Rachel Sklar wrote in Mediaite.com
Let’s say up front that not everyone who opposes the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” (neither a mosque or at Ground Zero) is racist. There are many who disagree with the project on principled grounds. However, given the heated rhetoric surrounding the issue in recent weeks, it certainly stands to reason that an anti-Mosque protest would be the sort of gathering to which those with more…extreme…views might gravitate.
That was the case yesterday, at an anti-Mosque demonstration down in Lower Manhattan, when a black man walking through the crowd was the mistaken for a Muslim by the crowd — angrily.
The video, shot by amateur YouTube videographer, opens with chants of “No Mosque Here!” as it traces a black man wearing a white cap walking through the crowd. It’s not clear where he’s coming from or why the videographer had decided to film him, but the man seems to be trailed by a cameraman, a thin man who wanders behind him in a blue sweatshirt and what seems to be a woman hectoring him. He shoos her away angrily. There is a call of “coward!” “I’m not even Muslim!” he exclaims. Suddenly a big guy in a blue construction helmet is in his face. The chant of “No Mosque Here!” flares up again. The whole thing is very ugly and jarring.
“Wow, the crowd turned on him pretty fast,” says the videographer, who described it on YouTube like this:
A man walks through the crowd at the Ground Zero protest and is mistaken as a Muslim. The crowd turns on him and confronts him. The man in the blue hard hat calls him a coward and tries to fight him. The tall man who I think was one of the organizers tried to get between the two men.
So – was this guy one of the Mosque organizers? A secret terrorist? A secret Muslim? A non-secret Muslim? Nope, not according to the videographer: “Later I caught up with the man who’s name is Kenny. He is a Union carpenter who works at Ground Zero. We discussed what a scary moment that was for him. I told him that I hoped it did not ruin his day.”
Can’t see how that moment of angry group racism by an angry mob converging on him threateningly wouldn’t ruin his day! Incidentally, according to the Daily News, there were two separate demonstrations yesterday about the Mosque — one for and one against — that had nothing to do with each other. They were each held separately, two blocks from each other. Wait a second, one thing in Lower Manhattan can be two blocks from another thing and not have anything to do with each other? Insanity!
The New York Times article on this rally describes similar incidents, including how a student who carried a sign that simply read “Religious tolerance is what makes America great” was threatened and told that “that if the police were not present, [he] would be in danger.”
That sums it up about as well as anything I’ve heard. Nothing related to Muslims should be near Ground Zero, because it was Muslims generally – not the handful of extremists – who flew the planes into those buildings. This campaign is nothing different than all of the standard, definitively bigoted efforts to hold entire demographic groups of people responsible for the aberrational acts of a small percentage of individual members. This whole controversy is exactly what disgust me.
Read How the “ground zero mosque” fear mongering began on the Salon.