Protesters rally in NY ahead of hearings on radical Islam
March 6th, 2011
06:37 PM ET

Protesters rally in NY ahead of hearings on radical Islam

Editor's Note: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt. “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door”, airs Sunday, March 27 at 8 p.m. E.T.

By the CNN Wire Staff

Religious leaders, community members and activists took to the streets Sunday in New York to protest upcoming congressional hearings, convened by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, on "the radicalization of American Muslims."

Demonstrators stood underneath umbrellas in a cold, sideways rain as speakers in Times Square addressed the crowd. Many said the hearings unfairly target Islam and warned they could stoke fear and fuel violence against the wider Muslim community.

Congress is scheduled to begin the hearings this week under the direction of King, R-New York.

"Congressman's King's hearings have the danger of portraying all Muslims and Islam as the enemy. And this is absolutely wrong and false. Our common enemy is extremism," said Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, one of the organizers of the rally.

iReport: Images from the protest

He stressed it is possible to be both a devoted Muslim and a loyal American.

Earlier in the day, King defended the hearings on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

"We're talking about al Qaeda," he said. "We're talking about the affiliates of al Qaeda, who have been radicalizing, and there's been self-radicalization going on within the Muslim community, within a very small minority, but it's there. And that's where the threat is coming from at this time."

King compared the goal of the hearings to investigating the Mafia within the Italian community or going after the Russian mob.

In New York, protesters waved U.S. flags and held signs that read: "Today, I'm a Muslim too" and "Mr King: Lies & Distortions do not make us more secure."

A rival, much smaller protest supporting the hearings gathered briefly near the rally.

"I don't know what anybody else is thinking, but this war on terror - this isn't some operation overseas. That's part of it. But this war on terror is happening right here, right now and we need to deal with it," said Andy Sullivan, with the Liberty Alliance Coalition.

Meanwhile, at a Muslim community center in Virgina, Denis McDonough, deputy national security advisor to the president, spoke about the need to prevent violent extremism and said U.S. Muslims are part of the solution.

"The bottom line is this - when it comes to preventing violent extremism and terrorism in the United States, Muslim Americans are not part of the problem, you're part of the solution," McDonough said. "Of course, the most effective voices against al Qaeda's warped worldview and interpretation of Islam are other Muslims."

He stressed the need to come together as Americans to promote tolerance.

"We must resolve that, in our determination to protect the nation, we will not stigmatize or demonize entire communities because of the actions of a few. In the United States of America, we don't practice guilt by association. And let's remember that just as violence and extremism are not unique to any one faith, the responsibility to oppose ignorance and violence rests with each of us," he said.

A White House source said McDonough's speech was not meant as a "prebuttal" to King's hearings, while a spokesman said the administration is finalizing its strategy to help stop violent extremism.

The plan includes creating alliances with local Muslim officials and expanding engagement within Muslim communities with the goal of preventing radical violence and identifying extremists.

"This is an important issue, and we welcome congressional interest. This is about our long-term strategy and what works, based on evidence and careful consideration," said White House spokesman Nick Shapiro.

–CNN's Susan Candiotti and Bonney Kapp contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Interfaith issues • Islam • Politics

soundoff (933 Responses)
  1. Peter

    80% of our inmates r Christian. Not one terrorist attack in the USA since 9/11. If 1 million illegals can cross the border why cant al Qaeda? Younhave more of a chance to be hit by lightening 32xs than dieing from a terrorist attack.

    March 7, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  2. richunix

    I have NO respect for (Muslim). As far as I'm concerned, it's a religion of hate and demeaning subjection of women and needs to be removed from the face of the arth forever.......period!

    March 7, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  3. Bill Davis

    Religious nut have had killings and wars for years, hiding behind politics.

    March 7, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  4. MP

    Say what you will about American political interference in the middle east, However, how is this interference responsible for child brides, lack of women's rights, lack of human rights, stoning, mock trials, public beheadings etc etc. And just so I understand it.
    We are not at war with Islam, but we are a country at war and the people we are fighting are all Muslims...is that correct?

