New York Post does hit piece on 9/11 rally—Why?

According to a source who attended yesterday’s event there is no truth at all to the Post’s amazing “news” report that the 9/11 rally was “raucous” and violent. The story is thus exceedingly strange. The Post has been in the forefront of pushing the anti-mosque cause. Why would they now turn against it—and do so by means of leftist-style lies and smears?

Another contact of mine theorizes that Islam-critical conservatives were so turned off by Pamela Geller’s bizarre attack last month on the previous anti-mosque protest that they decided to get back at her. The same source informs me that the conservative sites have been ignoring yesterday’s rally, when they would be expected to be giving it heavy coverage.

Mosque rallies mar solemn 9/11
September 12, 2010

Thousands of chanting, jeering protesters with dueling agendas converged on lower Manhattan yesterday in a bitter and sometimes violent clash over the planned Ground Zero mosque.

Rival demonstrations over the Islamic center were kept apart by a phalanx of cops—though there were flare-ups between the groups even as relatives of 9/11 victims mourned just a few blocks away.

“I don’t care if they build a mosque, but I don’t want to hear their Islamic prayers wafting over the [Ground Zero] grave site … I saw the carnage of 9/11,” fumed a retired firefighter who waved his middle finger at those who supported the mosque, which would sit two blocks north of the World Trade Center site.

The estimated 3,000 pro-mosque demonstrators outnumbered the mosque opponents by about 500.

A crowd 15 to 20 deep packed into City Hall Park to listen to speakers including former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark before marching from City Hall to the Federal Building. The march stretched three blocks, followed by a heavy contingent of police.

Beating drums and ringing bells, the crowd chanted, “Bigots go home.” [LA replies: They pick Ramsey Clark, the very symbol of anti-Americanism, to speak at the pro-mosque rally! They’re not even trying to come across as “moderate.”]

The demonstrators also carried signs reading, “Tea party bigots funded by corporate $,” and, “Our grief is no excuse for bigotry and racism.”

A few blocks away, the mosque protesters were in full fury.

“Did New York deserve this? Did America deserve this? Did the West deserve this?” asked Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician and keynote speaker.

“No!” protesters roared back.

But things got ugly when a group of students taunted the demonstrators.

Natalie Sowinski, 19—watching the anti-mosque rally with pals Andressa Leite, 20 and Dennis Grabowski, 20—was wearing a scarf wrapped around her head like a hijab. Leite, meanwhile, blew on a vuvuzela, similar to the horns heard at the World Cup.

Demonstrators ripped the scarf off Sowinski’s head and screamed: “Did you lose someone on 9/11?” [LA replies: I don’t believe that anyone at this rally ripped a scarf off someone’s head. The Post is uncritically reporting a smear by a pro-mosque individual. Furthermore, what are people supposed to do when someone plays a vuvuzela in the middle of a rally? Since when is the Post in favor of leftists and Islamists who disrupt speakers? What is going on here?]

“There was a moment when I got scared for my life,” Sowinski told The Post. [LA replies: There is no indication that the Post made any attempt to verify this woman’s story. This is as amazing as it would be if the Post uncritically accepted the word of some street thug that he had been brutalized by police officers.]

Cops finally separated the sides—allegedly just as one man was ready to clock one of the students.

Muslim convert Matthew Paternoster, 25, of Freehold, NJ, was surrounded by about a dozen mosque opponents after confronting them over signs that read “No Obama’s mosque.”

“Obama has been a Christian his entire life,” Paternoster said. “I came here to show my support for freedom of religion. If you don’t like it, change the Constitution.”

One shot back, “Would you build a Japanese cultural center at Pearl Harbor?”

“That would be different,” Paternoster replied, adding that Islam “is a religion of peace.”

The NYPD said it made no arrests.

In a bizarre and potentially volatile display, a lone man walked up to the intersection of Murray and Church streets and started tearing a Koran, burning a few of the pages.

The man said nothing as he was escorted to safety by the police, and he left via a PATH train. He later told The Post his demonstration was about freedom of speech.

“People have the right to build that mosque,” the bizarrely calm man said, refusing to identify himself. “They own that property. I wanted to show that I have the right to free speech. Rights are a two-way street.”

Some of the would-be protesters mistakenly fell for stereotypes.

On Church Street, Kamal Ramdas, 57, a dark-skinned Muslim born in Guyana and now living in Queens, drew jeers and catcalls for his clothing: an all-white long robe and white skull cap.

“Islam is a religion of hate,” a woman screamed at him.

“Shut up!” others barked.

Yet Kamal’s message is anti-Muslim.

“The Koran is not a holy book,” he said, carrying a copy of the American Constitution. “Mohammed was not a prophet.”

