Ground Zero Mosque Fuels Dueling Demonstrations In NYC

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Fury and frustration were in the air near Ground Zero on Sunday, as two groups of protestors shouted their messages at each other – and the city – just steps from an Islamic Center on Park Place.

It was rainy and wet, but that did nothing to dampen the passions of those who don’t want a mosque near Ground Zero.

There were signs using dripping, blood-red letters reading “Sharia” to describe Islam’s code of law, and hundreds of American flags, as people from all over the metropolitan area converged in Lower Manhattan. They said they’ll take whatever steps are necessary to prevent the building of a mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks.

“Enough is enough,” protester Andy Sullivan said. “I don’t care if I’m all by myself in front of that building. I will stand with that wrecking ball, right in the trajectory. They will have to crush me to get to that building.”

“No mosque, not here, not now, not ever!” said Dr. Herbert London of the Hudson Institute.

Worried police cordoned off the entire block on Park Place, where developers want to build a 13-story, $100 million mosque and cultural center. An officer stood guard at the door, and the NYPD “Eye in the Sky” reinforced the security.

Among the protesters were 9/11 families and former firefighter Tim Brown, a 9/11 responder who escaped Tower 2 just before it collapsed. He lost 93 friends that day.

“I’m offended that they are trying to leverage the deaths of my friends to recruit people into Sharia law,” Brown said. “This is a radical Islamic law that goes against everything the United States Constitution speaks to. We will not let that happen on the cemetery of our friends, and the cemetery of my friends.”

“In their religion, they believe that you build a mosque on the site of your recent victory. Is this appropriate?” Stonebrook resident Margaret Buck said.

“The World Trade Center was a symbol of America, and they want to shove their symbol up our you-know-what,” John Castelucci, of Oak Ridge, NJ, said.

“It’s an insult at the location where it is,” Hazlet, NJ resident Thomas Tucker said. “They can build a mosque anywhere in the city. They don’t have to build one this close to such sacred ground.”

Patriotic songs were also the order of the day.

“The flag still stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away, and I’m proud to be an American,” former police officer Daniel Rodriguez said.

The protestors say they will not back down and will continue to make their case in the courts – and the court of public opinion.

After the rally, demonstrators marched to Ground Zero, where they paid their respects to those who lost their lives there.

Just a block away from the opponents’ demonstration, several hundred people staged a pro-mosque rally. Some supporters called those who oppose the mosque “un-American.”

A group of close to 200 counter-demonstrators gathered in the driving rain two blocks north of the proposed mosque, and their message was clear.

“The constitution says everyone has freedom of religion,” said rally organizer Elaine Brower. “It doesn’t matter if it’s two blocks from a building that was there, or right on top of it.”

Police kept a firm lane drawn separating the pro-mosque demonstrators from the larger group of people opposed to the Park Place mosque, but some anti-mosque demonstrators infiltrated the crowd and had to be escorted out.

Others, like retired FDNY firefighter Daryl Patterson – who was about to join the anti-mosque rally – just watched the supporters and wondered.

“We support religious freedom, but at some point in our lives, we have to have a little common sense and some sensitivity,” Patterson said.

Interfaith minister Reverend Todd Engle praised the mosque’s imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, as being a man who wants to promote healing.

“How can you heal away from where the wound is? The wound is here,” Rev. Engle said. “The imam is the spiritual advisor. If anyone can bring that healing, it would be the imam.”

Organizers say they will keep demonstrating until ground is broken for the new mosque.


One Comment

  1. tom343 says:

    This has turned into a debating forum, and, like others, I seem to be more interested in having the last word than shedding any light upon an already well illuminated issue.
    Well, I will take my last word and leave. The odds seem to be in favor of this thing being built. Its construction is another example of how the powers that be seem to do what they want and rationalize ignoring their masters, the public. I would almost guarantee the following.
    If it is ever started, this start will be after extensive court proceedings,
    If it is ever finished, it will be due to really tight security.
    If it is ever used, the security will continue.

  2. ed says:

    I know I did it too. Most opponents are ignorant. A lot of them are opportunists(politicians), many are racist, and some are xenophobes.
    I shouldn’t generalize either.

  3. ed says:

    First of all Ignorance is not an insult it refers to one’s lack of knowledge. Which leads to situations like this. Now if I had said they were stupid; that would be an insult.
    Now I don’t know where you come from but our mayor’s name is Bloomberg not Bloomfield. I bring this up because many of those so called outraged Americans are not even from NYC. Which annoys the heck out of real New Yorkers. Especially when they couldn’t care less about NYC.

