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New York Muslim Group Calls on City to Remove Phrase 'Islamic Terrorists' From 9/11 Memorial

They said the phrase encourages hatred toward Muslims.

Fox News/Twitter

A group of Muslims in the New York town of Owego are upset by a new 9/11 memorial honoring those who died at the hand of Islamic terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001.

Members of the Islamic Organization of the Southern Tier took issue with the fact that the memorial refers to the attackers as "Islamic terrorists" — a phrase they believe encourages hatred toward Muslims. Instead, the group asked that the monument say either "terrorists" or "al-Qaeda terrorists."

But the request is not being met with positive responses from city officials.

"They want us to change the word from ‘Islamic Terrorist’ to either ‘terrorist’ or ‘Al Qaeda terrorist,'" City Manager Donald Castelluci told Fox News columnist Todd Starnes. "I sent them back an email saying I disagreed with their premise 100 percent."

The city manager added that he has no intention to change the inscription on the memorial, telling WICZ-TV that he doesn't live in a "politically-correct world," but rather lives in a "historical fact world … Whether it’s American, homegrown, Christianity, Islamic, you call it what it is. And we don’t whitewash things, especially here."

The full inscription on the memorial reads:

On September 11, 2001 nineteen Islamic terrorists unsuspectedly boarded four airliners departing east coast airports to hijack the planes and carry out a series of coordinated attacks against the United States. This is a tribute to all the lives lost that day and to the heroic sacrifice of all who rushed to help. As Americans, we honor their memory by living our lives in freedom. We will never forget.

Castelluci said the memorial "is not about religion," but is in memory of "one event on one day that killed more than 3,000 people."

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was leading New York City at the time of the attack, agreed with the city official's sentiment. He said removing the phrase "Islamic terrorists" would be akin to taking the word "mafia out of our history books" because of his Italian background.

"My reaction to the Italian mafia was real simple: I'm Italian-American, I'm not embarrassed about them, I don't belong to them. I want nothing to do with them and they represent the bad part of my ethnic background," Giuliani said on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday. "Every ethnic background has a bad part. There's a bad part to the Islamic religion."

"The good part of the Islamic religion shouldn't feel at all hurt by 'Islamic terrorism.' They should feel angry about it, they should feel like — maybe even stronger than I do — they should be wiped out," he continued. "I felt stronger, maybe people who weren't Italian-American, the mafia should be wiped out."

He added that people "shouldn't become defensive about bad people in your group" because that "makes it more difficult to overcome."

The memorial will be dedicated on Saturday to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the deadly assault.

See Giuliani's comments below:

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