The Council on American-Islamic Relations wants the sister of the pilot whose jet was crashed into the Pentagon by al-Qaida hijackers axed from the board of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, claiming she equates Islam with terrorism — but Deborah Burlingame isn't backing down.
"I can't even call them well-meaning because what they're doing is very destructive,'' Burlingame told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"There is a long history of Islamic terrorism that goes back … centuries, but modern terrorism associated with Islam has been around all of our lives.
"Now we're more aware of it post-9/11. To say that it is not in any way connected to Islam is to live in a state of denial, which is quite dangerous.''
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CAIR is after Burlingame — sister of Capt. Charles "Chic" Burlingame, and co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America and Keep America Safe — labeling her as an Islamophobe for controversial tweets she wrote.
"When are citizens going to rise up and demand the govt acknowledge that Islam is a transnational threat, that govt. denial is killing us,'' Burlingame said in the missive.
In another, Burlingame wrote: "If someone calls U 'Islamophobe' for speaking truth, chances are they are member of Muslim Brotherhood, or on Obama's Nat'l security team.''
"The statement I … made is considered somehow hateful and bigoted, and I'm merely stating the obvious,'' Burlingame told Malzberg.
The museum, which commemorates the four coordinated terror attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, is standing by Burlingame.
"I'm very proud of my association with that foundation and that board and those people. It's a wonderful group of people who have created one of the most important cultural institutions in our lifetime," Burlingame said.
"I'm just starting the obvious, and the people who are committing these crimes, these atrocities, are the ones who are telling us exactly who they are, exactly why they're doing it, moreover, they're pointing to specific passages in the Koran to justify their actions."
Burlingame said CAIR is on a mission to try and separate Islam from a terrorist attack that everyone saw on live TV.
"The perpetrators … have gleefully announced their motives, all of which go right to the Koran and their religious beliefs. So it's kind of like, me or your lying eyes? It's astonishing to me," she said.
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Burlingame said the recent uproar over the 9/11 Memorial Museum's gift shop — which some consider in poor taste for selling souvenirs marking a national tragedy — is much ado about nothing.
"[There are] still street vendors selling souvenirs. Every shop in downtown Lower Manhattan sells tourist souvenirs,'' she said.
"A friend of mine who was severely injured in the South Tower collapse, a firefighter, was there with his family … and said the museum store was full of 9/11 families buying stuff. No one loves 9/11 trinkets … more than 9/11 families. It's a nonissue.
"Look, my brother is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There is no place more sacrosanct than there, and they have a gift shop there right on the cemetery grounds. There's one at Pearl Harbor, there's one at the Battlefield of Gettysburg, where 5,000 people died.... It's a phony controversy.''
Burlingame said that even her late brother — killed along with 64 people aboard American Airlines Flight 77 as well as 125 people at the Pentagon — was into souvenir trinkets.
"When my family took us to Gettysburg when we were children, my brother Chic was so proud because he had the money to buy a one-square-foot deed to the battlefield," she said.
"He hung it on his bedroom wall. It cost him $1, and he was really proud of it.''
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