    Now for you 3 points.
    1Most people who advocate the centers location don’t care about political theater. We care about the Constitution.
    2.Muslims are the latest “bad guys” in the eyes of the ignorant. So most of them are only trying to protect their rights and show the rest of us who they are.
    3. Please refer to 1 or my earlier posts.
    By the way don’t generalize.
    One more thing: So I guess the porno shops and liquor stores are ok?

  4. tom343 says:

    Calling people names probably is a satisfying facet of your life. I am a little surprised such posts are not tossed.
    Well, whatever. The advocates of this mosque in this place, to my tired view, fall into categories.
    1- Decent folks who take the political theater at face value.
    2- Muslims and their sycophants, to injured the already injured and provoke reaction.
    3- Appeasers, those who are trying to stave off trouble
    Its creation in the debris field is tasteless, offensive and boorish. Nothing legal will stop it. New York and Bloomfield, shame on you.

  5. ed says:

    Opponents of the center are ignorant as well.

  6. Toks says:

    Koran is not delivered its a copy-cat of some Bible truth spiced with evil doctrines of a moon god housed in kaabah in mecca – SIMPLE

  7. OrangeCountyCAPerson says:

    Debra Burlingame is a demagogic charlatan who does not speak for any 9/11 except herself. She is a white trash racist dog.

  8. sarah says:

    Opponents of the mosque just hate muslims and are usind the fact that it is TWO BLOCKS away from WTC to their advantage.

  9. d76 says:

    This is not the way to bridge the gap!!!!! You want Americans to understand you and your religion then listen to the Americans and hear their voice. Put it some where else. Is it really worth it???? People are dangerous! especially when they are fueled by rage and ignorance. You say it is for children and families. why put them in harms way?? Do the right thing and dont build it there

  10. ed says:

    We have a Constitution that protects the minority ( no I’m not talking about race) from the majority. This way popular opinion does not interfere with civil rights.
    Our founding fathers knew that this situation would happen as it has done in the past. They have a right to build their center just as you have a right to protest it.
    I feel sorry for most of you because you are chipping away at the Constitution and you don’t even know you are doing it.

  11. tom343 says:

    Why is there a supposed controversy about this? The American people have spoken. They have said, “No!” The sponsors are simply boorish even to consider building this center in the debris field.

  12. ed says:

    I guess no Catholic church should be built near schools because of the child molesters that occupy them. I mean since some priests have molested children then that must mean that churches are child molester training grounds.
    Oh no look out! The Jews are taking over America. Just look at Williamsburg. Better not let them build any more synagogues. My god those tourists are speaking another language! That means their planning an invasion. Those furriners.

    We claim to be the best but always show our worst. We are the laughing stock of the western world.

    “Witch Hunt” Rush – Moving Pictures (1981)

    The night is black
    Without a moon
    The air is thick and still
    The vigilantes gather on
    The lonely torch lit hill

    Features distorted in the flickering light
    The faces are twisted and grotesque
    Silent and stern in the sweltering night
    The mob moves like demons possessed
    Quiet in conscience, calm in their right
    Confident their ways are best

    The righteous rise
    With burning eyes
    Of hatred and ill-will
    Madmen fed on fear and lies
    To beat and burn and kill

    They say there are strangers who threaten us
    In our immigrants and infidels
    They say there is strangeness too dangerous
    In our theaters and bookstore shelves
    That those who know what’s best for us
    Must rise and save us from ourselves

    Quick to judge
    Quick to anger
    Slow to understand
    Ignorance and prejudice
    And fear walk hand in hand…

    Listen to the song some time. It is always the ignorant who tries to keep the “other” out.

  13. ed says:

    We are an embarrassment to rest of the world. To those who oppose the building of the center please listen to “witch hunt” by the great Canadian band Rush. Look it up on youtube. Listen to the words.

