Historic 9/11 Stop the Mosque at Ground Zero Rally: Massive Media Distortion of Massive Rally in New York City
New York, NY September 16, 2010 -- by El Marco
This year's 9/11 anniversary in New York brought opponents and supporters of the controversial Ground Zero Mosque to lower Manhattan by the thousands. That fact has spawned a new controversy, as the American people yet again were served a false narrative by the dominant liberal establishment mass media.
Exhibit A, in the "media reality distortion case #2478697," is the photo scene below. This photo shows the 9/11 Remembrance/Stop the Ground Zero Mosque Rally hosted by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. According to The New York Times, what is seen here is a crowd of 2,000 persons. According to the New York Daily News, the crowd below contained "hundreds," despite the fact that it stretched jam packed as seen below for three city blocks. Local NYC News Channel 10 reported live that there were 30,000 people at this rally. Channel 10 should be applauded for doing their job, and the rest of the media stands exposed.
But wait! The distortion goes much deeper than just downplaying by a factor of 10 or 20 the size of the Stop the Ground Zero Mosque Rally.
With headlines like Angry Protests Mar Solemn Day, and Both Sides Desecrate Vigil, New York papers painted a scene of divisive struggle between roughly equivalent numbers of protesters at the anti-mosque and pro-mosque rallies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those at the Stop the Mosque Rally were well apart from the radicals and communists who strutted their stuff and chanted political slogans on the streets of lower Manhattan.
The Stop the Mosque rally hosts, Geller and Spencer, instructed participants not to bring signs, only flags, in order to emphasize the sanctity and solemnity of the occasion. They also emphasized in their promotional blog posts that it was to be a "remembrance rally." That was very much the tone of the rally I witnessed and photographed just next to 51 Park Place, the site of the proposed Cordoba House mosque/community center.
The second rally in question was described by The New York Times as being made up of "supporters of the proposed Islamic center" and "organized by a number of left-wing anti-war and pro-Palestinian groups, including the International Action Center. (IAC)." The IAC is an umbrella group for Marxist, Stalinist, and Castroist groups like the World Workers Party (WWP) which supplied hundreds of professionally printed signs. World Can't Wait was another main sponsor and communist umbrella organization.
I attended the leftist rally up until just before the Stop the Mosque Rally started at 3 p.m., exactly three blocks to the west. I estimated 1,500 leftist protesters inside the staging area at 2:45, with many more arriving at the time of my departure. The AP reported a total of 1,000 leftists.
The signs above were available by the hundreds. Note the signs about freeing Lynn Stewart the "People's Lawyer." All the major themes of the radical anti-American left were on display, including: Bush/Cheney War Criminals, Jobs not Hate, Say No to Tea Party Bigots, Worker Defense Guards Against Racist Anti-Immigrant Attacks. There were also signs denouncing President Obama for continuing with many of the Bush/Cheney Anti-terrorism policies. I saw one group of around 100 protesters chanting "Racists Go Home . . . Leave Muslims Alone" towards an open top double-decker tour bus stopped at a traffic light. It was packed with appalled tourists who looked on in amazement as protesters vented their rage at them.
Over on the relatively secluded side streets where the Stop Islamization of America Remembrance rally was assembled there was a completely different crowd. These are people who share a love of liberty, and country and an acute awareness of the perils America faces from Islamists, and their leftist allies.
Pamela Geller introduced speakers to the huge crowd. Speakers included 9/11 family members, first responders, and refugees from Islamic countries. Geller and her associate Robert Spencer sparked the entire Ground Zero Mosque debate when they held their first rally on June 6, 2010. The corporate media practically blacked out that rally also and but for coverage by bloggers no one would have known of this controversy as the liberal press had determined that you should be kept in the dark.
Fabrizio Bivona and Rosa Leonetti addressing the anti-mosque remembrance rally. Mr. Bivona is a firefighter, paramedic and RN. He was a first responder on 9/11.
Bivona said, "I listened to the imam say he didn't know the pain this was going to inflict. I hear the imam say he wants to bridge gaps and bring Muslims and non-Muslims together. Does that look like it's happening? I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he didn't know then, but he knows now. There should be no doubt in his mind. When seventy-five plus percent of the people say 'Don't do this,' when family members who've been victimized are standing out there and saying 'Please, don't do this' -- so the answer to anyone's question if this guy's doing this to be provocative, or if he's doing it to build bridges, well we're going to find out tomorrow if he continues with this monstrosity, or if he stops this disaster now. . . . Let's honor the fallen."
