Before 9/11 and probably related to the subsequent, terrible events, I overheard a conversation amounting to a warning between two Muslims at a place of worship I went to as a guest, al-Nur Mosque, in Mainz, Germany. I conveyed the information to a, then, member of the German executive in private. However, to my knowledge, nothing was done by the respective person after I had given a full account of what I knew. Though what information I had could not have been very detailed, I had every reason to take what I heard from the two persons (by the way unknown to me) very seriously.
In a nutshell, the two Muslims, whom sat directly in front of as I turned around and they greeted me briefly and cautiously, rather firmly stated that “something major and terrible is going to happen.” They did not name any specific group of people targeted, however by nodding, the person behind me to my right side confirmed what the person behind me on the left had said. Shortly afterwards, 9/11 took place in the USA. Aside from the words I cited, the statement contained not much further relevant information.
There are two options to interpret the said conversation:
1) the two Muslims intended to warn the German authorities, through me, of a major event, probably a terrorist event, since I was considered a non-hardliner and mere guest of the place of worship, and not among the usual Mosque attendents who pray among their congregation regularly. This prompted some of the latter to consider me a police informer, which I was not.
2) the two Muslims may have been part of a group of people spreading information, possibly with a true background, but in a way that was unspecific enough to “immunize” the authorities via the repeated occurrence of the information, and lower the authorities’ alarmism before a terrorist event. They could have been sympathizers of terrorists, with inside knowledge either directly or indirectly. If one is not to be considered naive, one has to take into account this second explanation, equally probable to the first one.
(A third explanation would be that the sentence uttered by the person behind me, on my left, was meant as a warning that something terrible was going to happen to me, however the tone was too reserved, which had me exclude that possibility as theoretical.)
In any case, the person I shared the information with about the warning that “something major and terrible” was, in my words “probably” or “possibly,” about to happen, then functionary at a German higher state institution on the federal level, apparently did not follow up on my account, thereby neglecting or violating his personal duty. If it were different, I would have read a reference in news reports on 9/11, as well as the official 9/11 report.
To repeat, I made all relevant information which had, though the info could not have been very detailed, available, to this one functionary. Albeit, in spite of me having given all the essential information, when I used the search engine paperball and other news crawlers, so shocked was I when 9/11 happened, I never found any reference as to my account, neither with my name nor unspecific.
What I did read at the time in at least one news report was that a few unnamed foreign nationals conveyed warnings to the German executive and that these warnings were said not to have been believed. Hence the “immunization” hypothesis under 1).
I am writing this in full mental capacity, shortly after re-recalling the warning I heard at al-Nur Mosque before 9/11 and, again, drawing the conclusion that the, now-former, state functionary must face my criticism of, at least, neglect of his duties as a federal servant and citizen, following my firm account. I, on the contrary, did everything necessary, taking the opportunity to convey my knowledge of the warning to the German authorities, at a restaurant in the Bad Kreuznach district, Germany, which I visited in my professional capacity as a journalist, via the functionary present. And this after the above-mentioned conversation, in Mainz, between the two persons had taken place, notably before the most tragic events of 9/11 took place.
The high German functionary, a theologian, was initially reluctant to hear my account. He at one point compared the Jewish community to “pharisees,” which I considered antisemitic.
In closing, let me state that I never encountered the two men who conveyed the warning again.
More warnings in Germany
After 9/11, I used news crawlers paperball and paperboy, searching for background information on the terrorist attacks. I found one or two newspaper articles stating that there were warnings and information by foreigners in Germany and one outside of Germany, dating from before the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon. These accounts were said to have been insufficiently reliable. I do not happen to have retrieved the articles again, and the data does not figure in the official 9/11 report nor elsewhere, maybe for diplomatic reasons.
However, judging from the warning by two Muslims I personally heard before 9/11 about a major, terrible event which was about to take place, at least one German high ministerial official gravely misjudged the information, failing to do everything in his power to prevent the tragic, terrorist act of 9/11 from taking place.
The lesson is this: whenever there are warnings about terrorist events, be it few, be it many warnings, the information must be followed up on and treated with the highest degree of scrutiny. In other words, such information must be taken as seriously as possible, not simply be set aside. 9/11 might have been possible to prevent and nothing of the sort must ever happen again!
Thorsten Koch, MA, PgDip
May/ June 2019
Updated 18 November 2019
Addendum: Personal threat
Personal addendum I (June, 20019): I had stated in an earlier post that there were pre-9/11 warnings. I became witness of one such warning by two Muslims, but my account given to a high German ministerial official was obviously not followed up on.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks had occurred, I was invited to an anniversary at the home of a policeman (Polizei Rheinland-Pfalz) in the city of Mainz. It was an event unrelated to the terrorist attacks and the warning I had witnessed, but the policeman did allude to my account. It seemed somewhat odd.
Having had tea and snacks in the afternoon, I stepped through one of the policeman’s doors, touched the doorframe, felt electrified and found myself laying on the floor. The policeman came, asked me if I was alive and okay and then demanded whether I required to be defibrillated, a procedure reserved for people whose heart has stopped beating. I said no to such a procedure, as I took the latter demand as a threat.
As it happens, the policeman, whom I visited in his private home when he was off duty, was very close to the high ministerial official who obviously neglected his duty and probably allowed 9/11 to happen.