 2004, Mrs Abad's Filipino-American husband, Rudy, built 50 brightly coloured homes, fulfilling his late wife's wish to help impoverished Filipinos. The village has since been named after her.

In Jeddah, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation called on the international community to take a "multi-dimensional" approach to fighting terrorism.

"It is our firm belief that combating terrorism requires a multi-dimensional approach and not only the use of military means," the 57-nation organisation said in a statement. It added that the OIC is committed to "combating terrorism" and called for international cultural and religious reconciliation talks to "debunk the myth of a clash of civilisations elevated by the tragic events of 9/11".

Meanwhile, some Islamists blamed the attacks on the US and Israel. Malaysia's former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, wrote on his blog that Arab Muslims are incapable of "planning and strategising" such attacks. He added "it is not unthinkable" for former President George W Bush to have lied about who was responsible.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, said the US used the attacks as an excuse for launching wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"September 11 was actually a game designed to influence the emotions of the human community, in order to find a pretext for attacking Islamic regions and invading Iraq and Afghanistan," he was quoted as saying on the website of his office.

In Pakistan, about 100 supporters of an Islamist political party staged anti-US protests in Islamabad and Multan to mark the anniversary, holding up banners that repeated conspiracy theories. In Karachi, another 100 people protested against the war in Afghanistan, launched in response to the attacks.