Rosa Leonetti is a 9/11 family member. Her sister's husband, Lieutenant Joseph Gullickson of the FDNY's Ladder 101 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, perished on 9/11, rescuing the victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
"It did not matter to the four hundred and eleven emergency workers (who died) what the race, religion, nationality or ethnicity of the men and women and children were within those towers. . . . We have shown much respect and, above all, tolerance during these very long nine years. . . . tolerance for a mayor who puts his own business interests in the middle east ahead of the long suffering of family members . . . tolerance is not reserved for just one religion or one ideology . . . Do not ask us, the family members, to be tolerant of those who demonstrate selfish self serving behaviors and attitudes."
"Abdel Faisel Rauf is quoted this week as saying that if we don't do this right . . . anger will explode in the muslim world. Well, imam, anger is exploding in America too. He stated that if this situation is not handled correctly, it could become something very dangerous indeed. Does that sound like tolerance to you? It actually sounds more like a threat. Mr. Rauf, Americans do not like to be threatened. Tolerance is not reserved, nor should it be parceled out, to those who use the excuse of building a cultural center when what they are erecting is a rabat. . . . A rabat was typically raised in the midst of the conquered infidel as a symbol of strength and superiority."
When Ms. Leonetti mentioned the word rabat, I was sure that she had also seen the same article as I, just a day or two before in the New York Post by Amir Taheri. He explained much about Islamic supremacist colonialism, and the types of buildings constructed by Muslims historically during the process of conquest.
This is how some in the crowd reacted when Rosa Leonetti said "Mr. Rauf, Americans do not like to be threatened."
There were also video addresses by former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and media-man Andrew Breitbart. Bolton reminded the crowd about the Ground Zero imam's many outrageous public statements, including that Osama bin Laden was made in the U.S.A., and that America has more blood on its hands than the terrorists. Bolton brought up questions about the United States State Department's funding of Imam Rauf's trip to the middle east, and that Department's policies concerning Islamism.
Joseph Nassralla, Coptic Christian human rights activist, made a heart wrenching speech on behalf of the much persecuted Christians of Egypt. Robert Spencer wrote:
"Nassralla garnered national attention last June at the first rally Geller and I hosted against the Ground Zero Mosque, when Keith Olbermann and other hard-Left pseudo-journalists trumpeted and misrepresented a misunderstanding between Nassralla and some others in the crowd as a racial incident."
The liberal left media turned what was shrugged off by those involved into a yarn about intolerance in America. Nassralla's startling speech put the lie to the leftist spin as he told of how, after escaping from Egypt, he is terrified by the growth of intolerant Islam in New York City and America.
In heavily accented English Nassralla spoke of the persecution and atrocities that are suffered by the Christian population of Egypt:
Wake up America! I came from Egypt. Egypt was Coptic, was Christian. 1,400 years Islamists conquered our country. You know it's written in the Koran that war is deceiving. They can lie to build this mosque here -- on my dead body. I escaped from Egypt for freedom here. Where I can go? You need me to go to the moon now? . . .
I'm sorry to show you my picture. This is one of our dear friends in Egypt. One of eight -- eight of them on the Christmas night. In the name of Islam, they said "Allah hu akhbar," and they killed them in front of the church.
Three thousand persons buried here, in this same area. . . . In ten years, if this mosque built here, using taqiya, using islamize of this country, you cannot stop them. It's gonna be too late. . . . I'm saying to you, "WAKE UP AMERICA!!" You don't need to be like this picture. Stop islamization of America."
Sam Khoshbaten is a true Muslim moderate. He is an Iranian activist, organizer of No to Ajmadinejad Committee. Khoshbaten spoke about oppression under the Islamic Republic of Iran and told the crowd, "Together we can eliminate the dark cloud of terrorism, by uniting with the brave people of Iran in their struggle for freedom."
Dutch MP Geert Wilders came from Holland for the rally. His speech was historic and ignored by the MSM.
"The tolerance that is crucial to our freedom requires a line of defense. Mayor Bloomberg uses tolerance as an argument to allow Imam Rauf and his sponsors to build their so-called Cordoba Mosque.
Mayor Bloomberg forgets, however, that openness cannot be open-ended. A tolerant society is not a suicidal society. It must defend itself against the powers of darkness, the force of hatred and the blight of ignorance. It cannot tolerate the intolerant -- and survive.
