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American Muslims and 9/11; Perspective on 9/11 from Religious Leaders; Abbottabad Four Months After Death of Osama Bin Laden; Former Pakistani President's Response to Raid on Bin Laden Compound; How Al Qaeda Threat Has Changed; Update on Potential Terrorist Threat on 9/11 Anniversary; The Worldwide Impact of 9/11; New Terror Threat

Aired September 9, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: I'm Becky Anderson at Ground Zero in New York, where almost 10 years ago, an horrific act changed the world. Thousands were killed. The lives of thousands more torn apart. Tonight, we'll look back at that fateful day and its impact almost a decade later.

From New York to Baghdad, Kabul to Islamabad, this is a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well, this is the scene at Ground Zero right now -- a site which holds such painful memories of the day that America came under attack. Well, later in the program, we'll hear from a mother who turned her tragedy into hope for others.

We'll also look at the impact felt across the world and how years later, people living thousands of miles away from New York are still paying a heavy price.

Plus, after two wars on terror, is the world really any safer?

Well, we begin with the new terror threat that has America on edge as it prepares to mark a decade since the Twin Towers fell. Security is being tightened in the U.S., especially here in New York and in Washington. Intelligence officials warn they've picked up chatter about what they call a "credible threat," one that could reach to the highest ranks of al Qaeda.

Well, I'm joined now by the man who was the fire commissioner on the day, the former New York City fire commissioner, Tom Von Essen.

Tom, join me now.

Before we talk about the 9/11 attack, the terror alert in New York today. I mean the traffic is chaos. There are security checks all over the place.

You will tell me that's absolutely the right thing to do, taking no risks.

TOM VON ESSEN, FORMER NEW YORK CITY FIRE COMMISSIONER: I think so. We were with Commissioner Kelly this morning. They believe that the threat was real. They have to take every precaution. And they're looking -- they just want the -- the bad guys to know that they're out there and they're checking everything.

ANDERSON: "credible and specific" but an unconfirmed report.

VON ESSEN: Well, you know, unless you get a terrorist to say yes, it's me, I'm going to blow up a -- a truck in your city, you can't confirm it. So you have to go by your gut and you have to go by people that have given you good information in the past and we've all got to pay the consequences.

ANDERSON: Yes, well, New York, as I say, taking absolutely no risks.

Take me back 10 years, Tom.

VON ESSEN: Oh, it was a horrible day. I mean it was a beautiful day. I got here very quickly. I got into the North Tower. The firefighters had already gotten pretty far up and realized it was not a simple, like our original report. We were just in an effort to get as many people out as quickly as possible. And we felt the vibrations and we thought it was an explosion on the upper floors and it was the South Tower being hit.

And once that happened, it kind of changed everything. We had to spread out all of our top chiefs. We have the best fire chiefs in the world and they knew they couldn't put these fires out. They just had to worry about the people, get them out as quickly as possible. And I don't think any of us knew that those buildings would come down that quickly.

ANDERSON: This may sound like a naive question, but what was the atmosphere like that day?

VON ESSEN: You know, our guys are pros. It was a big, high rise operation for us. You can see -- I can see on the face of the young kids (INAUDIBLE) some of the older guys, trepidation, knowing that you get yourself up 50, 60, 70 floors, it's going to take you a while to get down.

So experienced people knew it was going to be something very bad. But the younger guys didn't (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: Ten years on, let's just take a look at what we've -- what we've got here. These are the reflecting pools, reflecting thoughts, memorials to those who died. I was lucky enough to -- to walk around and see these memorials, which opened on Sunday, very special.

VON ESSEN: It is. You know, I -- we've had a lot of bickering and everything, politics, bureaucracy going on for the first five or six years. And then they grabbed hold of it. And the last four years or so, the progress has been terrific. These memorials are spectacular, I think.

ANDERSON: This building, of course, here is being rebuilt, formerly known as Freedom Building...


ANDERSON: -- now known as One Trade Center. It's not finished. It won't be finished until 2013. There's another, what, 30 more floors to come.

VON ESSEN: Well, you know, these are real estate issues now. I mean the critical part for most of the families and the people who want to remember what happened here was the memorial. The museum will be done in a year. And the high rise office buildings will go as fast as progress goes. But these are now business opportunities and business issues. So they're all -- they're on a separate plate.

But I think that the families, when they see the names are -- are carved in that bronze on top of the beautiful stone, the fountains are spectacular. So I think they'll be, you know, as happy as they can be.

ANDERSON: I know you'll be here on Sunday, Tom.

VON ESSEN: Oh, I can't miss it.

ANDERSON: We will, too.

Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

The fire commissioner on the day.

We're taking a look 10 years on.

And we're asking tonight, what has changed?

And as you've seen, certainly the site is on the move.

