NEWS

‘Allahu Akbar’ Chants by 9/11 Memorial Spark Fury

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A video of a pro-Palestine protester shouting “Allahu Akbar” outside New York City’s World Trade Center has led to fury online.

The clip was posted to X (formerly Twitter) by Shirion Collective, a self-described “surveillance network” that scrapes “digital fingerprints to aggressively track and expose antisemitism.” The 12-second video shows protesters with Palestine flags and banners gathered outside a doorway. At the start of the clip, one person can be heard shouting “Allahu Akbar,” an Arabic phrase meaning “God is great” or “God is greatest.”

The account says the footage was taken outside the Oculus transportation hub at the World Trade Center on Thursday. Newsweek has not been able to verify the exact location of the incident.

“Allahu Akbar,” which is known as the Takbir, has significant meaning for Muslims and is often used as a call to prayer. Imam Omar Suleiman, founder and president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, describes the phrase as “a powerful declaration used by Muslims on many occasions and in many prayers.”

Palestine march New York
Protesters wave flags and placards in support of Palestinians on Monday in New York City. In a video on X (formerly Twitter), a pro-Palestine protester is heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” outside New York’s World Trade Center during a demonstration this week.
GETTY

“It is a celebration of life, the first words fathers whisper in the ears of their newborns,” he wrote in a 2017 piece for CNN. “They are used to indicate gratitude when God bestows something upon you that you would have been incapable of attaining were it not for divine benevolence.”

However, the usually peaceful phrase has been associated with extremists because militants have used it while carrying out deadly attacks worldwide. In October, a man in France purportedly shouted the phrase before stabbing a schoolteacher to death.

The World Trade Center footage has brought concern from some social media users, given that 9/11 hijackers were instructed to shout “Allahu Akbar” before the attacks.

X user Bernadette replied to the footage, writing: “I can not express how horrible this is. On 9/11, I was on the 50th floor of 1 NY Plaza standing at the floor to ceiling windows and watched the 2nd plane crash and explode into the WTC. That horrible act of terrorism is akin to the 10/7 attack upon Israel.”

Another user, posting under the name Janopetsa, wrote: “The World Trade Center is holy ground for NYC. They’re playing with fire.”

Another user tagged the New York Mayor’s Office in a reply, writing: “How can you allow such an affront to happen, it is an insult to all the victims and their families.”

Newsweek has contacted the New York Mayor’s Office for comment via email.

Others have defended the use of the phrase, citing its religious significance for Muslims. A user posting under the name Chawles Bawkley AF replied to the post: “‘God is great’ is a War Cry now? Lmao. Equating an entire religion to being a militant group now. Sick.”

Another, going by the username sugar, wrote: “Screams of war can be heard. Chants of genocide.’ dude, it literally just means ‘God is great.'”

The Gaza Health Ministry says airstrikes on the territory by Israeli forces have killed more than 21,000 people since the conflict erupted on October 7, the Associated Press reports. Israel launched an assault on Gaza following attacks by Hamas that killed an estimated 1,200 people in the country.