When one hears the group name ‘September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows,’ one likely envisions an assembly of mourning family members, who seek justice for those who took their loved ones’ lives, on the day Muslim terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. However, while this entity may very well consist of relatives of those who perished on 9/11, the main goal of the group is not to bring justice to the terrorists, but to assist the terrorists by claiming that they too are ‘victims.’ Katherina Feil, is a founder/leader of this outrage, and together with her CAIR-affiliated husband they make up a power couple for radical Islam.
Jacob Bender and Katherina Sabine Feil reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From there, Bender serves as the Creative Director for the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Previously, he served as Executive Director of the chapter.
CAIR has foundational and financial ties to Hamas. CAIR was established, in June 1994, as a part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s US Palestine Committee, under the leadership of then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was named by the US government a co-conspirator for two federal trials prosecuting CAIR’s fellow Palestine Committee member, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), and its associates for raising millions of dollars for Hamas. CAIR used its websites to raise funds for HLF, and CAIR’s Texas chapter founder, Ghassan Elashi, was HLF Board Chairman.
On September 4, 2022, Bender was honored with an award, at a banquet for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), who like CAIR was named an HLF co-conspirator. When HLF began, in 1988, ISNA’s (then and current) mailing address was used to receive HLF donations. Among ISNA’s founders was Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader and convicted terrorist, Sami al-Arian. During Bender’s ISNA talk, he claimed he had received $200,000 from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal for a documentary film he had directed. In April 2002, Bin Talal pledged $27 million to a Saudi telethon believed to have raised money for Palestinian suicide bombers.
It is ironic that Bender, a Jew who lived in Israel for a number of years and even worked at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, would be involved with entities associated with violence against his fellow Jews.
Feil, who grew up in Germany, also has somewhat of a Jewish background; her mother’s father was a Jew. She learned about it years past her childhood, as it had been kept a family secret to protect from the Nazis. Like Bender, Feil spent much time in Israel, and she was a curator at Yeshiva University Museum in New York City. Also like Bender, today, Feil is involved with something incredibly controversial. She is the Director/Project Coordinator of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a project of the Tides Center and a group that has a history of hindering fellow 9/11 victims and advocating for people involved in terrorism against the US.
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows has been lobbying President Biden to release $7 billion to Afghanistan. The funds had been frozen to keep them from the Taliban, following the Biden Administration’s botched 2021 pullout from Afghanistan that left the Taliban in charge. This has pitted them against other 9/11 families, who have been fighting to see the funds go instead to 9/11 victims. Biden has pledged half to Afghanistan and half to the victims, saying none will reach the Taliban. Yet, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “It is impossible to provide humanitarian assistance inside Afghanistan without engaging” the Taliban.
For over a decade, Peaceful Tomorrows has called for the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison, which holds many of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM). In April 2011, the group expressed its “profound disappointment” that KSM was to be tried in a military commission. In a September 2020 article on the group’s website and co-written by its Guantanamo Committee Chair Colleen Kelly, Kelly backs: the “immediate transfer” of KSM and four others involved in 9/11; the “repatriation or resettlement” of all remaining 35 detainees; and the US paying for their “rehabilitation and reintegration.”
Recently, Peaceful Tomorrows filed Amicus Briefs in court on behalf of alleged terrorists Abu Zubaydah (October 2021) and Majid Khan (June 2022), claiming and/or insinuating that the rights of these two have been violated by the US government. Zubaydah is allegedly a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda, who was thought to be close to Osama bin Laden. Khan is a former courier for al-Qaeda, who, according to the US government, “purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States.”
Peaceful Tomorrows has been a roadblock to stop other 9/11 families from being compensated for the loss of their loved ones and from seeing that the terrorists who murdered their loved ones find justice for their actions. We have to ask ourselves why this group would seek to hinder their fellow Americans, who have suffered greatly and continue to suffer, and at the same time stomp on the memories of the fallen victims by providing assistance to the terrorists. To answer this, we must look into who the group is cavorting with, and we should look no further than Katharina Feil’s husband’s terror-related organization, CAIR.
For years, CAIR has co-sponsored a Day of Action with Peaceful Tomorrows to call for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay facility. In June 2021, CAIR co-signed with the group – along with the South Asian terror-related Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) – a letter to President Biden calling for an end to “extrajudicial killings” overseas. And in October 2016, CAIR co-sponsored a 9/11 “Commemoration,” featuring a film, which discusses the Peaceful Tomorrows’ founding. The contact for the event was none other than Jacob Bender.
The utter perversity of a group of 9/11 families partnering with CAIR is further amplified by the fact that CAIR was named as a defendant in a 9/11 terror lawsuit brought by the Estate of FBI agent John P. O’Neill, Sr., who was killed in the World Trade Center attack. The class action complaint states, “Council on American Islamic Relations and CAIR Canada (collectively, CAIR), have aided, abetted, and materially sponsored al Qaeda and international terrorism.”
It is no doubt that September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows’ intentions are malevolent. The group does not want to bring justice to the terrorists; it wants to free them. The group does not want to help the families of the victims; it wants to hinder them. But what is even worse is that some wish to legitimize the group. Peaceful Tomorrows has participated at a US Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, and it has, on more than one occasion, been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Peaceful Tomorrows’ agenda needs to be exposed and scrutinized, and its cynical exploitation of the September 11th attacks to push its radical agenda must be stopped. It is time that people understand what this group is truly about, because what it is not about is advocating for 9/11 families.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.