9-11 at nine: a cynical report from New York City

On Sept. 11, Lower Manhattan saw rival protests for and against the Islamic community center officially known as Cordoba House and popularly dubbed the “Ground Zero mosque.” The anti-“mosque” protest organized by Stop Islamization of America—rightly called out as a hate group by Loonwatch—received much media hype, but this reporter failed to find it, after bicycling throughout the area. The closest was a dispirited and sparsely attended fundamentalist Christian rally at Church St. and Park Place, just a block from the proposed community center. A bunch of people who looked like they’d been bused in from the Midwest stood around as a preacher did his best firebrand routine, railing against pornography and abortion. There were big full-color posters featuring lugubrious photos of dismembered fetuses, looking like baskets of dessicated fried chicken. But where was Pamela Geller, and what did all this have to do with 9-11 or Cordoba House?

Florida preacher Terry Jones thankfully called off his plan to do a mass Koran-burning on Sept. 11—after his bluster sparked protests in Afghanistan that apparently left at least one dead. But Reuters reports that at the anti-“mosque” protest one man engaged in ritual Koran-abuse, tearing pages out and setting them alight. In another incident, a man tore pages from a Koran and “made vulgar gestures with it.” And near Nashville, Tenn., Pastor Bob Old burned at least two copies of the Koran in his yard. Old called Islam “a false religion.” (It is presumably needless to point out that these guys are just the mirror image of Islam’s fundamentalist mullahs, if only they knew.)

A block east of the Church St. rally, at City Hall Park, some 2,000 gathered in a very loud, spirited and multi-culti demonstration in support of Cordoba House and against the intolerance crowd. This would be an unequivocally welcome development—if it weren’t for the unfortunate issue of the demo’s leadership. The website of the NYC Coalition to Stop Islamopbobia lists among their endorsers such unsavory outfits as Al-Awda NY (whose San Francisco chapter was responsible for the notorious “Jews are our dogs” incident), the annoying sectarian Trotskyists of the International Socialist Organization, and World Can’t Wait—a front for the even more annoying sectarian Maoists of the Revolutionary Communist Party, cheerleaders for Sendero Luminoso and other mass murderers. But worst of all was the International Action Center, which seemed to actually hold the permit for the event, and whose mass-produced placards were ubiquitous. As we have pointed out, this is a front for a retro-Stalinist cult known as the Workers World Party—which, in addition to openly supporting the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, also made vigorous support for the Bosnian Serbs their special cause in the ’90s, denying or making excuses for genocide against Muslims! And today these ultra-cynical opportunists pretend to be against Islamophobia! The mind truly boggles.

In typical fashion, IAC/WWP has recently launched some new entities in a bid to keep their cannon fodder confused. The Solidarity Center and the Emergency Mobilization Against Racism and Anti-Islamic Bigotry (get an editor, guys) are both new IAC/WWP front groups.

The other endorsers are innocent enough: International Jewish Anti-Zionist Newtork, Labor for Palestine, New York City Labor Against the War, American Muslims for Palestine, Delaware Valley Veterans for America, Socialist Party of New York City, CodePink, Peace Action New York State, Peace Action Staten Island, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Movement for a Democratic Society. But we do question their wisdom, savvy and/or ethics in choosing to sign on with IAC and the rest of that vile crew. Sorry, comrades—we calls ’em as we sees ’em.

See our last posts on Islamophobia, the idiot left, and the struggle in New York City.

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  1. Next: Terry Jones-Workers World lovefest?
    It seems Workers World has something in common with the man they were protesting yesterday. Those who remember IAC’s rhetoric from the ’90s—as well as their alliance with reactionary Orthodox clerics against US intervention in ex-Yugoslavia—will find this very familiar. From the New York Times’ The Lede blog, Sept. 8:

    In his televised statement on Wednesday, Mr. Jones argued that the book burning was justified by a never-before reported atrocity an unnamed former soldier claimed to have witnessed during the war in Bosnia, in which “radical Muslims” had massacred Christians in a burning hospital in front of American troops, who were not allowed to intervene.

