Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 21, 2010

Anti-Islam Protests in US Seen as Lift for Extremists (Updated Monday morning)

Filed under: Radicalization,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Philip J. Palin on August 21, 2010

   Anti-mosque rally, Sunday, August 22.  Picture by James Estrin, New York Times

From the Saturday New York Times by Scott Shane:

Some counterterrorism experts say the anti-Muslim sentiment that has saturated the airwaves and blogs in the debate over plans for an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing into the hands of extremists by bolstering their claims that the United States is hostile to Islam.

Opposition to the center by prominent politicians and other public figures in the United States has been covered extensively by the news media in Muslim countries. At a time of concern about radicalization of young Muslims in the West, it risks adding new fuel to Al Qaeda’s claim that Islam is under attack by the West and must be defended with violence, some specialists on Islamic militancy say.  MORE

From the Sunday afternoon New York Daily News website:

Anti-‘Ground Zero mosque’ protesters descend on downtown Park51 site

BY Erik Badia, Kate Nocera and Simone Weichselbaum

Mosque hysteria reached fevered pitch Sunday as angry protesters opposed to building an Islamic center near Ground Zero squared off with supporters of the project.

In mostly peaceful counter-demonstrations, hundreds braved the rain in Lower Manhattan to voice their position on the contentious project that has spiralled into a national political issue. MORE

From the Sunday afternoon New York Post website:

Clash at World Trade mosque site


Supporters and opponents of the “Ground Zero mosque” clashed as they took to the streets this morning and held dueling rallies near the controversial site.

A group of 150 supporters of the planned  mosque and community center gathered at the corner West Broadway and Murray Street in Lower Manhattan and shouted, “Fascists get out!” while waving signs declaring, “Stop the fear and hate.”

Some 500 opponents of the project stood just a block away on the corner of West Broadway and Park Place chanting, “USA!” as they waved signs demanding, “No clubhouse for terrorists.” MORE

From the Sunday afternoon New York Times website:

Islamic Center Attracts Protesters on Both Sides


Two protests on Sunday morning, in the normally quiet blocks north of Ground Zero, claimed to be on the side of tolerance. One camp stood in favor of the mosque and Islamic center that has been proposed for the area; the other argued against.

Around 500 of those opposed gathered in a cordoned-off area, heavily monitored by police. They sang patriotic songs and spoke of a hijacked Constitution, a renegade presidency and tolerance toward the sensitivities of New Yorkers whose relatives died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks

A counterprotest, smaller but equally passionate, gathered steam two blocks away, where about 200 people chanted that tolerance should be directed toward members of different religions, and that the values of the Constitution supported their side of the argument. MORE

From the Monday morning Los Angeles Times website:

New York mosque controversy worries Muslims overseas

By Borzou Daragahi

Reporting from Beirut —The heated debate across America over construction of the so-called ground zero mosque is reverberating across the globe, with the potential of creating a worldwide black eye for the United States.
Many Muslims abroad are miffed by the stateside debate, largely conducted by non-Muslims, that has grown so loud as to become a topic of discussion on talk shows and newspapers from Bali to Bahrain, from Baghdad to Berlin. The proposed Cordoba House has become a symbol of America’s fraught relations with the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims. MORE

From the Monday morning Washington Post website:

Far from Ground Zero, other plans for mosques run into vehement opposition

By Annie Gowen

MURFREESBORO, TENN. — For more than 30 years, the Muslim community in this Nashville suburb has worshipped quietly in a variety of makeshift spaces — a one-bedroom apartment, an office behind a Lube Express — attracting little notice even after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

But when the community’s leaders proposed a 52,900-square-foot Islamic center with a school and a swimming pool this year, the vehement backlash from their neighbors caught them by surprise. Opponents crowded county meetings and held a noisy protest in the town square that drew hundreds, some carrying signs such as “Keep Tennessee Terror Free.” MORE

For further consideration:

Ground Zero mosque”? America needs a reality check (The Guardian UK)

Fuelling fundamentalism (Daily Times of Pakistan)

Trapped at Ground Zero (Al-Ahram of Egypt)

President Obama backs mosque near Ground Zero (Daily Star of Dhaka)

Additional links to international coverage of the issue are available via a prior post.  My purpose is not to endorse the opinions offered by those outside the United States.  But given the homeland security focus of this blog, such international perceptions are relevant and often not referenced by US media.