Well, many of us will never forget where we were and what we were doing when we heard the unthinkable a decade ago -- planes had hit the World Trade Center. America was under attack.

Well, the media were just as stunned as everybody else.

Here is how networks around the world broke the news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say the hole takes about -- it looks like six or seven floors were taken out and there's more explosions right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold up. People are running...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can hold on just a moment. We've got an explosion inside...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The building is expected right now. You've got people running up the street.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to go find out what's going on.

(broadcasts in foreign languages)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has there been any further confirmation of the -- the fourth aircraft that crashed into Pennsylvania that it may, in fact, have been directed either at Camp David or perhaps even the White House?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was only speculation, Gary. But investigators are already on the scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a cascade of sparks and fire and now this -- it looks almost like a mushroom cloud explosion, this huge billowing smoke in the second tower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you see, in the background, the first of the Twin Towers coming to the ground. We're not sure if there were any other explosions at that time.

(broadcast in foreign languages)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, we've had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. Terrorism against our nation will not stand. And now, if you join me in a moment of silence.


ANDERSON: Well, 10 years on from 9/11, you're watching a CONNECT THE WORLD special from Ground Zero here on CNN.

Coming up, the attacks hit New York City, but the shock was felt around the world. We'll bring you a truly global perspective of the events of 9/11 after this.


ANDERSON: Live from Ground Zero here in New York, you're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well, this site was forever changed by the events of September the 11th. And it's a place that is still being transformed 10 years on.

I just want to give you a sense, I know we've given you a bit of a sense of what's going on here. But I want to stand away. These fountains here are on the actual footprints of the Twin Towers that came down on 9/11. Those will open tomorrow. The 209 -- 2,977 people who lost their lives that day, not just in New York, but in Washington and in Pennsylvania, their names are etched in bronze around those pools. I've seen it. It is truly moving.

The building, the big, tall building, is the -- what was known as the Freedom Tower, now One World Trade Center. That's going up. It's 85 floors at the moment. It will be 105 odd by the time it is finished in 2013.

And there is a museum on this site, which is as yet unopened. Two of the field structures that were in the buildings are actually in that museum. And when you go to there as a visitor in 2012, you'll also be able to see the wall that held the Hudson back the day the towers were attacked.

Truly remarkable what is happening at this site here at Ground Zero.

Well, this is an animation of what the entire site is expected to look like when it is finished.

Well, tonight, even as we remember September the 11th, a new threat has emerged, one that U.S. officials call "specific and credible, but unconfirmed".

Susan Candiotti is here with me for the hour.

She covered the attacks back in 2001 and now, of course, is following the latest on the new terror threat. Credible, specific, but as yet unconfirmed.


So what do they do about it?

Well, one thing is that they try to learn how did this all come about, what is the origin of this attack, of this threat?

And we have learned through our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, that the origin of this threat came from an Al Qaeda operative located in Pakistan that U.S. intelligence had dealt with in the past and was deemed to be credible.

So it's from that source that they heard the information about three individuals, three individuals that -- that were -- got together and were told to carry out some kind of a vehicle attack involving a bomb.

ANDERSON: All right. And excuse the -- me holding the microphone to you. We're having a problem with your microphone tonight, so I'm just going to carry on.

We're looking at some video at the moment.

What happens next?

CANDIOTTI: Well, they're trying to find out, for example, the names of these individuals. Now, the information I have from a U.S. government official is that the names that they have been given are actually very common. That makes it much more difficult to track them. But, of course, they've got all kinds of methods to do that, obviously, electronic methods and the like, and that's what they're working on. But it's going to take time.

ANDERSON: Good stuff.

Susan Candiotti joining us here at Ground Zero today. And let me tell you, the traffic is absolutely awful in New York today. There are security checks all over the place and rightly so.

Well, the gaping wounds left in New York's skyline are slowly being healed. But for those who lost loved ones on 9/11, the gap left in their lives will, of course, never be filled.

CNN's Poppy Harlow met one family who are using their experience of grief to help others.


JANE ALDERMAN ZEITZ, BROTHER MURDERED ON SEPTEMBER 11TH: Our youngest child was murdered on September 11th.


ALDERMAN ZEITZ: Murdered. On his death certificate, the cause of death is homicide.

HARLOW (voice-over): Peter Alderman was 25 when he died on that beautiful September day that turned black.

ALDERMAN ZEITZ: I turned to my computer and e-mailed him, "Hey, are you there?"

He wrote back, "Yes, 106th floor. I'm scared. There's a lot of smoke.

HARLOW: Peter's sister Jane was the last to hear from him.

ALDERMAN ZEITZ: I wrote back, "The 106th floor of what building?"

And he wrote back, "World Trade, Windows on the World."

And I turned back to the computer and I said, "Can you get out of there?"

