Controversy as FDNY Welcomes a Muslim Chaplain

The FDNY swears in a new Chaplain this morning. It will be only the second time in the history of the department that the FDNY has welcomed a Muslim Chaplain into its ranks. But, he's already stirring controversy with his views on nine-eleven.(Downtown...


The FDNY swears in a new Chaplain this morning. It will be only the second time in the history of the department that the FDNY has welcomed a Muslim Chaplain into its ranks. But, he's already stirring controversy with his views on nine-eleven.

(Downtown Brooklyn-WABC, September 30, 2005) - The FDNY swears in a new Chaplain this morning. It will be only the second time in the history of the department that the FDNY has welcomed a Muslim Chaplain into its ranks. But, he's already stirring controversy with his views on nine-eleven.

Eyewitness News' Ken Rosato is live in Brooklyn with the story.

Imam Intikab Habib is highly regarded by those who recommended him for the job as Chaplain but he has surprised many with an interview in Newsday. Imam Intikab Habib:"I as an individual don't know who did the attacks. There are so many conflicting reports about it. I don't believe it was 19 hijackers who did those attacks."

Habib told Newsday he doubted official accounts because he relied on video and news reports widely disseminated in the Muslim community.

Imam Habib: "I've heard professionals say that no where ever in history did a steel building come down with fire alone. It takes two or three weeks to demolish a building like that but it was pulled down in a couple of hours. Was it 19 hijackers who brought it down, or was it a conspiracy?"

The FDNY focused its attention on hiring a Muslim Chaplain a few months before the "nine-eleven" attacks.

The Islamic society of fire department personnel had gone to federal court demanding a Muslim Chaplain. Habib was one of several Imams the society recommended for the Chaplain's job. He recently spent six years in Saudi Arabia earning a degree in Islamic Theology and Law.

Fifteen of the hijackers were Saudi, but Habib says that hasn't affected his judgement.

A spokesman for the FDNY says Habib was hired based on his credentials as a religious person. The spokesperson said the department doesn't ask new employees about their political views before they're hired.

(Copyright 2005 WABC-TV)