A video compiled by the Council on American-Islamic Relations has sparked anger across the Internet. Recorded a month ago, it shows an angry, vitriolic protest directed at a group of Muslim Americans -- including young children -- gathering for a fundraiser.
The Muslim group, Islamic Circle of North America Relief USA, said it was trying to raise $350,000 to start social programs establishing women’s shelters and fighting hunger and homelessness in the area, according to the Orange County Register.
In the video, protesters are seen waving flag, shouting, “Go back home,” and cursing at women and young children trying to pass.
The video shows Deborah Pauly, an Orange County councilwoman, saying, “I know quite a few Marines who would be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise.”
It also features U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) saying, “they call it multiculturalism and it has paralyzed too many of our fellow citizens to make the critical judgments we need to make.” In an e-mailed statement, Royce said he was angered by the presence of two keynote speakers at the event, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, an Imam at a Brooklyn mosque, and Amir Abdel Malik Ali, an Imam from Oakland who has spoken out in support of Hezbollah.
“We spoke at the park adjacent to the community center. It is regrettable that some protesters at the community center yelled insults at Imam Wahhaj’s supporters. Nothing though should deflect from the radicalism of Wahhaj and Malik-Ali,” Royce said in an emailed statement.
The video was released on Wednesday, and Glenn Greenwald wrote about it in Salon, saying the video was part of rising tide of anti-Muslim sentiment in America:
Next week, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) will convene a congressional hearing to investigate the loyalty and “radicalization” of American Muslims. Earlier this week in Tennessee, a bill was proposed to make it a felony to follow sharia law -- which would essentially criminalize the practice of Islam in that state. Last year, mosques in Tennessee, Oregon and Georgia were targeted with apparent arson. The case against the Park51 community center -- including from mainstream TV journalists -- was grounded in the warped premise that Muslims generally bore guilt for the 9/11 attacks. All of these sentiments are regularly bolstered by a deranged cult-leader/TV personality followed by millions.
On Thursday, Talking Points Memo released a video of an anti-Muslim rally, filmed that day outside the White House. The British Muslim Anjem Choudary announced on Fox News that his pro-Sharia law group would rally outside the White House. That morning, a group with the Center for Security Policy and Frank Gaffney and a separate group with Terry Jones, the pastor best known for threatening to burn Korans, arrived at the White House to make statements against the Sharia laws. (Update: Talking Points Memo followed up on Friday morning with a second post about the clash between Gaffney’s group and Jones’s group at the event. Gaffney’s group tried to have Jones’s expelled from the park.)
Choudary and his demonstration never materialized. Instead, Talking Points Memo reporter Ryan J. Reilly writes:
But just as the rally was dying out, a Muslim man showed up to pray in front of the White House. He was quickly surrounded by a large group of protesters who shouted an array of insults at him: mocking him for drinking Starbucks coffee, telling him to go back to his country and even throwing tiny crosses at his feet as he prayed.
Reilly said he spoke to a police officer on the scene who said the man prays at the White House every few days.
With the videos swirling around the Internet, another rally is getting attention: the “I am Muslim, Too” rally planned for March 6 in Times Square in New York City. The rally was not planned in response to the videos, but rather to protest the upcoming congressional hearings.
“We’re concerned the hearings will send the wrong message and alienate American Muslims instead of partnering with them, potentially putting their lives at risk by inciting fear and enmity,” Russell Simmons, chairman of RUSH Communications told the Hip-Hop blog Global Grind.
In the original posting, I incorrectly identified the Center for Security Policy and Frank Gaffney as a “Christian group.” The Center for Security Policy is a non-partisan group.