Additional reporting by Joseph Walker and Cathy Burke

- end of initial entry -

Dean E. writes:

The NY Post’s account of the day is a blatantly partisan hit piece against the anti-mosque rally.

It makes it seem like the rally was a riot of hate and savagery. I was there, it wasn’t. If anyone was going to devolve into a rock-throwing rabble it would be the leftists since that is their stock-in-trade. But, from what I saw, they were overwhelmingly peaceable too. Sure, there were some testy verbal exchanges between a few individuals from the two sides, but nothing violent or widespread, from what I saw. I did see mobs of feral reporters, however, swarming over anything that looked remotely controversial, since there wasn’t much action and they had to look hard to drum up some color for their stories. You saw the video of the guy who burned a couple pages from a Koran using his Bic lighter? That one guy was mobbed by about 30 reporters.

In the Post’s video at the article titled, “Dueling 9/11 rallies—Thousands of rowdy protesters with opposing agendas converged on lower Manhattan,” there’s no violence or mayhem to be seen. The article also states that the NYPD reported no arrests were made. Some riot.

Now look at the NY Post’s photo of the pro-mosque rally, below:


You see those all those printed signs with their slogans?:

“The Attack on Islam is Racism”

“No to Racism and Anti-Muslim Bigotry!”

“Jobs Schools Healthcare, not Racism and War!”

When you see those kinds of pre-printed signs with those kinds of slogans you know there’s a Communist or Socialist Workers Party somewhere behind the scenes organizing it. [LA replies: Of course. “No to racism and war” is the standard slogan used by certain Communist-style groups for decades. So that explains why Ramsay Clark was there. This wasn’t a “normal” pro-mosque rally. This was your standard New York Communist front / organized leftist minorities rally. Which makes the NY Post’s “equivalence” between the two rallies all the more astounding. If the Post stands for anything, it is opposition and disdain for the hard left. Yet today the Post portrays the anti-mosque rally (and the Post has been strongly anti-mosque) as being equally as bad as a hard leftist rally. This is inconceivable. What were the hidden forces behind this bizarre Post story?]

A commenter at Atlas Shrugs describes it thus:

“The pro-mosque rally had already kicked off at City Hall Park when I arrived around 1:30 p.m. It was a surprisingly large crowd—at roughly 400—500 people by my estimate, it created quite the crowd along the sidewalk for about one to two blocks. It contained all of the usual suspects: gay rights groups, black reparations groups, Native American reparations groups (actually, just one guy wandering about aimlessly), 9/11 Troothers, Chicano Separatists, various “official” Green Parties, Palestinian Liberation groups. However, I would estimate that at least 75 percent of the groups were all Communist/Marxist fronts, most of whom seemed to know each other and work together. Each group was feverishly peddling their propaganda: papers, fliers, etc.—little, if anything, involved a legitimate discussion of the mosque, which only appeared to be a shallow excuse to mouth off. [LA replies: This is also standard for these Communist / organized minorities rallies. Whenever there is a controversy, these leftist hop on top of it, not to advance a position on that issue, but to give their various constituent groups the opportunity for each to push its agenda. I remember this as far back as the anti-Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant protest in 1979. Everyone was there—the Native Americans, the gays, and so on. They didn’t care about the nuclear issue, that was just a pretext for them all to push their own issues.] There was even a group of pseudo neo-Buddhists conducting a drum circle—it was cute. The event organizer very consciously marched every token minority group imaginable onto the stage to preach about the “social injustice de jour” by the white man.”

So here’s the difference between the two rallys: On the one side you had a group of regular, middle-class white people, the sort of peaceable and orderly folks who would never in ordinary times be attending political rallies. They showed a few hand-made signs but mostly just waved American flags. On the other hand you have the same rainbow coalition of loony, leftist, America-hating wackos you find at every wacky leftist street action. It’s America against the usual leftist freak show, and the Post is happy to speak for the freaks.

LA replies:

Again, it’s beyond astonishing. Has there been a leftist coup at the Post?

M. writes:

It actually was raucous in spots. The loudspeakers didn’t work beyond the second block, so people in the back could not hear and spent their time talking with each other, sometimes loudly and sometimes fighting. The streets were packed for 3 1/2 blocks, from Park Place to Chambers Street, with no one allowed on the sidewalks. There was an eccentric, loud man parading around in a torn suit of clothes made out of the flag, and there were some rough looking types hanging out, looking like they were looking for some kind of action. Nothing too serious, but maybe the hosts should be told that their sound system worked only for those up front.

I found it mildly depressing and left at 4:30.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 12, 2010 05:47 PM | Send

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