And he wrote back, "No, we are stuck."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My greatest hope is that he didn't know he was about to die.

HARLOW: By any measure, the Alderman's had a good life. Steve was a radiation oncologist and Liz a stay at home mother of three.

(on camera): Tell me about Peter.

LIZ ALDERMAN, PETER ALDERMAN'S WIFE: Peter was laughter and light.

HARLOW (voice-over): But then their world fell apart.

L. ALDERMAN: When your worst nightmare becomes reality you either kill yourself -- and you can do it literally or you can crawl into bed and never get up -- or you can continue to put one foot in front of the other.

STEPHEN ALDERMAN: Shortly after Peter died, I found I wasn't able to concentrate very much.

HARLOW: The Aldermans were scarred by the emotional impact of losing their son. They believe trauma like they experienced is often ignored in Third World countries, so they set out to do something about it.

S. ALDERMAN: The problem with mass violence is that it massively traumatizes individuals and traumatizes massively, that is, affects a whole society.

HARLOW: Steve quit his job and along with Liz, started the Peter C. Alderman Foundation, with $1.4 million from the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund. Peter's sister, Jane, quit her job in media and got her MBA to become the foundation's CFO.

ALDERMAN ZEITZ: There's no other group that does psychiatric treatment, partnering with government, in countries that really need this - - this kind of care.

HARLOW: Since 2005, they've raised more than $4 million, opened six clinics in Uganda and Cambodia, trained 1,000 doctors and treated more than 100,000 people, most of them victims of terrorism and mass violence.

(on camera): You're giving them their life back.

S. ALDERMAN: They're taking their lives back.

HARLOW (voice-over): Sowing the seeds that heal the sorrow is their mission and in a sense, it has done just that for this grieving family.

In New York, Poppy Harlow, CNNMoney.


ANDERSON: Well, of course, it's not just those in New York that day whose lives were affected in some ways. As events unfolded, waves of shock, you'll remember, reverberated around the globe, didn't they?

Ten years on, we talked to people from across the world about their memories of 9/11 and this is what they said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was like it was (INAUDIBLE). I remember it like yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I -- I -- it is -- I have no words for this. It was so -- I have no words for this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. You've got to move back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was all (INAUDIBLE). Even in Singapore, like we could see with the impact of the world events.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) I mean I was living in London, so we were thinking that London's going to be hit. We were thinking -- you were thinking that the world changed. It was happening in front of your eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I said to my colleague, who was watching TV, why don't you turn off that movie?

And then I realized he was crying. And that's when the second tower was hit. It still gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a lot of family in America. The first thing was we -- we only got through to one of our family and we couldn't get through. The phone lines were jammed. There wasn't any Skype or anything at that time, so we never did have that much communication. For at least a week, we didn't know whether or where our family members were except a handful of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was in (INAUDIBLE). But I was getting ready for my studies to go to Australia. But I had to delay everything because of what happened. So I've been like waiting for almost five -- four months. So things get a little bit quiet and because it was like, like lots of things happened. And there wasn't a good (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the time, my wife was two weeks short of term for her baby, for our first baby. And I remember in the days that followed, we said we were in fear of what kind of a world is this to bring a child into?


ANDERSON: Well, You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from Ground Zero here in New York.

Up next, the power of dreams and the pain of reality -- a young blogger and activist blames the U.S. and her own people for the continuing problems in Iraq.



TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It was the shock of knowing that -- that literally at that moment, we were watching, real time on television, thousands of people in the process of -- of being killed, of being assassinated by this act of terrorism and realizing, too, that at that moment, all our calculations about the world were going to change and change dramatically.


ANDERSON: The voice of Tony Blair, the then prime minister in Britain.

We're live from from Ground Zero.

And this hour, we are connecting the people, the places and the policies where were impacted by the 9/11 attacks.

Well, we've seen how that fateful day changed the lives of thousands of people, whether they were here when the World Trade Center came under attack or knew someone who was.

Well, let's talk now about how 9/11 has changed international policy.

After the attacks, the world embarked on not one, but two wars. In a moment, we'll be crossing live to Nic Robertson in Afghanistan.

First, though, let's turn to Iraq, where the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 brought the end of Saddam Hussein's regime, changing the country's people forever.

Well, a young Iraqi woman spoke to Arwa Damon about the war in her country.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): "Be the change that you want to see," the classic Gandhi quote is what Noof Assi says she lives by. She is at the forefront of demonstrations in Iraq demanding basic services and reforms.

NOOF ASSI, IRAQI BLOGGER AND ACTIVIST: I learned how to blog in 2009.

DAMON: The 21 -year-old fabric design major turned activist and blogger works at a human rights NGO. She shows us what she wrote a few years ago.