    “Witch Hunt” Rush – Moving Pictures (1981)

    The night is black
    Without a moon
    The air is thick and still
    The vigilantes gather on
    The lonely torch lit hill

    Features distorted in the flickering light
    The faces are twisted and grotesque
    Silent and stern in the sweltering night
    The mob moves like demons possessed
    Quiet in conscience, calm in their right
    Confident their ways are best

    The righteous rise
    With burning eyes
    Of hatred and ill-will
    Madmen fed on fear and lies
    To beat and burn and kill

    They say there are strangers who threaten us
    In our immigrants and infidels
    They say there is strangeness too dangerous
    In our theaters and bookstore shelves
    That those who know what’s best for us
    Must rise and save us from ourselves

    Quick to judge
    Quick to anger
    Slow to understand
    Ignorance and prejudice
    And fear walk hand in hand…
    People really show ignorance when they protest something they do not understand.
    We claim to be the best but we are constantly showing our worst.

  14. Jeff says:

    Until I see and hear muslims stand up and come out to denounce islamic terrorism, hamas, and islamic jihad in full force with veracity and vigor, then I have no faith that what they say is the truth. Their silence on these issues are deafening. The Imam of this mosque does not denounce terrorism and refuses to acknowledge that hammas is a terrorist organization. Since muslims blindly follow their Imams, I have a feeling that this is a mutual understanding amongst them.

    No mosque!

    1. mike s. says:

      Does every Priest denounce rape? Before a Church is open does the Priest have to say “Rape is bad, don’t touch kids?”. Do you wake up everyday and denounce the KKK? Do you wake up everyday and say “white supremacy is disgusting?”

  15. AMERICAN_IDIOT says:

    The ignorance of Americans is outstanding !! Cry me a river ! It no wonder that America is one of the most hated country in the world. As far as the swastika symbol that someone referred to, you need to actually read and comprehend the issue. But, I guess that’s too much to expect from Americans. We’re Americans, we’re always right, everyone else is wrong. Islam brings in terrorists, the mosque is funded by terrorist, there’s a terrorist cell in the mosque. You all are starting to remind me of the Nazis, and the KKK. Closed-minded Fools. Its because of you that this country is going to fall apart. While your all at it, why not whine and complain that your jobs are being taken by other countries, because your all too lazy to actually read, learn, and understand.

  16. c mccaffery says:

    are you kidding me??why is this even a debate???eradicate them as they have sworn to erdicate us,they’re laughing at the u.s,

    1. mike s. says:

      By them do you mean Muslims? or terrorists? If you mean Muslims, then I’m sorry to inform you that you’re wrong. Christians and Jews are called “People of the Book” in the Quran. In Surah 109, it states “You don’t believe in what I believe in, I don’t believe in what you believe in…You have your religion and I have mine”. Please don’t blindly listen to the media and your friends.

  17. mike s. says:

    cry, Is it as hurtful as “Americans” removing Native Americans from their land? Is it as harmful? Is every white man a white supremacist? Is every German a Nazi?

  18. Juggler says:

    20 pro=mosque supporters … 600 anti-mosque supporters. Those were the accurate figures at the demonstrations today. I was there!! Why does the main stream media always seem to lie about this insignificant issue?

  19. Robert Vowell says:

    We have Christian churches and Jewish synagogues that are just about making ends meet and also a lot that had to close their doors.Tell me where do they come up with one hundred million dollars.

  20. cry says:

    The problem with the “religious freedom” argument is the fact that it wasn’t a jew or a roman catholic or a greek othidox the flew those planes into 1 wtc or 2 wtc. As all accounts state, it was muslems that did the deed! That is why this mosque is so hurtful and insulting. I saw the second tower come down from my office and still have problems from time to time.

  21. Perley J. Thibodeau says:

    As long as they don’t build on the former site of the Trade Center
    If they did then that would be a slap in the face to all of us.

  22. Toks says:

    “By their fruits you shall know them”. Didn’t Muhammad killed to get rid of the so-called infidels and Christians, and eloped with so many women including Ayesha – the 7 year old? Show me your spiritual leader and I will know who you are!

  23. Jericho says:

    The mosque will do harm than good, imagine if ever it will be built, some crazy people will do harm to it, like gunning down or blowing it up, innocent civilians inside the mosque will likely be harmed

  24. Shamla Kanta says:

    Even containment is not enough. Ensure The Final Solution. Eradicate Islam.

  25. joe says:

    Is the KKK a true representative of the Christian Faith????????????
    Perverts comes in all races, culture and religion.

  26. joe says:

    The reason Ancestors of Europeans Americans ran away form England was for religious freedom. Its amazing what fear does to once rational people!!

  27. Alison says:

    When you take a morally wrong thing and fight it by saying ‘this is a right’ you know something is wrong with your people. Let me go put a swastika on a Holocaust memorial and tell me that it’s a right; no one would find that socially acceptable. KEEP THE MOSQUE AWAY FROMGROUND ZERO.

