Mob protest at Ground Zero takes aim at Bill of Rights


NEW YORK - An angry mob showed up in lower Manhattan to protest the opening of an "extremist Islamic center that aims to mock the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and create an army of jihadists who'll wage a battle that will eventually, if successful, destroy the America."

Sound far-fetched? That's because it is.

The above statement is pure fabrication. Pure fabrication - with the exception of the angry mob. They actually did show up.

Egged on by right-wing talk radio and the rest of the tea party crowd, these people descended to protest a "mosque" they perceived to be too close to Ground Zero.

Every mosque, they argued, is a "breeding ground for terrorists, as Islam is based in cruelty and terror and its logical outcome is the fight against modernity, democracy and tolerance."

Further, given that the 9/11 hijackers were Islamic, the hate-talkers say, the "mosque" must certainly be a slap in the face to those who perished. (Whether or not this would be an insult to the several hundred Muslims who also died there was never explicitly said.)

What's being built two block away from Ground Zero isn't even a mosque at all, but a community center based on Islamic values. According to the website for Cordoba House, the center's name, the mission will "[promote] tolerance, reflecting the rich diversity of New York City."

While these are likely not values appreciated by the frothing demonstrators, they are a far cry from mocking 9/11 victims.

Then there's the concept that if people of one religion do something wicked to some particular group or in some certain place, it naturally follows that the presence of that religion near the people or area where the atrocities occurred is somehow an insult. But except in the case of Islam, no one in America believes that. If that were the case, there should be no Christian churches near any synagogue, given the horrible persecution that Jews have experienced for centuries at the hands of Christians. But there are synagogues and churches side-by-side all around this city.

And, of course, Catholic churches are allowed not only to be near, but also to run, elementary schools.

Most nakedly obvious is the blatant bigotry against Islam. Those protesting the "mosque" argue that it is a religion of hate based on violence. A fair reading of the Koran will reveal some truly ugly verses-but the same can be said of the Bible. There are acts of genocide, incest, hatred, collective punishment, and so on in both the Old (Torah) and New Testaments.

But millions upon millions of religious people, Jewish, Christian and Islamic, base their faith not on this or that terrible verse, but on a perception that their preferred holy book tells them to love their neighbor.

Sure, Osama bin Laden calls himself a Muslim, but Pat Robertson (who told America we deserved 9/11) calls himself a Christian. In Israel, the hateful settlers take the Torah as their basis, but so do the progressive and democratic sections of the Zionist movement.

Just as most Christians and Jews are not extremists, neither are most Muslims. In fact, the very center being protested has as its aim to "provide a place where individuals, regardless of their backgrounds, will find a center of learning, art and culture; and most importantly, a center guided by Islamic values in their truest form - compassion, generosity, and respect for all."

Compassion, generosity and respect for all: These are values common to billions of Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as any nonbeliever, Communist or true progressive.

Perhaps, most chilling of all is what these demonstrators were demanding: the government to stop the construction of a community center specifically because of the religion of those building it. In short, they wanted the suspension of the Bill of Rights.

Is there anything more chilling than thousands of people demonstrating against fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution?

Osama bin Laden and his thugs wanted to destroy the west, particularly the United States. They failed miserably. Only seven years after 9/11, the American people elected the first ever African American president, a man who grew up in a Muslim country and whose middle name, Hussein, is the same as that of two current or recent Middle Eastern rulers.

There is a huge democratic movement in this country, with labor at its core, that is white, African American, Asian, Latino, Arab and that unites people of all faiths or lack thereof. Its aim is to continue the very American tradition of the fight for peace, equality, democracy, civil rights and freedom-including of religion.

In an ironic twist, though many of them sported American flags, those protesting downtown had much less in common with this movement-and much more in common with bin Laden.

Photo: Rudi Odeh-Ramadan, of New York, speaks in support of a proposed mosque and cultural center near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan to be named Cordoba House at a community board meeting in New York, May 25. Odeh-Ramadan stated she was a first responder on 9/11 in the wake of terror attacks in New York, and also supported the proposal. Craig Ruttle/AP




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  • I ernjoyed the articles except for the line you threw in their about the Catholic allowed to operate schools along with their churches. There are schools operated by all faiths from Christian to Jewish to Islamic.

    I may be wrong, but I think you have done this in the past throwing in little digs at the Catholic Church. Why?

    Posted by detectivetom, 06/11/2010 1:35am (6 years ago)

  • The comment below this has all of the hallmarks of that typical "guilt by association" style of argument that has been put forward by tea party types and those same elements smearing Obama during his campaign.

    The community center is to have a memorial to 9/11 victims: this is an insult? The imam already has a mosque 12 blocks away from the Ground Zero. Is this an insult?

    The Free Gaza flotilla: Even Israeli PM Netanyahu doesn't claim this is a terrorist organization anymore. He says that there was some "small group" of people who boarded the ship elsewhere and that the flotialla's main participants were not terrorists.

    In short, your argument doesn't work on any level except that of obscuring the truth and furthering a right wing agenda.

    Posted by Matthew C., 06/09/2010 12:51pm (6 years ago)

  • My son, there are many within the faith of Islam who have strayed far from the path that Allah finds acceptable, rather reprehensible.

    Your article has numerous fallacies. First, there are many among the faithful in the Islamic community who in fact do

    a) find the actions of this particular group distasteful. Going forward with this construction after hearing from the families and members of the community, are insensitive. I and my family are Muslims who indeed find it does nothing to reconcile the differences between our faiths, but instead only enervates people.

    b) find the connections --now well established-- between the Imam who is building the mosque, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, and the Malaysian-based Perdana Global Peace Organization, according to its very own website, VERY, VERY ALARMING!
    In fact, he is a KEY FIGURE according to the organization's statements.

    Perdana is the organization responsible for numerous agitations and potentially illegal arms smuggling operations, and has been openly funding middle east fringe and terrorist groups.

    Perdana is the single biggest donor ($366,000) so far to the Free Gaza Movement, a key organizer of the six-ship flotilla that tried to break Israel's blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip Monday.

    In addition, this group and their associates have published numerous pamphlets advocating the same as the "9/11 Truther Movement", which believes that the tragedy of 9/11 was an inside job by the U.S. government or some shadow group.

    And even most alarming of all, former Weather Underground American Terrorist, Bill Ayers, and his wife, Bernadine Dorn, are actively engaged in Perdana's leadership, which only multiply all the numerous suspicions -- suspicions that only the most ignorant would not find EXTREMELY ALARMING.

    At the end of the day, their reasoning for wanting to build on this hallowed ground as at the VERY LEAST troubling.

    Again, these are not simply everyday Muslims like my students and my family, who wish nothing more than to worship Allah, follow his doctrine of peace, benevolence, charity, love and family, and to be respectful of one another's dictates of conscience/beliefs, especially in such a magnificent country as America.

    But your defense of this organization, and mischaracterization of those who are against it's construction in this specific location as being some kind of rabid xenophobes, racists, etc. is not only inaccurate, but a deplorable form of objective journalism, if this indeed is behind your paper's objective.

    We all need to actively seek ways to work TOGETHER and COOPERATE WITH one another, and love one another. These acts are far too obvious, and do nothing to foster a healthy community of diversity. Anyone who is intellectually honest with themselves and with Allah/God knows that I speak the truth.

    Peace, Love and Harmony,
    Shirog Rahmat
    Sufi Order

    Posted by Rahmat Inyat Khan, 06/09/2010 6:56am (6 years ago)

  • Fantastic article, Dan!!

    Posted by Luis Rivas, 06/08/2010 11:20pm (6 years ago)

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