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Comment by LOGGER

August 21, 2010 @ 8:56 pm

Ones and zeros.

“What if the U.S. projected a holographic image of Allah floating over Baghdad urging the Iraqi people and Army to rise up against Saddam, a senior Air Force officer asked in 1990?”

This could be interesting just to freak out the Taliban. It’s much more advanced now. Project virgins from heaven calling them home. You must kill yourselves and we will wait. Heaven is a hell of a lift.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 22, 2010 @ 4:02 am

Lacking a coherent and adequate explanation for the use of violence against innocents to spread the religion knows as Islam this lack of dialogue and misunderstanding will continue. As there are over 60 different sects of Islam just as probably Christian sects in the thousands it is difficult for event the interested layperson to undertand the role of force and violence in any religion or its attitudes towards the “other” however defined. Since scholarship on Islam even within the religion seems as much argumentative as anything to this layperson, perhaps English language discussion of the various sects and schisms of Islam and their various attitudes towards violence towards the “other” which I call the innocents would be timely after almost 1400 years of Islamic thought dominating the religious sector of at least portions of the population of over 55 nation-states. Hey who would have guessed that the wars of religion would dominate the first half of the 21st Century. Who is designing the replacement for the Treaty of Westphalia 1648 and that system of restraint of religious violence. Can all these thousands of religions on earth be right? Can all be wrong? Can it be left to the individual as to what each of us believes? Are the promoters of Christian belief and scaremongers in the MSM even studious enough to know how they castigating the religion of the “other’ may play out. Personally I find distastefull burning heretics or witches or having conversion by pouring boiling oil down the throat of a human being. Well looking forwards to a long list of books in which leaders of one religion announce or denounce violence against innocents and the true history of conversion by use of violence to their particular religion. Time for understanding and scholarship. Do mass baptismals of US soldiers in Islamic Lands really give the image of the US we wish to project? Is “Onward Christian Soldiers” a hymn or a battle cry?

Comment by LOGGER

August 22, 2010 @ 7:12 am

It’s no mystery how government works. It’s a miracle that anything gets done. Any religion with a belief in miracles has won half of the battle. Security is an illusion. The dollar is an illusion. Mine keep disappearing. Governments fund terrorism and blame all the evils on religion. There’s never been a “evil” religion. Government at best is a necessary evil and at worse an intolerable one. Make a career of evil and create titles for each other. I’ll be vice mayor today.

DOA will save the farm and pay you to grow more stuff nobody wants. Cash for slums promises $45K for worthless houses, because $45K is ten times better than $4,500 for worthless cars. Fail Again & Again.

Comment by VICEMAYOR

August 22, 2010 @ 7:40 am

I propose we build a mosque on the Moon. I’m accepting donations and looking for an architect and 100 virgins to greet sons of terror. So far it’s looking like a mission to nowhere. I only need $45 billion and I can compete with Greece. Maybe I can get IMF funds and kick back to some money minister to boldly go where no mayor has gone before. We’ll need a Department of Moonland Security. Earth-The eggs suck!

Comment by VICEMAYOR

August 22, 2010 @ 8:30 am

The electric chair was $500. A 5 cent bullet could do the job before engineers with Department of Corrections contracts got involved. Now the newspaper cost more than the stock share is worth. The size of the paper is the same, but the value of money keeps decreasing. BP was working with the Bureau of Petroleum to increase production. Bureau of Prisons is going paperless, so we can all be convicts. William Penn was an ex-con. Religion is always viewed as criminal when you run hell for a living. Now religion is evil and government is good. Start a good government committee. Washington couldn’t tell a lie, so the family had to move to Virginia to educate him. That’s top secret. Shop at Victoria’s Secret and get my gun.