    March 7, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  5. Bill Davis

    Let's let our Catholics get a hold of them, little child abuse, theft of funds, and buying the largest properties with no taxes, and having a few nonprofit business..yes and supporting a few wars and crimes also. But if it gets political votes it is OK, gays gamble and a few drunks let the good times roll Religion is something to hide behind..

    March 7, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  6. Joe

    We are at war with Islam.....Americans need to turn inward and see what these people are doing in our own country before it's too late. Islam is not a religion...it's a complete way of life and these people are Muslims first before anything else. Thats where their allegiance lies ....with Islam.... not with America.

    March 7, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • yamadbro

      why you sound so jewish to me?

      March 7, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  7. Chinada

    They exists to kill or conquer us... you decide which one you want

    1. 1968, Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by:
    a. Superman
    b. Jay Leno
    c. Harry Potter
    d. A Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40

    2. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by:
    a. Olga Corbett
    b. Sitting Bull
    c. Arnold Schwarzenegger
    d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

    3. In 1979, the U.S. Embassy in Iran was taken over by:
    a. Lost Norwegians
    b. Elvis
    c. A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
    d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

    4. During the 1980s a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:
    a. John Dillinger
    b. The King of Sweden
    c. The Boy Scouts
    d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

    5. In 1983 the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
    a. A pizza delivery boy
    b. Pee Wee Herman
    c. Geraldo Rivera
    d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

    6. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a
    70-year-old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in
    His wheelchair by:
    a. The Smurfs
    b. Davey Jones
    c. The Little Mermaid
    d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

    7. In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens and a U.S. Navy diver
    Trying to rescue passengers was murdered by:
    a. Captain Kidd
    b. Charles Lindberg
    c. Mother Teresa
    d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

    8. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
    a. Scooby Doo
    b. The Tooth Fairy
    c. The Sundance Kid
    d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

    9. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:
    a. Richard Simmons
    b. Grandma Moses
    c. Michael Jordan
    d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

    10. In 1998 the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
    a. Mr. Rogers
    b.. Hillary Clinton, to distract attention from Wild Bill's women problems
    c. The World Wrestling Federation
    d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

    11. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked. Two were used as
    missiles to take out the World Trade Center . Of the remaining two,
    one crashed into the U.S. Pentagon and the other was diverted and
    crashed by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by:
    a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
    b. The Supreme Court of Florida
    c. Mr Bean
    d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

    12. In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
    a. Enron
    b. The Lutheran Church
    c. The NFL
    d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

    13. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:
    a. Bonnie and Clyde
    b. Captain Kangaroo
    c. Billy Graham
    d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

    14. And now we can add: In 2009, 31 people wounded and 13 American
    Soldiers murdered on base at Fort Hood by a Major who was known as...
    a: You guessed it – A Muslim male extremist between the age of 17 and 40.

    No, I really don't see a pattern here to justify profiling. Do you?
    So, to ensure we Americans/Canadians never offend anyone, particularly
    fanatic’s intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no
    longer be allowed to profile certain people. They must conduct random
    searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper
    identification, secret agents who are members of the President's
    security detail, 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of
    Honor winner and former Governor Joe Foss, but leave Muslim males
    between the ages 17 and 40 alone lest they be guilty of profiling.

    March 7, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  8. crabman

    Austrailia has right idea-– our way or the hiway- we kiss every ones azz that comes to this country and kick our selves in the azz and tell americans go away and i know i'm not the only one that sees this

    March 7, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  9. Luke

    The only aim of these people is to destroy America!

    March 7, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  10. Doug

    Wzrd1: Your posts are not those of a typical gun toting, religion nut. I believe you are probably anti-Semitic but I give you credit for having unique opinions.

    March 7, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  11. Brian

    Pete King is a fear-monger and bad for America. His supporters should be ashamed.

    March 7, 2011 at 8:06 am |
  12. Mangen

    They are terrorist American, hate American, hate all other religions sheeting in everything they do and just want to force everyone to become follower to this evil religion called Islam, look what they do to other minorities in the around the world .. they are nothing but garbage human

    March 7, 2011 at 7:57 am |
  13. Frank

    I know this country has gone so far into the PR camp it will almost never come back but this is the exact thing we need to keep us all safe. When we fly why is it we must check everybody including the 98 year old nun?