(on camera): I dream to sleep without painkillers. I dream to wake up in a home that gives me love and hope, not to end up in a grave.

Do you still feel that way?

ASSI: I want to have a dream again, but I dream a lot. Sometimes, yes. The reality is just wake up someone -- someone wake up.

DAMON: (voice-over): Noof takes us to the streets around her old high school. In 2007, they were lined with corpses.

ASSI: For the first time that I saw a corpse, I was just scared and crying and almost can't sleep at night. But I keep her in my dreams.

DAMON: She was just 17. Soon, such terror became normality.

ASSI: One day I remember that my sister hit me and she told me, "Come on, cry," because I can't drop any tears.

DAMON: It was not a price that she or any other Iraqi citizen was ever asked if they were willing to pay. Blaming both the U.S.-led invasion that led to al Qaeda's emergence in Iraq and the sectarian blood-letting and her own people for allowing it to happen.

ASSI: We should be the ones who change the boundaries, not let the Americans (INAUDIBLE). I -- I remember one day I was (INAUDIBLE) for some application and some (INAUDIBLE) men told me, you are Iraqi, what for you let the other ones do your job?

And it hurt me.

DAMON: Maybe, she speculates, if change in Iraq had come from within, it would have brought the right people to power, led to a functioning government and society.

But last year, two car bombs targeting the Trade Bank of Iraq exploded next to her home, destroying her only real sanctuary.

ASSI: When I lost my (INAUDIBLE) and I lost everything in it, I started to think that I have nothing in my own country. I mean, I love Baghdad, but Baghdad don't love me.

DAMON: Although she has moments of optimism, they tend to quickly fade away. Now Noof is thinking about leaving her homeland.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.

ANDERSON: Well, 10 years after the 9/11 attacks, of course. And the Taliban still remains a threat.

Nic Robertson is joining me now live from Kabul -- and, Nic, of course, you were in Afghanistan the day these towers came down, weren't you?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I was. We were in the Intercontinental Hotel overlooking the city. We couldn't see it because the Taliban had banned televisions. But the Taliban foreign minister at the time came out very quickly to deny this was Osama bin Laden behind the attacks. It seemed very clear to everyone else it was.

I talked with him just a few days ago. He still believes that the tower -- that Osama bin Laden wasn't behind the attacks. That's quite astounding, I think, that even after all this time, senior people in the Taliban -- and he would be representative of their thinking -- still believe that.

ANDERSON: Nic, 10 years on, what's changed?

ROBERTSON: The city has improved. Other cities around the country have improved. There are businesses. There are hotels going up. There are -- the roads are paved. There's a lot of gaudy villas around that used not to be.

But it's the surface. Underneath the surface, it's still a dangerous place. The police here are on very high alert for the possibility of attack.

Just a few moments ago, the Taliban mounted a complex suicide attack on one of the major hotels here. It took four hours -- more than that -- to quell that battle. The south of the country and the east of the country and some of the north are riddled with Taliban, an insurgency that's trying to defeat the government here.

So the country is very unstable. There's progress and money here in the capital, but a lot of these gaudy villas up around this neighborhood, in particular, it's drug money, corruption money that's -- that have put them there.

So there's a veneer of progress -- and it is real progress. But at the same time, there's instability, insecurity, fear, concern of civil war and a worry about what's going to happen when -- when international forces pull out -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating.

Nic Robertson is there for you in Kabul.

Apologies for the technical delay there. Not easy when we're getting around the world.

Nic Robertson for you out of Afghanistan.

Well, from Baghdad and Kabul back to New York here.

Muslims right here in the U.S. say they were also victims of 9/11. I'm going to talk with an imam who was a student at New York University, next, when his world changed forever.

You're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD from Ground Zero here in New York.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: You're back with a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN, the world's news leader. Let's get you a check of the headlines this hour.

And security is being tightened in the US following what's being called a "credible warning" of a new terrorist threat. Well, the warning comes ahead of Sunday's 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

Huge numbers of people, apparently, turning out to protest in cities across Syria. This video is said to be from Daraa. Activists say at least four people have been killed at the hands of Syrian security.

Libya's transitional leaders say towns remaining loyal to Moammar Gadhafi have until midnight to surrender peacefully. That's less than two hours from now. Fighters are poised outside of Bani Walid, waiting for military orders if there is no deal.

Those are your headlines this hour. Back with us here at Ground Zero.

September the 11th shook the whole world to its core in 2001, but for American Muslims, it truly hit close to home. I talked with an imam at New York University to see how the attacks affected his community.

Imam Khalid Latif was a student on 9/11. He explained how his class was evacuated after the first plane hit. This is his story.


KHALID LATIF, IMAM, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ISLAMIC CENTER AT NYU: We had emptied out of this big building here in front of us, this white one, into the park, and there was now probably about 8,000 to 10,000 students that were here.