Comment by VICEMAYOR

August 22, 2010 @ 9:06 am

Iran has unveiled what it says is its first domestically built unmanned – or drone – bomber. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the plane could serve as a “messenger of death” BBC reports.

A MIG with man removed from the calc. Best guess here is Russian inspired with cheap Chinese parts. When man worships the state, the message is always death. We have a secret weapon in space that affirms life. It’s affirmative or negative. A drone won’t get you home. Allah is the co-pilot I’m guessing. Sorry for burning down Moscow guys. It’s just business. No water, no leaks. Have a Scotch, neat. Life in a bottle.

Comment by VICEMAYOR

August 22, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

It looks like a full court press with Washington media types acting as lead promoters. I’m not in NYC. Odds are the protests are going to grow. Large crowds are dangerous. Good thing they didn’t propose in Aug. 2002. Riot gear would of been required attire. It could come to that by Sept. 2010. It’s going to cost the city money and nobody is going to make money on it. Maybe they can buy the New York Times building and put a downsized newsroom at 51 Park and lose money there instead.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 23, 2010 @ 6:40 am

Eactly which Islamic Sect of the almost 60 available will be funding the MOSQUE?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 23, 2010 @ 6:48 am

Especially given the extraordinary coverage of the controversy, I am confident there will be an “inter-denominational” response. But according to every profile I have seen, Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the proposed site was raised Sufi.

In a note to Mr. Tingus (see comments to Saturday post), I linked to a New York Times profile of Rauf. Earlier this month Time Magazine also ran a biographical sketch:

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 23, 2010 @ 9:06 am

Thanks Phil. Also the sect known as the Republican Party seems to want to exploit the Mosque issue. Oh and another question? Given the liklihood that the public might react negatively is this another long-range effort to radicalize the American population so that religious differences prevent reconciliation or is that too far out?

Comment by ~

August 23, 2010 @ 9:08 am

Lots of empty space on Wall Street and they have $100 million. If they have money to redeem with and God know there’s need enough for redemption for a good many of them they might stand it. A lift for the money changers in the temple. Put a pool in and you’ll be swimming in money. Put a bar in and drown your sorrows. Personally I’d rather have the bar and $100 million will get you a bar on a Gulfstream and a quick getaway. That’s raising the bar. Find a park bench and relax a bit. Find a bench and you’ll find justice. I’d surround the Ground Zero area with memorial benches. Use granite. Life is hard.

Comment by ~

August 23, 2010 @ 9:43 am

Wall Street mosque could draw protest. The Washington political animals can one stop shop though. Drop by mosque and shake down bankers in one locale. Think of the savings on security costs alone. Protesters can protest the mosque and crooks who looted retirement funds without driving all over the city. Saves fuel and time, so it’s green protesting. We can play Monopoly with real money and put a hotel on Park Place, cross go and collect $200.00. It’ll be fun!

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 23, 2010 @ 10:15 am

Bill: Regarding an intentional effort to prompt inter-religious distrust in the United States: This is certainly a goal of Al-Qaeda. But I don’t see evidence of any domestically-sourced conspiracy related to what is happening in Lower Manhattan. History, however, suggests this is an issue that can quickly spin out of control. Immediately after graduate school my first job was to predict what would happen in Yugoslavia after Tito died. Fortunately he lived a very long time and my analysis was forgotten. I totally missed the potential for a complete collapse into inter-religious and inter-ethnic violence. In retrospect I am still amazed at how quickly a few were able to enflame so many. What I think we also learned from (the former) Yugoslavia is how these internecine rivalries can quickly move beyond being contained, even by those who thought they might benefit from them.

