As a hot, humid wind blew off New York Harbor, Mitzner joined some 500 others to stir up a rhetorical whirlwind of protest against a proposal to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center near the site of America's bloodiest terror attack..."It's the epitome of an insult," said Mitzner, 66, a retired New York City teacher, who stood on the edge of Sunday's protesters and held aloft a handmade sign that proclaimed him to be "A Proud American Infidel."[...]
"It's not a question of building a mosque. It's where they're building it," said Glenn Corbett, a former Waldwick deputy fire chief.
"It's insensitive to the 9/11 families because Islam's faith was so central to the actions of 9/11," said Corbett, who also drove to the protest rally, held on a plaza across from Ground Zero where families have gathered in recent years on the anniversary of the attacks to mourn loved ones.[...]
Sunday's crowd included representatives of the conservative Tea Party movement, some of them wearing anti-tax T-shirts that had nothing to do with Ground Zero, Islam or terrorism.
"We must take a stand and we must say no," shouted rally organizer Pamela Geller as the crowd roared approval. Moments later, another keynote speaker, Robert Spencer, sparked more cheers when he asked, "Are you tired of being lied to?"
Spencer, however, did not explain precisely what lies he was referring to.
Many protesters held American flags. Many carried signs.
"A Mosque at Ground Zero Spits on the Graves of 9/11," one placard proclaimed. Another sign depicted a toilet, with this message: "This is a Mosque. Do You Want it Built at Ground Zero?"
At one point, a portion of the crowd menacingly surrounded two Egyptian men who were speaking Arabic and were thought to be Muslims.
"Go home," several shouted from the crowd.
"Get out," others shouted.
In fact, the two men – Joseph Nassralla and Karam El Masry — were not Muslims at all. They turned out to be Egyptian Coptic Christians who work for a California-based Christian satellite TV station called "The Way." Both said they had come to protest the mosque.
"I'm a Christian," Nassralla shouted to the crowd, his eyes bulging and beads of sweat rolling down his face.
But it was no use. The protesters had become so angry at what they thought were Muslims that New York City police officers had to rush in and pull Nassralla and El Masry to safety.
"I flew nine hours in an airplane to come here," a frustrated Nassralla said afterward.
Its clear to anyone that takes the time to sit and think about what happened, what is happening and what history and learning about Islam and the players involoved that the new mosque is meant to be a statement against the West. This is not about a peaceful gesture at all. Pure and simple don't lecture me or the public about religious tolerance. They can build whatever they want but to state that we should shut up and sit down and not state our feelings about the prank is not about being tolerant. The truth hurts and needs to be stated. I for one see what is happening in North Jersey with the Islamic presence and it is not designed to be an intergrated part of our culture.