And everyone had kind of gathered in the center of the park, and they were looking in the downtown area.

This large, white building that's in front of us, which is the university student center, the Kimmel Center. It wasn't there at that time, it was being constructed, so there was a much easier view of kind of the downtown area and, of course, the World Trade Center, the Twin Towers.

ANDERSON: And then you saw the second attack.

LATIF: As we were standing together, everybody was talking, there was a lot of commotion, there was a lot of, "What is going on?" type discussions, and in the midst of it, the second plane hit into the towers, and we suddenly had this amazing uproar of silence, where everything just stopped. Everyone stopped. Their gaze was all just looking downtown.

And as instantly as it hit us, even though it felt like a long time, the same kind of -- the silence disrupted immediately, as well, and everybody just started moving around.

ANDERSON: You're the chaplain, of course, here at NYU, now. Ten years on, what's changed?

LATIF: I think as much as we've seen a lot of rhetoric that questions the place of Islam in the United States, we've seen a lot of rhetoric as well that says, not only do Muslims have a right to be here, but they bring a benefit to the society.

And I think that gives us a different kind of hope. It's a growth of a different kind, where it's -- we're countering that narrative that says there's something wrong with Islam.


ANDERSON: Imam Latif, the chaplain at NYU today.

Well, we wanted to hear the perspective of all faiths, so we convened a panel of religious leaders. I sat down with Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director of the World Evangelical Alliance, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who's founder and CEO of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, and Rabbi Irwin Kula, president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.

Rabbi Kula said in 2002, and I quote, "9/11, I think, ratcheted up for me. All of a sudden, I said, 'Wow, I know how dark religion is.'" Well, I began our discussion by asking the rabbi to explain what he meant.


IRWIN KULA, RABBI, NATIONAL JEWISH CENTER FOR LEARNING AND LEADERSHIP: Religion itself is -- can be used to authenticate and legitimate and root violence, just like it can be used to legitimate and root and authenticate peace.

FEISAL ABDUL RAUF, IMAM, AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MUSLIM ADVANCEMENT: I don't like to say religion can be evil, but I'd rather say that evil people utilize religion --

KULA: Yes, that's fine.


RAUF: Because religion, it is a violation of what it means to be a -- to be a follower of Jesus Christ or Mohammed or of --

KULA: Yes. All I'm saying is that what we do have to own, and I think that we lose a very important group of people that we need with us, and that is the millions of secular people who've decided religion -- they're finished with religion.

When we don't take ownership that -- that, yes, it's evil people using religion. But religion institutionally throughout the ages has been guilty of a lot of very, very violent stuff.

And while we'd like to believe, and we want to believe that if we were just peaceful, religion would be OK, well, it turns out yes, but religion itself has within it all of the elements to justify in all of our traditions the very darkest parts of who we are.

RAUF: That's so, but -- but --


KULA: And we've got to own that.

RAUF: -- but -- but so can atheists.

KULA: Atheists do, too. Oh, no, I agree.

RAUF: I mean, the Soviet Union was a perfect example --

KULA: I agree.

RAUF: -- of atheism --

KULA: Agreed.

RAUF: -- that -- so, I mean, I think we need -- because I think we should --

KULA: They disown that in a way that we don't.

RAUF: But we should call those people out and say, you know, those people are not Jews, not Christians, and not Muslims.

TUNNICLIFFE: Let me put it this way --

KULA: That's a distorted form -- I would say, when we call them not Jews, not Christians, not Muslims, we are not being a hundred percent truthful. I would say, here. These are Jews. And this is a form of Jewishness that is a distortion.

And these are Muslims. And they get up every day and they do a lot of things that we do. The Jews that -- the Baruch Goldstein, who went the Hebron Mosque and killed people innocently was a Jew. And you want to know something? He got a very similar education to me.

ANDERSON: You said that when you first heard about the attacks on the Twin Towers, you thought, "I hope this wasn't Muslims." And it was. What did you feel when you heard that.

RAUF: A terrible feeling of pain and anguish. But I also realized at that point I had to step up and we had to condemn it, which we did, and we had to work very, very hard because from that time, Islam and Muslims in America were put under magnifying glass.

And now, we had to -- we had to prove ourselves, both as Muslims, as Americans, and people who stand up and believe in certain principles of how we are going to live together as Muslims and non-Muslims in a globalized world.

ANDERSON: Question -- go on.

TUNNICLIFFE: See, I think that's where the understanding of respect for each other and each other's faith is so important, that we promote religious liberty for all.

And I think one of the challenges that you face building the center near Ground Zero is the reaction some of our community was, well, they can build mosques in the US. Why can't we build churches in Saudi Arabia? And that's -- and that --


RAUF: Which -- which I personally believe is the right thing to do.

