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The South Florida Roundup

Florida Connections To 9/11, Life For South Florida Muslim Americans, And South Florida Budget Talks

A view of the 9/11 Memorial early Sunday.
A view of the 9/11 Memorial early Sunday.

Florida Connections to 9/11 Terror Attacks

Saturday marks 20 years since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, but two decades later there are still many critical questions that remain — including how many of the attackers lived and trained in Florida.

The end of the war in Afghanistan also doesn’t end efforts to unearth and examine details, including any connection between the terrorists in Florida and Saudi Arabia, which remains a critical U.S. ally.

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Dan Christensen, the founder and editor of the Florida Bulldog, has been pushing for greater transparency from the federal government in the aftermath of the terror attacks.

“The central question is whether or not the Saudi government was involved in financing and providing material support to the 9/11 hijackers. There are many indications that they did provide such support and that is the thrust of a very enormous lawsuit that’s playing out in New York City between the survivors and the relatives of the dead and Saudi Arabia,” Christensen said.

He joined Miami Herald Editor Amy Driscoll, who covered the terror attacks for the Herald in New York City in 2001, to discuss the latest in the investigation into the ties between Florida and the 9/11 hijackers.

South Florida Muslim Americans On The 20 Years Since 9/11

The legacy of the 9/11 attacks remains very present today. For some, it may be experiencing airport security, but for Muslim Americans, the attacks led to an increase in hostility, suspicion, and discrimination. Dima Samra runs a free Muslim health clinic in Miami. She experienced some of that discrimination personally while still in school.

“I remember the exact moment. I was in my second period class in 8th grade. I was one of the only Muslim students who wore a hijab then and I did have issues. I have seen how the Muslim community, we were more secluded then and we are more out in the open, trying to serve everyone,” Samra said.

Samra’s father, Abdul Hamid Samra, is the imam for the Islamic Center of Greater Miami. He joined University of Miami Muslim American students Sofia Mohammad and Sufyaan Bhatti on the program to reflect on the evolution of South Florida’s Muslim American communities since the terror attacks 20 years ago.

South Florida Budget Talks

Thanks to billions of dollars of federal government COVID-19 stimulus money and the hot housing market, local governments in South Florida will have more money to spend in the year ahead.

Local governments are putting together their spending plans now — responding to the ongoing pandemic, housing crunch, tough traffic, climate change, and the social justice reckoning. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava spoke with WLRN last week about the county’s new budget.

“Our budget is a more honest budget, a more transparent budget and is actually a budget that reflects the initiatives and reforms that I promised when I ran for office and the reason I was elected,” Levine Cava told WLRN.

Doug Hanks covers the county for the Miami Herald and joined WLRN Monroe County reporter Nancy Klingener to discuss the budget proposals in Miami-Dade County and in the Keys.

Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.
Andrea Perdomo is a producer for WLRN News.