  28. joe says:

    ARE THERE ANY CHURCHES IN HIROSHIMA??????????????????????????????????????

  29. Brooklyn says:

    Our NYC city council.. has hidden, ducked & covered across the last 2 months of this controversy — which they should have taken leadership on. What happens, when you ignore an open wound? — does it get better, or worse? instead of blaming the far-left and far-right perspectives in mid-August as we near the 9/11 sensitivity, let’s hone in on who earns taxpayer $$ for supposedly ‘debating’ and clarifying NYC issues. This responsibility and this controversy was/is made far worse — because no one, but the NYS Governor is being proactive. Which elected State legislator or State Senator or Councilman there, in that exact geography moreover has stepped forward? In fact, they’re taking cover.

    For understanding, go beyond the rhetoric. Don’t make this about religion or landmarking, or hide behind others’ louder voices. Take on some leadership.

    Ask direct questions of the developer and real estate interests (get to root of “why”), who seem to have steered the Mosque search/sales/development — either using or ignoring the 2 block connection. Freedom of religion is a GIVEN, and the State isn’t disallowing or denying a thing, here. But, where and why and how and what and who and when… are all Q’s unanswered, and now not only NYC and NY State and America await these answers… but now, the world is watching our inept City Council.

    When will our media, and our people hold them to their jobs?

  30. Alan says:

    While building the Ground Zero Mosque should not be stopped per
    basic constitutional rights, it should no more be built in
    Manhattan than a commemorative museum for WaltherP22 and
    9mmGlock19 should be built on the campus of Virgina Tech.

  31. james ku says:

    it’s not a mosque, it’s a community center

  32. fahad yakoub ahmad says:

    why they dont spend the 100 million dollars for the victims ?

  33. Rick says:

    they should build a place where people can learn and prey for all religions in one place. Not just muslims.

  34. Nemesis says:

    With the discovery of 170+ Moons in our Solar System, there is NO reason to build any mosques on Earth. They must build them elsewhere. All roads lead to Space. Space will set them free.

  35. Fya says:

    Feel the victims sensitivity of the situation .
    There is many other places to build such a mosque .


  36. SUNLORD says:

    and what about the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS of the passengers en crews that were in the airplanes that struck the wtc towers and all people who were inside the wtc towers killed ? just look up also all the cruelties that was/is been done in thename of islam and every normal thinking humane will see that the islam is NOT a religion but a bloodthirsty secte with just one goal:to convert everybody to the islam and kill all others that do not want to convert to the islam.
    IMO take away the constitutional rights of the islam secte and all her followers
    people whom are believing that this is a religious matter…U R terrible wrong!

  37. mayora says:

    everybody has the right to do whatever plan on his own property especially if the intention is good..their intention is to promote their ethnic and cultural..lets not discriminate our fellow muslims ..

  38. UMF says:

    Well – its a basic fundamental rights for every one even for Muslims.
    Buid pray and create a harmoney astmospher with love and peace.
    Good Luck

  39. PANYNJsucks says:

    So the Port Authority and Government is footing the bill for an Islam school and community center but are stiffing a Christian Chruch that was crushed by the falling buildings out of rebuilding. What gives? St. Nicholas Church was part of the World Trade Center and came down with it. It was all over news and now they cant rebuld, and on top of it you are paying for an Islam school/center to be built?

  40. laura says:

    I have a prediction. If they are allowed to proceed with building a Mosque,( and I hope it does not happen), for every brick that goes up, one will come down. It will never get built.

  41. morris wise says:

    There are no gated communities on the Island of Manhattan. It is a place where an Atheist, Agnostic,Gay, Cultist,Protestant,Catholic,Muslim, Jew or any religion and race can live under the protection of the law. It is a confrontation to the nature of Manhattan that a spa with a Muslim prayer room might be denied a legal location. A recent Marist poll showed that 75% of the residents of Manhattan have no objection to it being built. It is not fair that outsiders with gated communities should have the power to change the nature of a secular humanist city.

  42. Carmela says:

    Very well said,Vinman,That’s it in a nutshell. It would show more understanding & promote more goodwill if they were sensitive to the feelings of the families & other Americans & move to another site.

  43. Vinman says:

    The right to build there…yes…the wisdom of building there…not so right……bottom line….do the right thing because of the sensitivity of the situation.

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