ANDERSON: Yes, but not everybody of your faith --

RAUF: No, you have a million --

TUNNICLIFFE: No, in fact, we have people on -- that are going to be executed in Saudi Arabia for simply being -- talking about Jesus.

And so, when are the moderates going to speak out together -- we want to stand for religious freedom for all.

ANDERSON: Let me throw one thing in. The latest Pew research out just before the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks shows that 70 percent of American Muslims are intolerant of al Qaeda and its values.

One Republican congressman has picked up on that and said, "What about the other 30 percent?"

RAUF: A very important question. This is why I think the point which we have to do is this point of networking. How do we network ourselves so the 70 percent can effectively reduced that 30 percent, reducing it down so it becomes an insignificant percentage.

This is the -- this is the assignment that we have today in the interfaith community.

KULA: Especially ten years after, because I think if we really -- again, if we're really honest, ten years after, if you look at the Pew and --

ANDERSON: Are things better or worse?

KULA: I think in some ways, it's potentially better. But if you ask me, right now, ten years after, it's worse.

TUNNICLIFFE: But the problem is, this majority don't speak out. And we've got to say, as moderates, you've got to speak out and make your voice known. Because otherwise the radicals win today.

ANDERSON: But as a moderate American Muslim who still feels the brunt of prejudice, why would you speak out?

RAUF: Because we are concerned about our security, we're concerned about our children and grandchildren, we want them to live in a better world. And we believe in some things.

Who was it who said, some things that you believe in are worth dying for? And if there's nothing that you believe in, and it's not worth dying for, then you might question why you're even alive.

TUNNICLIFFE: See, I think we've got to create new maps that don't exist. We haven't gone down this path before. Evangelicals haven't really been known for engaging interfaith conversation. But I think we're now saying, we need to actually do that.

But those maps don't exist, and I think these kind of conversations help us create new maps and discover bumps along the way and the challenges along the way.

ANDERSON: There are bumps. There are a lot of bumps.

TUNNICLIFFE: Oh, absolutely, lots of bumps.

ANDERSON: And this has to be the final call for all of these --

KULA: I think three rules. Alternative model, stop criticizing other people and begin holding your own accountable, and then positive tasks. Positive actions.

TUNNICLIFFE: I think we've got to find ways of bringing the global voices into the United States. I think that'll begin to shape the conversation.

RAUF: We need to get to know each other better, as Rabbi Kula said. We need to work on both domestic and international issues, and we need to address a number of issues within our own community, such as what we see in the Arab Spring today.

We need more democracy, we need empowerment of women, we need a future generation of leaders, and we need to have better interfaith relationships and protect the religious minorities in Muslim countries.


ANDERSON: Religious leaders from every faith talking about where we are ten years after the attacks on the Twin Towers. This site, of course, now Ground Zero. You're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

Back on the streets of Abbottabad, we return to Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan. That coming up after the break as we also hear from the country's former president.






ANDERSON: Well, this was the reaction in New York City on the May the 2nd this year when it was announced that Osama bin Laden was dead. After a manhunt lasting almost a decade, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks was killed by American special forces in Pakistan.

Well, the world's most wanted man was tracked down to a compound in the northern city of Abbottabad. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh went back to where it all ended.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The town of Abbottabad has had its secrets. This is where the man behind September the 11th lived for years, his house in May raided by US Navy SEALs, the word asking, how did bin Laden live here so long?

But Abbottabad, where these army cadets train in a climate of fierce nationalism, wants its secrets again, it seems. The army now surrounds bin Laden's house, we're told, as we approach down the same back streets we freely roamed months earlier.

WALSH (on camera): Further down this road is the only physical reminder of the life of 9/11's mastermind, for the Pakistani army's keen to keep it out of site, perhaps out of embarrassment, or maybe by now, a little paranoia.

WALSH (voice-over): It's eerily quite, though.

We catch a glimpse of the house, bushes growing thick around it, almost like they're trying to swallow the secret again, but out of nowhere, we're stopped by a soldier.

WALSH (on camera): Well, we have been pretty quickly stopped by the police here, asked for our passports and told to leave. In fact, we've been asked to stay with them for a little while.

All quite surprising, really, given only a few months ago, this place was teeming with journalists and quite open. Things have obviously, definitely changed.

WALSH (voice-over): Nobody feels the army's anger at this loss of face more than bin Laden's former neighbors, some accused of being spies who helped the CIA. This neighbor wasn't, but still wanted to stay anonymous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The people who live right next door were picked up because they shared electricity and gas connections to the house. No one knows who arrested them.

WALSH: This is the alleged vaccine the CIA spread across the town to try and get a sample of bin Laden's DNA. One of the two women who gave the injections told CNN she was hired by a doctor in Peshawar. This local was happy, though, be be sampled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think they probably needed our DNA to hunt for Osama, so that's OK.

