This article about observances and protests on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks reported that antiabortion activist Randall Terry and an assistant tore pages out of a Koran in front of the White House. The article incorrectly described Terry's relationship with the antiabortion group Operation Rescue. He co-founded and headed the group but is no longer part of it.
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On 9/11, commemorations accompanied by focus on Islam
The debate over whether to build the Islamic center near Ground Zero has imbued the day with unwelcome bitterness and rancor, she said.
"This is the hardest anniversary since," she said. "These are heartbreaking times. They're painful. They are scary as hell."
Jones, the Gainesville, Fla. pastor who threatened to burn copies of the Koran, was met by police when he arrived in New York on Saturday and was not seen in the hours that followed.
By 3 p.m., several hundred protesters had gathered into two city blocks near the proposed Park 51 Islamic center, waving American flags and chanting "U.S.A., U.S.A." and "No mosque." The "Rally of Remembrance" event featured speeches from conservative figures such as former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton - who spoke via video - and keynote speaker Geert Wilders, an anti-Islam Dutch politician.
Nearby, Maureen Santora - a schoolteacher from Astoria and the mother of firefighter Christopher Santora, who was killed on Sept. 11 - held a large banner that read "No mosque on our cemetery." She said it was a "difficult decision" for her family - her husband, four daughters and four grandchildren - to come to the rally on the ninth anniversary of her son's death.
She said that Muslims have worshiped peacefully in her neighborhood and in Lower Manhattan for years.
"It has nothing to do with Muslims and nothing to do with mosques. It has to do with the closeness to Ground Zero. That's the offensive point. It's very simple. It's not complicated," Santora said.
She continued: "This was a difficult decision for us to do this. I believe in my heart and my soul my son would want me to do this."
A short distance away, a crowd of about 300 supporters of the Islamic cultural center marched to the site, about two blocks from Ground Zero. Chanting "unity now," the marchers - a coalition of many liberal and civil rights groups - held signs that said "U.S. tolerates all religions" and "No to racism and anti-Muslim bigotry."
Muslim prayer services are normally held at the site, but it was padlocked Friday and closed Saturday, the official end of the holy month of Ramadan. Police planned 24-hour patrols in the coming days. Worshipers on Friday were redirected to a prayer room 10 blocks away.
Several feet away, 17-year-old Brooklyn resident Hannah Moch said she objected to people turning Sept. 11 into a political forum.
"I was here, I was 8 years old," she said. "Today is about the victims!"