"Most Americans do not want this so-called Cordoba Mosque to be built here. They understand that it is both a provocation and a humiliation. They understand the triumphant narrative of a mosque named after the Great Mosque of Cordoba which was constructed where a Christian cathedral stood before the land was conquered by Islam.
"Nine years ago, when the news of the terrible atrocity in New York reached Europe, Muslim youths danced in the streets. In a poll, two thirds of the Muslim immigrants in the Netherlands expressed partial or full understanding for the 9/11 terrorists.
If a mosque were built here on Ground Zero such people would feel triumphant. But we, we will not betray those who died on 9/11. For their sakes we cannot tolerate a mosque on or near Ground Zero. For their sakes loud and clear we say: No mosque here! For their sakes, we must draw the line. So that New York, rooted in Dutch tolerance, will never become New Mecca."
For full speech text, go to my brand-new Communities at The Washington Times column.
Andrew Breitbart was there in spirit via a video address:
"Political correctness got us into this problem in the first place. . . . Many in the media elite have been putting their heads in the sand since 9/11. Radical Islam is not just killing our soldiers. They're also waging a propaganda war against us. Those who have read Bernard Lewis, those who have read Mark Steyn, and those people who have chosen not to act like ostriches have found themselves being called all sorts of names by those who have acted like ostriches. That is what we face today. It's a battle of those who have the will to face up to the challenges that we face in America in 2010, nine years after 9/11. Americans have every right to congregate at Ground Zero at the WTC to represent the majority point of view. Do not let Katie Couric and her cavalcade of the politically correct media elite tell you that you don't have the right to be here. This is a strong message, not just to the radical islamists that we have the backbone to stand up to the war that we face against them, but to those that would cower in the face of that peril, our media elite."
Nelly Braginskaya lost her son on 9/11. She explained, in her heavy Russian accent, that most families who have a grave site for those murdered that day have a small fragment of bone, or perhaps a jacket, or something with only a bit of DNA in the grave. Ground Zero is the real grave site, and for many blocks around, the remains of the victims were scattered with the ashes of the buildings.
"Everybody say "let people pray" like it only about religion. But this is not about freedom of religion. This is about geography. You (Muslims) can pray, but a little bit farther (away from Ground Zero). What's big deal? God will hear you if you will pray."
Ilario Pantano, candidate for U.S. Congress, addressed the crowd.
"On 9/11 it wasn't New York that was attacked, it was America that was attacked. It was freedom that was attacked. And we can't forget not only what happened, not only the murderous intent that killed 3,000 Americans. We can't forget for a moment that that they wanted to kill 50,000 Americans, or maybe 100,000 Americans. . . . We can't forget that since those attacks, hundreds of thousands of men and women around the world have been killed by jihadists, in the name of radical Islam. From Egypt to Bali, from Baghdad to Kabul, no one can forget there was a car bomb here in Times Square six months ago. Folks, if you think this is over, it's just beginning. . . . So what's my opinion about a mosque at Ground Zero? NO MOSQUE HERE. . . ."
Pantano tied in Iran's actions against Israel with the Gaza Flotilla, and pointed out Imam Rauf's involvement with the Gaza Flotilla, and questioned where the money from the mosque is coming from.
In the crowd there were families of those murdered on 9/11, military veterans, New Yorkers, and people who had travelled from around the country and from abroad to be here today. Above, three U.S. Marine Corps veterans listened intently to Pantano.
Attorney Larry Klayman attended the rally. He has filed a suit on behalf of 9/11 first responders. The suit seeks $350 million in damages, against the developers of Park 51, claiming that the plans for the mosque have resulted in "emotional, mental and physical" damage to those impacted by 9/11.
Wave Chan, a New York Tea Party organizer, has filed a non-profit corporation to raise money to make an offer for the Park 51 property. He got the idea from Debra Burlingame, who was the sister of the pilot of Flight 77 which was hijacked by jihadis and flown into the Pentagon, murdering Burlingame's brother and 188 other souls. Chan hopes to get a memorial built at 51 Park Place. He noticed that the Preview of the 9/11 Memorial doesn't show a single image of an airplane, makes no reference to terrorism or jihad, etc. Chan lives not far from Ground Zero. For many hours on 9/11, 2001, Chan did not know whether his brother, who works in the Financial District, survived the attack.
First responder FDNY firefighter Steve Sharp thanks Ms. Geller for her work. Many off-duty firefighters and police officers from New York City and other parts of the country were in the crowd.