    March 7, 2011 at 7:53 am |
  14. Rebecca

    They should all be shipped back to the country of their origin as they are here for a reason and it is not a peaceful reason. When the time is right we will be invaded and not from outside the country but the muslims/radical muslim. They will think they are doing a great service to their Allah but boy will they be in for rude awakening when they meet Jesus
    Christ Lord of all Lords!

    March 7, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • Pontius Pirate

      "They should all be shipped back to the country of their origin"

      You mean "Detroit?"

      If your Jesus is anything like his followers, I'm stocking up on nails for the next time He comes back, you idiotic sow.

      March 7, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  15. George

    Those same Muslims protesting in NY, danced in the streets on 9/11/01.

    March 7, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • yamadbro

      why you sound to me from the family who wrote "With Love" on the bombs that were dropped on the civilians in Iraq?

      March 7, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  16. Mattski

    Our shared outrage and sense of violation after 9/11 is something that bonds us as Americans. I do believe that moderate Muslims exist, but I have never seen or heard the American Muslim community speak loudly, write articles, or express the true outrage that we feel in any overt way. Becaue of that, we react negatively when they speak out against things like Rep. King's hearings. If moderate Muslims had loudly and openly expressed the same outrage that we felt after 9/11, we might have felt like they were truly on our side now.

    March 7, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • oc

      maybe you haven't heard them because they're drowned out by the right-wing Christian hystrionics

      March 7, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Mattski

      Right wind Christian histrionics? I doubt it. First of all, the right wing is not that powerful, and secondly, there's no shortage of coverage on these protests. I see pictures, I read a commentary article on CNN.com by a moderate Muslim mother who lost her son in 9/11. She wrote a very eloquent article slamming King's hearings, but not a peep that I know of on the outrage that Al Quaeda perpetrated on 9/11. It just hasn't been there. Were there any New York protests on the street by these same "Muslimericans" condemning the 9/11 attacks?

      March 7, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • William

      Right wing Christian what? After 10 years of bombings, beheadings, stonings and all that your STILL blaming Christians? Maybe they should wear crosses sewed onto their sleeves. Blaming Christians? Thats like blaming the Jews. Lame.

      March 7, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  17. Scott

    Send them back to their wonderful country if they don't like it here. don't push your bul**it religion on us.....allah is gay!

    March 7, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • yamadbro

      I am confused...you mean ship them back to Detroit, LA, NYC??? Make sure to pay more attention to FAUX news next time...

      March 7, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  18. Scott G. Taylor

    Everyone needs to understand that Islam, its edicts, its religious doctrine are completely incompatible with Western values. There is no voice, aside for cursory rhetoric, within the American Muslim community against radical Islam out of fear of retaliation from their peers. That, in and of its self, should be enough for non-Muslims to question the existence of a culture within our system of inclusion that lacks any tolerance for anything deemed non-Muslim.

    March 7, 2011 at 7:26 am |
  19. haha

    Love America in a Christian way as this country was founded or get the hell out. All muslims are looking to overthrow America and We The People wont let it happen, America LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT and do us a favor, when you leave take obama with you.

    March 7, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • Josh

      Bud, I hate to bust your bubble but read the Treaty of Tripoli article 12 of the treaty. The United States was never found on Christian principle. Oh while we are at it talk to the creators of this nation how they took ideas from Thomas Paine Common Sense, Monstique and John Locke. America is a country found on freedom of religion after all that's why the Pilgrim came over and Rhode Island was invented to be free of religion.

      March 7, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • oc

      @Haha funny that you say you love America, imply this is based on the premise of which it was founded and that people should love it or leave it and yet you don't seem happy with the good ol' American way of protesting the destruction of our country based on some partisan/religious BS. Sounds like you're the one who may not really love this country for what it truly is and that you should find some nice, Christian theocratic country in which to reside.

      March 7, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Doug

      The two worst scourges on the world, Islam (which is by far the worst) and Christianity

      March 7, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Jesus Christ

      Leave my name out of it, you bigoted dick.


