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.