"There is no smiley face, no whitewash on what happened here ten years ago today. What happened, was murder!" As she peppered her speech with soundbites, Pamela Geller was occasionally forced to pause for chants of "U-S-A!" from the smattering of supporters who had turned out for her Freedom Rally yesterday in Lower Manhattan. It was doubtful that there were any "smiley faces" at the official commemoration at the 9/11 Memorial that morning, but if you spoke with attendees of the Freedom Rally, one might have gotten the impression that Presidents Obama and Bush presided over a mass burning of Bibles and bald eagles.
"This country has become communist," Sheepshead Bay resident Patricia Randolph told us. "A good way to fight for freedom is to know your history, to know that Muslims build victory mosques in places that they have conquered." She was referring of course to Park51 a cultural center and mosque that may be built blocks from the World Trade Center site. "And have you heard about that mosque they're building in Sheepshead Bay near a school? Those women that walk around my neighborhood with black nails? They're Taliban wives." Her friend Elizabeth of Midwood added, "The Muslims rape little girls, we have to make it safe for the kids." Randolph noted that "none of my Muslim friends want it there." You know, those Muslim friends that you see in collegiate brochures?
But wasn't this supposed to be a rally to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11? Why was every speaker rehashing last summer's news about a mosque that was many years from completion, if it gets built at all? Maybe it was all in our heads. "The media frames this narrative in a dishonest, fallacious, and Sharia-compliant way and it's offensive," Geller told us. Bloomberg's push to do away with the phrase Ground Zero? "That's Sharia, whitewashing…we still call Pearl Harbor 'Pearl Harbor.'" Exactly! Who could forget Phillip Petit's breathtaking walk over the Ground Zero Towers in 1974?
"Sharia" is a catch-all used among "Freedom" advocates to refer to, in Geller's words, "the suppression of free speech and the total marriage of church and state." So Geller's supporters wanted clergy at the public ceremony, and don't want Muslims to exercise their 1st Amendment rights by building a mosque. To the unFree mind it's as if they're contradicting themselves, but then again, SHARIA.
"I don't believe what we're doing is Islamophobia," Pastor Terry Jones said, his Fu-Manchu sparkling in the afternoon light. "Muslims aren't the problem, radical Islam is." And what of the massacre of Norwegians at the hands of a Christian radical? "That was an isolated incident." Look for Terry's new book, "Isolated Incidents: From The Spanish Inquisition to Modern-Day Congo," in the fall.
Shockingly, not all of the attendees equated the Constitutionally-protected construction of a religious structure with child rape. Joe Tierney, who traveled from Boston to be at the rally, told us, "If Muslims really are part of a religion of peace and understanding, they'll move the mosque somewhere else. They should speak out and tell us how they feel." We're sure that some actual Muslims would have showed up yesterday, but they were probably all up at Rye Playland.