KENT, Conn. – Peter Gadiel wants everyone to remember his son, James, who was killed during the September 11 terrorist attacks.
And he also wants people to remember how he died: "Murdered by Muslim terrorists."
For Gadiel, any tribute to his son would be woefully incomplete without those words.
"I think it's important, because I think there's a nationwide effort to suppress the identity of the people who were involved in the attacks," Gadiel told Fox News.
Eight years ago, 23-year-old James Gadiel worked for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center. He died when a hijacked plane crashed into the North Tower.
For years, Gadiel's hometown of Kent, Conn., has wanted to honor the young man with a memorial plaque next to its town hall. But the tribute has hit a snag because James' father wants to include the phrase, "Murdered by Muslim terrorists," under his son's name.
For Peter Gadiel, it is a central fact of the Sept. 11 attacks that is often left out.
"It isn't just overlooked, it's suppressed," Gadiel said. "It's simply wrong to imply that people just died. The buildings didn't just collapse, they didn't just fall down — they were attacked by people with a specific identity, a specific purpose."
Town officials call the phrase too controversial for a small town memorial, and they recently voted against erecting the plaque if Gadiel insists on the language.
"We perceive ourselves as a very warm, loving town," said Ruth Epstein, a Kent selectman and one of two town leaders to vote the plaque down. "To disparage any one ethnic group is just against everything that we stand for here."
Epstein noted that other Sept. 11 memorials, like the one at the Pentagon, don't mention Muslim terrorists, and she said she does not want to alienate any members of her small and close-knit community.
"We have at least one Muslim family living here with children and it — it would be just awful to have them see something like that," Epstein told Fox News.
But for Gadiel, it's an important message that he insists be present on any tribute to his son.
"Muslims have to acknowledge that it was their co-religionists who committed this act in their name," he said. "I am offended that unlike so many others, they refuse to acknowledge that it was their people who did this."