As many other bloggers have done, I have signed up with 2,996 to honor the victims of 9/11. Please check out this website to read about some truly amazing people.
I am honoring Syed Abdul Fatha. The following are two articles I found about him. Join me in honoring this man.
November 28, 2001
So it was a cruel irony when Nauzatool Umarally had to fear searching for Syed Abdul Fatha in the aftermath of Sept. 11's terrorist attacks.
"We were scared to go outside," said Umarally, 43. "We had to be accompanied by males. It's not the right thing ... because that's not Islam. Islam doesn't teach you to do that, to kill others."
Fatha, 54, who worked as a copy machine operator at Pitney Bowes on the 101st floor of Tower Two, is among the missing.
Though married under Islamic law, Fatha and Umarally were not legally married because he was separated and waiting to become officially divorced from his wife.
The couple lived together for three years with Umarally's two sons from her former husband, who died in 1988.
Fatha had six children from a wife in India whom he had divorced. He remained close with his children, ages 12 to 18, sending them money every month and frequently calling them on the phone.
In 1995, Fatha moved to the United States, marrying an American citizen from whom he later separated. He intended to divorce her when he became a naturalized citizen on Sept. 20, Umarally said.
Umarally and Fatha's friendship and subsequent romance began in an unlikely place: Penn Station. Five years ago they crossed paths. She noticed him, thinking he was from Guyana, her native country. He noticed her, asking her if she was from India.
Yes and no, she said, explaining that she grew up in Guyana but her parents are of Indian descent.
Both were Muslims, a connection that brought them together. Initially, he wanted to get married, and she resisted.
"I wasn't thinking about getting married again," she said. "But we got real close and I got to love him very much. Now, after 10 years I had found a man that I wanted."
He was a gentle man, who loved children and elderly people and treated Umarally's sons like his own, she said.
He was also a pious Muslim, frequently talking about Islam and religion.
"He educated me," Umarally said. "He taught me things I did not know. He taught me something new every day.
"I had a wonderful life with him. Very wonderful. I can never forget that."
-- Sumathi Reddy (Newsday)
Devout Muslim Found Office Convenient to Nearby Mosque
Nov. 6, 2001
Syed Abdul Fatha was a devout Muslim who observed the customary practice of praying five times each day. It was one reason he liked working at the World Trade Center.
Two blocks away was a mosque where he would go each day at lunch time.
"He was very devoted to his religion," said Nauzatool Umarally, whose husband of five years was a gentle, bearded man who was born and raised in Bangalore, India.
"Many times I asked him to leave and work over here, rather than in the city. He just didn't want that. There was a mosque on Warren Street, two blocks from the World Trade Center. Every day, he would go there. He would bring his lunch, and pray."
Fatha, 54, who lived in Newark, worked for Pitney Bowes on the 101st floor of the south tower. He was a Xerox operator in customer service. He had worked for the company for two and a half years. He also was active in the National Islamic Organization.
One of 10 siblings, Fatha was the father of six children, ages 11 to 17, all of whom live in India. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1995.
"He was very kind to old people, and he loved kids very much," Umarally said.
On Sept. 11, Fatha left the house at 7 a.m. Umarally was at her office in Newark when she heard the hijacked plane had struck the north tower. She called Fatha at work, but no one answered.
"I never got to hear his voice again."
Since then, Umarally, who is from Guyana, has felt the sting of American anger along with her grief.
"Me and my husband are both practicing Muslims. I wear the hijab. I'm being targeted a lot. I'm afraid, but I'm not going to drop my faith. People look at you and make remarks. They don't have any idea what I'm going through. We are victims. We are suffering, too."
--Kathleen Kernicky (The Sun-Sentinel)