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U.N. urged to isolate terrorist backers

From Carol Yancho

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Mourners attending a prayer service Saturday applauded a rabbi's plea for the United Nations to isolate member countries that harbor and support the terrorists who attacked the United States.

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"I think the time has come that any member state of the United Nations that is a harbor of the forces of evil have no place at the table of the U.N.," Rabbi Arthur Schneier told about 250 people at Park East Synagogue.

The prayer service honored New York's 16 Ladder Co. and 39 Engine Co., believed to have lost two firefighters in the World Trade Center attacks.

Among those in attendance was United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who arrived with his wife in a guarded car. Firefighters and members of the 19th Precinct of the New York Police Department somberly greeted Schneier and Annan.

During the ceremony Schneier compared this week's terrorist attacks to the horrors he experienced during the Holocaust. He then urged the congregation to choose righteousness over evil in order to prevail against those who breed hate.

"Whenever you hear a statement of hatred against a people -- Christian, Muslim, Jew -- be aware, because they mean it," said Schneier.

Rabbi: Send a clear message

Schneier directly addressed Annan, saying he was grateful to his dear friend who has "the toughest job in the world," and thanked him for the Security Council's resolution condemning the terrorist acts.

He urged Annan and his colleagues to also choose righteousness over evil, and send a clear message to countries which harbor terrorists by suspending their United Nationals membership.

"They mar the very objectives of what the United Nations is about," he said.

Following the service, Schneier and Annan walked next door to the fire house, speaking briefly in front of a flower memorial to the company's two fallen firefighters.

Firefighter Robert Curatolo died from injuries he sustained when the second World Trade Center tower collapsed Tuesday. His body was recovered.

A second firefighter, Lt. Raymond Murphy, is still listed as missing.

Schneier closed the prayer service by leading the congregation in singing "God Bless America," then urged everyone to "be strong."

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