WALSH: The most high-tech manhunt in history, wounding the Pakistani army's pride and leaving a bitter taste in ordinary lives here.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Abbottabad.


ANDERSON: And that rage left a bitter taste in the mouth of former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, too. He told me the US attack on bin Laden's compound was an affront to his country's sovereignty. The ex- president was in office during 9/11.

I earlier asked him what message the US government issued to Pakistan immediately after the attacks.


PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, FORMER PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN: It was the next day, I think. General Colin Powell rang me up and said whether I was with them on terrorism and that you are either with us or against us. We have to choose.

ANDERSON: I believe the message to your head of the ISI when he traveled to Washington soon after 9/11 was a little bit more explicit. How do you recollect what was said to your head of intelligence by Richard Armitage?

MUSHARRAF: I was told that he said "You will be bombed to the stone age." This is what I was told.

ANDERSON: Dick Cheney writes in his memoirs, and I quote, "Pakistan was on edge. There were major problems in US-Pakistan relations. Musharraf's hold on power was tenuous, and he had al Qaeda sympathizers in key slots in his government." To whom is he referring?

MUSHARRAF: Well, there were not al Qaeda supporters in my -- around me, not at all. I don't agree with that at all.

Now, if there was some lower operatives, the rogue elements that you see, it is -- could be a possibility. But those will be minor.

ANDERSON: But you say it was a possibility, there could have been.

MUSHARRAF: Possibility of an odd individual is a possibility. I can't deny that.

ANDERSON: Where were you when you heard the news OBL had been killed?

MUSHARRAF: Well, I was -- I was in the United States, I think. Yes.

ANDERSON: And were you surprised?

MUSHARRAF: Very surprised at the location. That he was in Abbottabad.

ANDERSON: Was the raid a justifiable invasion of Pakistan's sovereignty?

MUSHARRAF: No country, no sovereign country, which is not a banana republic, can allow any other country to cross its border with its force and take action. This is just not acceptable --


ANDERSON: So you say --

MUSHARRAF: -- to anyone.

ANDERSON: -- it wasn't justified.

MUSHARRAF: Absolutely unjustified.

ANDERSON: Despite the fact that OBL was there --

MUSHARRAF: Whoever, whoever --

ANDERSON: -- and your government --

MUSHARRAF: -- absolutely.

ANDERSON: -- and you say you had no idea he was there.

MUSHARRAF: Absolutely not justified. It is the Pakistan forces who will act --

ANDERSON: It does, though, seem inconceivable, still, to so many people around the world who will be watching this tonight that the Pakistan government had no idea who was in that house.

MUSHARRAF: I do understand that everyone generally believes that there must have been complicity of the government or the army or the ISI. But I strongly believe with a conviction that that is not the case.

ANDERSON: How would you describe US-Pakistan relations now? What is the net effect of 9/11 on that relationship?

MUSHARRAF: Terrible. And I would like to say that if there is no trust, if we think that Pak -- there was complicity about Osama bin Laden, if you think that army and ISI is abetting and harboring al Qaeda and Taliban, I'm afraid we are in opposing camps. We are not in coalition. We are enemies of each other.


ANDERSON: Former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, there, talking about what happened on 9/11 and the effect it's had on his country and US relations since then.

You're watching a special edition, here, of CONNECT THE WORLD. We're at Ground Zero. I want to give you a sense of what it looked like from space on the day of the 9/11 attacks. That coming up next.

And as a French -- or, sorry, fresh terror warning emerges in the US, our Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson reports from Kabul on the continued threat of al Qaeda. That all coming up here after the break.


ANDERSON: OK. This is how the 9/11 attacks looked from space. Astronaut Frank Culbertson was onboard the International Space Station when the Twin Towers were hit. Extraordinary pictures.

Well, ten years after the attacks, the fight against al Qaeda is far from over. The organization does continue to spread its message online, drawing in recruits from around the globe. Here's Nic Robertson, again, with a look at how the threat from al Qaeda has changed in the past decade.


NIC ROBERSTON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kabul has changed dramatically in the last decade. It has grown fast. And international aid has poured in to support Afghanistan's fragile democracy.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Then years ago, when the Taliban were still in power, al Qaeda had a presence here in Kabul. Now, the remnants of al Qaeda are hundreds of miles away, to the south and east of here, in training camps across the border in Pakistan.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): It was in Pakistan that Osama bin Laden was killed and where this man, Younis al-Mauritnia, a senior al Qaeda operative, was captured last week. Mauritnia was the handler of this man.


ROBERTSON: Shahab Dashti, a German jihadist. He had come from this nondescript mosque in Hamburg to an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan. He wanted to fight US forces in Afghanistan.

