Sculpture honoring Saudi Arabia placed at site of 9/11 attacks
A nine-foot-tall statue honoring Saudi Arabia has been placed on the grounds of the World Trade Center that is wrapped in the nation’s emerald flag, bearing the Arabic inscription, “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is the prophet.”
The sculpture is one of 20 erected on the site of the 9/11 attacks that depict G20 countries shaped like candy, although the homage to the Saudi regime has caused controversy among the families of the victims killed on September 11, 2001.
15 of the 19 plane hijackers, responsible for the murders of roughly 3,000 Americans, were Saudi Arabian nationals.
Families of those killed or injured on 9/11 have sued Saudi Arabia, alleging that the Saudi Arabian government supported al-Qaeda in several ways.
Speaking of The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, which would have permitted an exception to the doctrine of “sovereign immunity” so that one country could sue in another country’s courts, Obama issued a three-page veto message to Congress in which he stated that he had “deep sympathy” for the families of victims of terrorism, but making an exception would hinder a president’s ability to conduct foreign policy.
He wrote, “I recognize that there is nothing that could ever erase the grief the 9/11 families have endured.
“Enacting JASTA into law, however, would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”
Five days after Obama vetoed the bill, both houses of Congress passed the bill into law after overriding the veto.
In 2017, the families of 850 people who died and another 1,500 who were injured on 9/11 sued Saudi Arabia, alleging that the Saudi Arabian government supported al-Qaeda in four ways.
USA Today quoted an attorney for the families, Jim Kreindler, writing:
The suit names several Saudi Arabian charities that were “alter egos of the government” that were staffed by the government, that ran terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and “the whole world knows they were dirty,” Kreindler said.
The charities worked with late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to open offices in Pakistan and Afghanistan and establish the terrorist organization, the suit alleges.
Kreindler claimed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia directly funded al-Qaeda.
In March 2018, U.S. District Judge George Daniels dismissed the attempt by Saudi Arabia to reject the lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiffs’ allegations “narrowly articulate a reasonable basis” for him to assert jurisdiction over Saudi Arabia under JUSTA.
The statue honoring Saudi Arabia was created by French sculptor Laurence Jenkell in 2011; the 20 sculptures are titled “Candy Nation.”
In a December press release, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey issued this statement:
In its continuing efforts to transform the World Trade Center site into a dynamic space in Lower Manhattan, the Port Authority announced that beginning today it will showcase famous candy sculptures around the World Trade Center campus crafted by renowned French artist Laurence Jenkell.
Each of the sculptures features flags from countries in the G20 summit, and the art work was commissioned by companies and organizations including the Chanel Foundation, the International Olympic Committee and Coca-Cola.