At Ground Zero, the proposed mosque is not the only controversy

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When the 9/11 museum opens in two years, its most poignant items will include two $2 bills, some cellphone bills, a 1993 "Welcome Back to the World Trade Center" mug and the contents of a woman's pocketbook.

All have been donated to the museum, which is asking families of those killed in the 2001 attacks for photos, personal items or mementos — things to show posterity that at the start of the 21st century there were people with achievements, passions and dreams that terrorism could not erase.

Although most 9/11 families seem inclined to give the museum photos or artifacts or recorded memories of their loved ones, some are boycotting the appeal because of misgivings about the museum now being built in the Trade Center's foundation pit.

They complain that the underground museum will be unsafe in case of attack; that it will devote too much attention to the al-Qaeda terrorists who hijacked two airliners and crashed them into the Trade Center's towers; and that victims' unidentified remains, which are to be kept behind a "memorial wall," will become a macabre, if invisible, tourist attraction.

Museum officials such as President Joe Daniels respond that the underground site helps tell the story of 9/11 by showing visitors the Trade Center's footings and the 70-foot-high foundation wall that remained standing after the towers collapsed; that the terrorists' role must be explained, in part to debunk bogus conspiracy theories; and that Ground Zero is a more fitting repository for the victims' remains than the medical examiner's office....

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