    Mr. Jones spoke of the event as if it were well known, but it is not, and may not have occurred. While there were massacres carried out by Serb, Croat and Muslim forces in Bosnia’s war, a search of the Bosnian War Crimes Atlas compiled by the Research and Documentation Center in Sarajevo turns up no record of any atrocity like the one he says the soldier described to him.

    To a reporter who worked in Bosnia during that war, the story Mr. Jones told on Wednesday sounds very like the kind of fictional tales of wartime atrocities against Christians that were cited by Bosnian Serbs and Croats at the time to justify the well-documented massacres of Muslims that did take place — like the murder of thousands of Muslim men and boys buried in mass graves around Srebrenica in 1995.

    Postwar research concluded that about 65 percent of the documented victims of the war were Bosnian Muslims, many of whom were from secular families that often included Serb or Croat members.

    It should also be noted that American soldiers arrived in Bosnia as peacekeepers only after the end of the conflict there.

    Another one to file under “life’s little ironies”….

  2. NYC 9-11 report addendum
    Apparently I missed the pro-intolerance rally because its starting time was pushed back from 2 to 3. But there is a good account online at Talking Points Memo. Here’s an instructive quote:

    Hundreds of counter protesters were also nearby, some with signs that said things like “Pamela Geller Marches With Neo-Nazis” and “Jobs Not Hate: Just Say No To The Tea Party Bigots.” They frequently blew airhorns to disrupt the anti-mosque speeches.

    We could comment on the irony of disrupting speakers in the name of free speech. But it is more delicious to point out that if the counter-protesters are going to accuse others of marching with neo-Nazis, they should be a little more selective about who they march with.

    No, I will not forget Srebrenica, thank you.

  3. Koran culture wars redux
    Skateboarder Jacob Isom has become a global stoner icon since he rescued a copy of the Koran that Christian fundamentalists intended to burn in an Amarillo park. He was evidently on the scene as part of an anti-intolerance protest called by the local Unitarian-Universalist church, which seemed to be many times bigger than the fundi book-burner gig it was called to oppose. Even in Texas. A real sign of hope. (Global Ganja Report, Sept. 18)

    Meanwhile, in an unseemly display of spinelessness, Maine’s Portland Press Herald ran an official apology on Sept. 11 for running a front-page story and photo on the local observance of the end of Ramadan that day, caving in to protest from the kneejerk Islamophobes. Not a good sign.

  4. Sufis attacked in Buffalo area
    Once again, idiots don’t know the difference between Sufis and Salafists. The Sufis are themselves the target of fundamentalist terror in Pakistan, but to these bone-heads all Muslims are alike. From the Buffalo News, Sept. 2:

    Members of an Orleans County mosque suspect that growing anti- Muslim sentiment—stirred up by a raging debate over a planned Islamic Center in Manhattan — played a role in recent harassment, including a gunshot blast, outside their building in the Town of Carlton.

    “I’m sure,” said Bilal Huzair, a member of the World Sufi Foundation Mosque on Fuller Road. “Everything that happens in the mass media fuels everything.”


    Friday, a passenger in Huzair’s car called police asking for help when two vehicles — recognized as the same ones that had been outside the mosque harassing members on earlier occasions — began aggressively tailgating, with high beams on, as Huzair drove toward Albion.

    Huzair said he earlier had driven past a parked Orleans County Sheriff’s Office car, but deputies weren’t able to catch the tailgaters in the act.

    Monday, a congregant went outside the mosque during nightly prayers to confront teenagers in two vehicles who were honking their horns and yelling obscenities. One of the teens also fired a shotgun, according to sheriff’s deputies.

    One of the vehicles hit the member, David Bell, who suffered a cut to his thumb and a concussion, according to Huzair. Members later caught up with the two SUVs and were able to block them from leaving the area while they called authorities. Deputies didn’t show up until 40 minutes later, they said. Eventually, five male teenagers from Holley were charged with disrupting a religious service, a misdemeanor.

    Another one to add to the recent litany of such attacks.

  5. Next: Glenn Beck-Workers World lovefest?
    A caller to the Glenn Beck show Sept. 27 said: “The Muslims [in Bosnia] were getting violent and just running amok there, and people [i.e. Bosnian Serbs] got fed up with it and did the wrong thing and got violent.”

    Beck responded, “I think you’re accurate…”

    Thanks to Media Matters for America