      March 7, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • William

      America was founded on the ideals of Christian morals. It wasnt founded to be exclusively Christian. The morals arnt to blame. They are just as good as they were then. Its the People who have changed. Many will talk about something Christians did in the dark ages 600 years ago. But those same people wont say a peep about a religion that stones women, hangs gays from cranes and cuts heads off.

      March 7, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Herman Minkin

      People do not have to love America in a Christian way.Our country was not founded that way.I am Jewish I love this country my way not in a Jewish way.There is no such thing as loving this country in a religious way.There is something called Separation of Church & State.We just got rid of a religious fanatic called George Bush.He hurt many,many.many people in wheelchairs due to opposing Embrionic stem cel research.For that schmuck it was ok to throw it away in the garbage but not ok for medical science to use it to benefit mankind,what a RETARDED way of thinking.

      March 7, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Frank Ewing

      You need to get your FACTS straight, America was NOT founded with the principles of being just a Christian nation. As a matter of FACT, it was founded with the understanding that one could worship ANY WAY one wanted to and be FREE from religious persecution. As to Obama (first letter of anyone's last name should be capitalized), wanting to invest in America again (which is the ONLY way to significant long-term job creation), you ought be glad he's in compared to Bush who OUTSPENT ALL OTHER PRESIDENTS COMBINED!! And NOW the Republicans give 100's of billions to THEMSELVES in tax cuts, SELFISH beyond belief, if anyone needs to leave it is the folks who are so self-interested that they should go somewhere and set up their own KINGDOMS....oh!, that's right they are already doing it here!

      March 7, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • Have a Doubt

      Tell me. You love America so much. So how many goods do you have in your household that are "Made in US or America"?

      March 7, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • William

      Its a FACT that Frank Ewing still blames Bush yet forgets the Dems have had full control of the purse strings, even under Bush, until this last November and are still trying to spend us to collapse. Well under Obama have jobs been important? No. Trade agreements? No. The last Congress didnt even bother to pass a budget they were so driven to push their ideological programs nobody wants. Love that cap and trade scheme to make his Chicago buddies rich. Bush? Years later you will still be blaming Bush. I am glad you have Bush to bash for the next 30 years. Nixon was getting kind of old. But what all this has to do with Islamic hearings in NY is beyond me.

      March 7, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  20. enricorosan

    If they don't like such hearings which are part of our democracy they are free to go back to the cesspool culture where they were spawned.

    March 7, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • Jeff

      A lot of them were "spawned" here in the U.S., where the right to protest is a freedom.

      March 7, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • Joseph Huston

      Its all they are good for besides committing treason to line their pockets.Sitting on their hands and doing SQUAT for America.

      March 7, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • a6102658

      Do you honestly think that is really the reason?
      Haven't you learned that Republicans wrapped themselves around our flag, so they could call themselves Patriots and call you Anti-American? Did you forget Bush: "You are either with me or with the terrorist" ?

      March 7, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • William

      Kind of harsh but i get your point and understand your frustration with the issue and that community. Now as for a6102658 he is still blaming Bush and blaming Republicans who have been gone and retired for years. What that has to do with hearings going on right now is anyones guess.

      March 7, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Tim

      ummm, William, Peter King is a Republican . . . so yes, this has a lot to do with Republican fear-mongering.

      March 7, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • yamadbro

      hmm well lets put it this way if you dont like our protests, why dont you go back where you come from??
      I just heard "YAAAAY" from the natives....

      March 7, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • William

      No Tim it does not. Clinton and his ilk said it was fear mongering too when the towers were hit the first time. we must not jump to conclusions. He knew Bin Ladin was behind it and let him flee to Afghanistan. Liberals claim fear mongering but if we had been more on the ball we wouldnt have been hit on 9-11. King is no enemy of Islam. Hes shown that in the past. But a fact finding hearing on home grown Islamic terrorism is somehow fear mongering? Even Obama and his justice department said the home grown type was something to look into. Knowing facts doesnt mean someone is racist, bigots and the like. Hearings arnt a threat. But Liberals use of it to yet again slander anyone as racist or bigots to score political points is getting old. King, or even those teaparty people arnt the ones blowing up planes, trying to use bio weapons in our malls and subways or attempting underwear bombs.

      March 7, 2011 at 8:39 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.