But Mauritnia told him to go home and launch attacks in Germany. Dashti never made it. He was killed in a drone strike, and that's become a familiar pattern. Al Qaeda recruits from Europe, even America, reaching Pakistan's badlands, and US drone attacks trying to eliminate them and their mentors.

One such recruit, Bryant Neal Vinas from Long Island, New York, a Christian convert to Islam, radicalized by firebrand friends and what he read online.

BEN VENZKE, INTELCENTER: So, over the last ten years, that's led to an increase in the types of material that we're seeing and almost, if you will, an arms race of competing sophistication for making their material more accessible.

ROBERTSON: And that's the new al Qaeda. It's different branches pumping out their jihadist message online. Perhaps the most influential al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula and its charismatic mouthpiece, Anwar al- Awlaki.

JANET NAPOLITANO, US SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We know that they continue to plot against the United States and against other Western countries, as well. So, the situation in Yemen remains a serious one for us.

ROBERTSON: Then, there's al-Shabab in Somalia, drawing recruits from as far away as Minneapolis and Canada. The growing strength of al Qaeda in North Africa, a stone's throw from Europe. It may yet benefit from the unrest in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Making the job of counter-terrorism even more complex, the lone wolf.

NAPOLITANO: You have all of the related AQ groups, all of the terrorist, all of the Islamist groups. And so, we have to watch out for them, and we have to watch out for lone actors.

ROBERTSON: Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad was one of them. He had training in Pakistan, but when he came home, acted alone in building his abortive car bomb. But he was an amateur, and building bombs according to al Qaeda recipes is an inexact science.

SIDNEY ALFORD, BOMB EXPERT: The mixture which I'm making is one which I don't have great confidence. Some of them will probably injure the person making them.

ROBERTSON: but the danger is that eventually someone will have enough training and ability to build a deadly device. Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan living in Denver, came close.

ALFORD: If enough people get hooked on this sort of publication, this particular publication, and practice what it preaches, then some of them will succeed in causing the havoc and harm that they set out to do.

ROBERTSON: It's not just another attack that worries this former top DHS official, but the sheer volume of soft targets. Malls, hotels, power plants, rail networks.

ROBERT LISCOUSKI, FORMER DHS OFFICIAL: If I was still on the job, I'd be very worried about today, al Qaeda exploiting those vulnerabilities. Because we have a lot more work we have to do.

ROBERTSON: Ten years on, the battle against al Qaeda is very different, but far from over.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan.


ANDERSON: Well, as America prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of al Qaeda's biggest attack here, of course, at Ground Zero, there's news that a new threat has emerged. US officials are calling it "specific and credible," but unconfirmed. Well, Susan Candiotti is here. She covered the attacks back in 2001.

We're getting new information, I believe, about these threats. What do we know?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, to briefly recap, the threat is said to involve three people that might be involved in some sort of a vehicle bomb that would be targeting either New York or Washington, DC.

The new information involves the chatter. We know there's been chatter leading up to 9/11, this anniversary. But the latest chatter is saying that the person who might be behind all of this is the current new leader, as it were, of al Qaeda, Mr. al-Zawahiri.

And so, that is new information they're looking at, still trying to pin down whether this is the real deal or isn't. And they're working very hard to figure that out.

ANDERSON: As we said at the beginning of this show, no risks being taken in New York. There are security checkpoints all over the place ahead of what will be the anniversary weekend of ten years since these 9/11 attacks.

When you take a look here at the site, now, which is on the move, would you reflect for a moment on what you feel?

CANDIOTTI: I will. Number one, I have not seen this many people around the site on previous anniversaries. Obviously, ten years later, this is a big difference.

It looks so much different than it did even a year ago when I had a personal tour. We went up to the new World Trade Center tower, which is now the tallest building here at the site, and we were given the honor of signing one of the beams on the 25th floor.

We now -- I was able to go up to the 71st floor. When this building is done, it is already the tallest in the New York skyline, but they say from the top, you may be able to see the curvature of the Earth. That's what the builders are telling us.

But when you look down from that height on these reflecting pools, and I got a peak at the names of those who died, it takes your breath away.

ANDERSON: Yes, it does. I saw them, and it's really quite moving. The sound of the water is so loud, but it's so silent down there, as well.


ANDERSON: Remarkable. Thank you.

CANDIOTTI: Memorable.

ANDERSON: Susan Candiotti --

CANDIOTTI: Thank you.

ANDERSON: -- with me here at CNN's position just over Ground Zero. Of course, we'll be here for the weekend, live coverage of commemorations marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11. That's Sunday morning, beginning at 8:00 Eastern, 1:00 in the afternoon in London.

I'm Becky Anderson. Thank you for watching this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Max will have the world headlines in a moment, followed by "BackStory." A very good afternoon from New York.