But freedom-lovers once again showed up in force and made their voices heard. Above is video of remarks by my SIOA colleague Pamela Geller and by me. (Video courtesy the magnificent Pamela Hall.)
Pamela Geller has many photos and more info over at Atlas Shrugs.
Activist Barbara Paolucci kindly sent me this summary report of the night’s proceedings:
First, Bill thanks for attending, 555 you too – nice to finally meet you, Bay People, what a group you are, I know you will win your battle too – so nice to see you again. Ilya from www.citizensmagazine was there and I’m sure will do a fantastic job of reporting on the event as usual – very nice to meet you too. So proud to see Staten Island and Brooklyn so well represented.
The press was present, but not to the degree expected. As many of us as possible gave interviews – they make me nervous but it has to be done. Pamela Geller is on Hannity tonight along with Andrew McCarthy, repeats at midnight – try to tape it, it’s a good discussion on ground zero and the jihad threat against all Americans. [It was last night; you can watch it here.]
Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller were at the top of their game, as usual. They are so good at speaking for a limited amount of time and getting everything they want to say said.
I tried to yield some of my time to them when I spoke so they could explain to everyone the differences in Imam Rauf’s book as published for Americans and the version that’s far more sinister and published under the same title for Muslims in Arabic. The Chairwoman wasn’t going to let me have the full 2 minutes I should have had to speak. I did submit the 5 page statement outlining all of the reasons to landmark and stating that all testimony about building the mosque must be disregarded as irrelevant – and I submitted the copy of the request for a 9/11 historic district to be created that would include the Burlington Building. While it was accepted, they vote tonight, I doubt it will make a bit of difference.
John Press, the leader of the Brooklyn Tea Party spoke and did a fantastic job too.
Brett Joshpe, an attorney who along with Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice are representing a 9/11 fireman, (and a group of others) in the fight to stop the mosque at ground zero. He had the crowd cheering too. Check out his website www.brettjoshpe.com and the ACLJ – http://www.aclj.org – both are extremely good.
So many people were there on our side. It was more than obvious though that the Community Board was not on our side – in fact I was told by 2 women on the Board that they want the mosque. So much for objectivity and doing what they know the community wants, what the majority of New Yorkers want and what the majority of Americans across the country wants – they’ve heard from people from all over America who are against this mosque.
While the focus should have been the building, it was the damn mosque.
Gamal, the owner, was there and after introducing himself he said he was there as a resource. No one was interested in him – he saw the anger New Yorkers voiced and couldn’t care less. I couldn’t help staring him down and didn’t let up until he bowed his head.
Maybe 3 people spoke in favor of the mosque – all of them were shouted down until they left the microphone.
Every speaker on our side did well.
I have to tell you what I was told. It’s more than likely that the Landmark Committee will vote against landmark status for the building. The next step in the process after the vote is to submit the Committee’s recommendations to the Landmarks Preservation Commission – which usually does what the Committee recommends.
Those who know far more than I do told me that it’s believed that Obama let Bloomberg know he wants the mosque and Bloomberg, being the fame and power hungry person that he is (remember he wanted the vice presidential spot on Obama’s ticket & didn’t get it) is doing what Obama wants. Also explains why Schumer, Gillibrand and Mahoney aren’t saying a word. So the expectation is that we will lose this battle at this level – but – The ACLJ is ready to take them to court over this, and they believe they should win. Give these guys as much support as possible.
After they cut off speakers and turned to their normal business we started to leave. We went back into the room when we heard they were discussing the original landmark vote that took place. Believe it or not, members of the board were questioning the panel (the Board’s leadership) as to how they arrived at the vote against landmark status. They were going over the points in the resolution and insisting on answers. A good sign, but….
We had to leave, we’ll know in the morning how this turned out. While I was encouraged by the questioning, I could tell by the look on this panel’s faces when we spoke and how they cut off our side that this panel would need a gun held to their heads in order to vote for preservation.
I hope I’m wrong.
Tomorrow I’ll contact some of the people I’ve listed above and see how we can help each other. Meantime, pass this along to everyone possible. And remember,
We still need to pray.