Comment by ~

August 23, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

Nations jeopardize their security for goals unrelated to security, like religion or entertainment, so they become disillusioned and confused. Security is an illusion, the magic of liberty, the right to do anything that does not interfere with the happiness of another person. You have the right to think right or wrong. The scientific method is based on mistakes and any technology we develop requires trial and error. It’s dangerous, yet honest. Religion can be dangerous, yet dishonest and you get nasty things instead of liberty. You get state religion and less security. Taken to an extreme, you get an Islamic republic despotism like Iran. You get billions of U.S. dollars shipped off to Pakistan for dubious development projects. Pakistan is very religious and thus disillusioned. We have the best illusion and mixed up religion. At least it’s up and it’s hard.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 24, 2010 @ 5:19 am

My understand is Wahabbi money is also behind the MOSQUE efforts.

Comment by ~

August 24, 2010 @ 7:07 am

The war is making people richer, happier and better off. The elites love it and the grunts just want it over with. Civilization is held together by most of its citizen agreeing to cooperate. Once the labor protests begin, the elites who understand power will say screw it. Are Veterans going to be given hiring preference? Ask your shop steward, I guess.

Comment by ~

August 24, 2010 @ 7:21 am

Good luck when a bunch of pissed off NYC Ironworkers show up with spud wrenches. You’ll need a lift to get it up. Take two Viagra and call the doctor in the morning. They’ll have to go to war with their members just to get a guy elected. Then they go to war again to get the mosque built. It’s not worth the political capital folks. Spend wisely.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 24, 2010 @ 9:40 am

Tilde (~):

There is plenty of testosterone in the air. Not sure additional lift is needed. Political capital may be over-drawn, but I wonder about intellectual — even spiritual — capital climbing. What was hidden is now known. Coming out of hiding it seems pale, thin, and troubled. But with some bright sun and clean air, it may yet join the ironworkers in riveting what was separate.


Comment by ~

August 25, 2010 @ 5:09 am

It’s a wonderful life Phil. Man proposes and God disposes. My only family in NYC is in a tomb. First things are first. Women and children first.


August 27, 2010 @ 6:38 am

Bikini-clad strippers protest church in rural Ohio
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Now there’s an idea for Park Place.


August 27, 2010 @ 7:11 am

NYFD, strippers, bikers and ironworkers. It could get riveting and we can play fire in the hole. I wonder if the mayor will show up or it will be a show down. This could be a weekend long protest to end all protests. BYOB TGIF. Bring sleeping bags. We’ll save body bags for extremists. We can skididdle and that’s how that works. We’ll see who hides.


August 27, 2010 @ 7:46 am

Jarheads could show up in large numbers by land, air and sea. A lift for the NYC bar business for certain. We’ll see what’s brewing and who lifts what. Hoist a pint, save a tree, eat a beaver. It’s familiar territory. (Updated Friday morning)


August 28, 2010 @ 7:51 am

NEW YORK (Reuters) – “The Muslim center planned near the site of the World Trade Center attack could qualify for tax-free financing, a spokesman for City Comptroller John Liu said on Friday, and Liu is willing to consider approving the public subsidy.

The Democratic comptroller’s spokesman, Scott Sieber, said Liu supported the project. The center has sparked an intense debate over U.S. religious freedoms and the sanctity of the Trade Center site, where nearly 3,000 perished in the September 11, 2001 attack.

“If it turns out to be financially feasible and if they can demonstrate an ability to pay off the bonds and comply with the laws concerning tax-exempt financing, we’d certainly consider it,” Sieber told Reuters.”

Public debt is public robbery. Bonds go bad all the time. Ability today is inability next week and if you need proof look at GM bonds. Corporate debt as public robbery. They can get nasty about it, they’ll still be busted and that’s a fact. “The mosque’s backers hope to raise a total of $70 million in tax-exempt debt to build the center, according to the New York Times.” That debt could go bad in a New York minute.

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