“Who organized this anti-mosque protest? Sharif El-Gamal?”
Pam Geller is complaining about a “ill-conceived botched mess of a protest” which took place close to Ground Zero yesterday, at which a black man was abused by members of the crowd who mistook him for a Muslim. However, her post leads with her objection to a Tweet by Max Blumenthal on the subject blaming her, and she tells us that the “notorious Jew hater” is ”lying, slandering and making up racist propaganda against me again”:
I have no idea who organized this rally. Clearly, whoever organized this was careless, unprepared, shooting from the hip and harmful to the cause of freedom and compassion. I wasn’t even in the state, nor did I know anything about this half-assed effort…
The protest was organised by the “Coalition to Honor Ground Zero”, although this group’s leadership remains unclear – there is a list of some ”organizations and individuals” who are opposed to the ”Ground Zero Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Islamic Center”, but clearly most of these played no part in organising the event. However, the “Coalition” claims that the protest was endorsed by a number of groups:
The Bravest; 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America; Blue Collar Corner; Women United International; Center for Security Policy; Stop Shariah Now; ACT! For America and ACT! Manhattan; Congress on Racial Equality; Alliance for Interfaith Resistance; Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam; Sudan Freedom Walk; Proclaim Justice to the Nations, Dr. Herbert London of the Hudson Institute; North Country Patriots; Victory Baptist Church of the Bronx; Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Z Street; Florida Security Council; The Peace through Strength Institute; Free the First Amendment Committee; V-USA – Veterans United to Save America; New York City Firefighters Hockey Team; Christians and Jews United for Israel; and many other organizations and leaders, as well as local residents living in the Ground Zero area.
Simon Deng, Frank Gaffney, and James Lafferty are listed among the speakers, as is Tom Trento if the Florida Security Council. There is bad blood between Geller and Trento over the handling of the Rifqa Bary case, and it’s perhaps significant that Geller’s Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) does not get a mention anywhere. One gets the impression that the rally was an attempt to sideline Geller and Robert Spencer, and that she led with Blumenthal’s Tweet because it provided her with the material and the excuse for a counter-attack.
Also involved with yesterday’s rally was the “Hard Hat Pledge”, and the most aggressive abuser of the black man – calling him a “coward” and apparently challenging him to a fight – was wearing a blue hard hat. The “Hard Hat Pledge” exists for construction workers who wish to pledge that they will not assist with the construction of the mosque. According to the group’s founder, Andy Sullivan:
We feel we have been betrayed by our civic leaders and elected officials as they allow the Cordoba Initiative Group build their Mega-Mosque on top of the ashes of the 3,ooo innocents who were slaughtered on 911.
Sullivan is also an activist against Obama and big government, complaining that
I presently am a field super for the biggest union construction outfit on the east coast and doing better than most but what I hear from the cash cows of the city is nobody wants to spend a dime or invest it while this guy is in office. These fears are coming from Bank of America, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase maybe you heard of them.
I’m sure that Sullivan would disapprove of how this particular “Hard Hat Pledge” member conducts himself in the video, although it does raise the obvious issue of whether construction workers who would be willing to work on the project will be subject to intimidation.
Sullivan praises Geller on his blog, although he also identifies some Muslims as “salt of the earth” and explains that he has no problem with the project if it is relocated. The “Coalition”, though, regards mosques as “Trojan Horses”, and there are two so-far blank pages on its site labelled “Boston Mosque” and “London Mosque”.
UPDATE: Charles Johnson notes a neo-confederate presence at the rally.
UPDATE 2: Max adds:
Geller’s claim that she had “no idea” about the August 22 rally is ridiculous. According to the Daily Caller, “Beth Gilinsky, an organizer for The Coalition to Honor Ground Zero and founder of the Jewish Action Alliance, is coordinating the rally.” And Gilinsky and Geller have worked hand-in-glove for years.
UPDATE 3: Someone on Facebook has claimed that the black man in the video had tried to provoke the crowd with “racist rhetoric”, while Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition has complained that the video was supposedly made by someone working for ABC news, and that this person had asked aggressive questions to members of the crowd. Geller has publicised both claims under the bizarre heading “Blumenthal Busted” (she seems obsessed with him), exulting, semi-coherently, that “That wasn’t a racist, that was ABC News. Evil schmuck.” Whether this means that she no longer considers the rally to have been “half-assed” remains similarly unclear.
UPDATE 4: Geller now writes, in an update to her original post, that
This incident (above) that was blown out of all proportion by Blumenthal was not the Ground Zero rally, but a skirmish outside the Path train entrance.
So it wasn’t the rally itself, just the people who were on their way to the rally. Looks like Geller’s realised she’s insulted all the other right-wing “anti-Islamist” outfits who organised the event and is now trying to dig herself out of a hole with a preposterous bit of hair-splitting.
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