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. Jewish

    most of the anti muslim people come from outside of nyc to protest this.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  2. norcalmojo

    If we really want to fight extremism then Pat Robertson has to die. The commentators on MSNBC and Fox News have to die. Rush Limbaugh and any other extremist needs to be rooted out and exterminated.

    I find it funny that a country founded by terrorists (yes, learn the history of the USA and how England reacted to the atrocities the colonists committed) is now so desperate to be the monolithic oppressor actively crushing those underdogs that resist our empire.

    Nice job moderators!

    March 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  3. Tom S

    When the 'peaceful' Muslims condem the radicals among them, then maybe, they will have a say. Until then they all are part of the problem.

    March 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm |

    Our country of America needs to grow up and start understanding how you treat most people is what you going to get back so make sure to respect everyone as long as they respect you! Second thing is this American Law Enforcement is worried about radicals here when they need to worry more about the Gang up-rise that is going on in almost every major city in the U.S.A. The Bloods and Crips Gang membership has been growing over the years at rapid race as the Government either denies or ignores the bigger picture. Don't get me wrong we all know that the Police do crack down on the inner city gangs and drug dealers but its now bigger than the inner city, you got gangs moving in the nice middle class and even rich neighborhoods conducting business in the open day and night committing crimes and hurting innocent people in the process. In New York City for example all you have to do if you are a visitor or Government official is drive out of midtown Manhattan uptown to Harlem and even to the Bronx or Brooklyn and you will see it for yourself gang members all over hanging out sporting their bandanna's on street corners and in front of Housing Projects. Innocent people are getting harassed, robbed and killed while the law enforcement focus on Midtown Manhattan and terrorist from outside when people are getting terrorized everyday in the urban areas. I remember that in 1996 the Police commissioner here in NYC said that they were copy cat Bloods and Crips in NYC commiting crimes when it hit the News to downplay the reality was it because of tourism? You can answer that don't get me wrong they are improving lots of things in America but they need to fix major issues before they can deal with outter threats we have threats here that will damage just as bad as a Taliban or Al Quaida but in a different way so wake up and let's clean up our streets without harassing the poor, hard working everyday people and our youth that are doing good things to make our lives better. Now it is time for our Government to stand up and be men and do their job correct stop treating the American people like they dirt off the floor!!!!
    Step up to the plate people!!!!

    March 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • kevin

      Funny i have lived in Queens, Ny my whole life and never once had a problem with gangs. Shut up and stay in midtown

      March 7, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  5. kevin

    If(WHEN) we are attacked again. It is going to be a muslim that is a US citizen born or living hear for an extended period of time. Peter King knows this along with every other law enforcement group.
    Lets see where all these protesting Muslims will be when one of our "fellow Americans" blows up a subway or bus!!!

    March 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  6. joey.d.nuts

    I just want to know where VIRGINA is and how do I get there. Editors working hard again at the NYT

    March 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  7. James

    Notice that there are only muslim women in the picture above. The men must be busy in the basement making bombs.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  8. Bob

    It's a shame the Muslim community can't be this vocal when it comes to condemning Islamic terrorism. The last I time I saw this many motivated Muslims was In Michigan when they cheering on Hezbollah during their last conflict with Israel.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  9. Pliny

    Where are these protestors when their fellow muslims commit a terrorist act?

    Why don't we see them in the streets protesting that this is not done in thier name?

    There are a billion muslims on the planet. When somebody prints a mohammed-cartoon in denmark...there are muslim riots on the four-corners of the earth. But when a muslim commits a terrorist act in the name of islam, the silence is deafening.

    They all support the terrorists.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  10. Scottinnc

    Glad I'm not standing down wind. Those people stink!

    March 7, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  11. rivirivi

    Well, being tolerant with the in-tolerants is an oxymoron.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  12. nate

    Are there going to be hearings about the radical wing of christianity that attacks legal abortion providers and thier facilities?

    March 7, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Big Bob

      Yea, that happens everyday all over the world. NOT!

      March 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  13. sameeker

    Very well said.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  14. Big Bob

    Wow! Look at the stray hairs coming out from under the hajib and the make-up. They would be flogged in Iran.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  15. The Vision

    Rep. King's efforts is the beginining of a zionist nazi state. If you don't believe me see how much $s King receives from pro-Israel supporters. This is nothing to be proud of. Americans should not let this happen.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  16. Reality

    Again, why the hearings are needed:-

    Some examples of global, koranic/mosque-driven acts of terror and horror continue:

    The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

    ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

    and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

    and more recently

    1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combt roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

    6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

    11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

    15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.
    16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

    17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

    18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

    19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20) two American troops killed in Germany Wednesday by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

    March 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • sameeker

      Well said reality.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • kevin

      That pretty much says it all.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • David

      The terrorist acts you mention were each performed by just one person or small groups, like 4 or 5. You want to condemn millions due to the acts of a few.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Javed

      I think you missed a few .. Like Assassination of Mahatma Gandh (killed by a Hindu Terrorist )i , John F Kennedy , Abraham Lincoln , Yitzak Rabin , Indira Gandhi , Martin Luther King .. killing of 6 million jews , 37 million killed in World War 1 , 60 Million in world war 2 ..the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia of Muslims (wait a minute that does not count ) , pogrom in Russia against minorities including Muslims where many were ethnically cleansed under Stalin

      "It's a hard choice, but we think, it's worth it." – US Secretary of State, Madeline Albright's response2 to a May 11, 1996, 60 Minutes question about the over half a million children killed by the US sanctions on Iraq
      Forget it – this won't count as well ..since the ones killed are Muslims

      March 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • jellymon

      But, but, they keep saying that Islam is the religion of peace. They cannot be wrong can they?
      I'll bring the pulled pork sandwiches to the hearing...anybody going to join me?

      March 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Javed

      @Jellymon : You need to differentiate between politics and religion . There are many people who use religion to hide their own political pursuits ..Just to let you know , during the Russian invasion of Afgahnistan , Quran was being published in Nevada , USA and distributed to "Mujahdeen" exorting them to throw out "Godless" Communists

      March 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  17. irockOK

    Who wants 72 virgin`s anyway, Virgins at clumsy and whine and cry to much when it comes down to bussiness. Give me the 40 something year old woman on her fourth husband with the stretch marks around her lips anyday!

    March 7, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  18. irockOK


    @irockOK – than you also have to target all other radical religious and non-religious groups as there has been a steady increase in all of these as well.You can't just single out one.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    So sorry if it offends you, I just picked the one that is in the news everyday for killing their own people and any one else indiscriminely.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  19. JohnRJ08

    There are +1.5 billion Muslims on the planet. Roughly 1.4 billion just want to live in peace, raise their children and have a decent life. The rest of the world would be foolish not to embrace them because of the fraction who are causing the problem. Targeting all Muslims with hate only serves to provide aid and comfort to those who seek to radicalize young Muslims. We need to stop being stupid and emotional about this issue and use our heads. Too many people commenting here are allowing testosterone to influence their thinking, rather than common sense.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • cadecker

      too late for that...only one option now and that is war...get back to reality

      March 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • sameeker

      Muslims are so fond of pointing out that there are 1.5 billion of them. Take out all of those being forced to live as muslims under the sword and you would have the smallest religion on earth.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • san

      JohnRJ08!! very well said. It's not about Muslims or any other religion. We all together need to teach our kids irrespective of race religion just one thing. "MOTHER AND MOTHERLAND ARE ABOVE HEAVENS"

      March 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Ryan

      Are you educated? The hearing is not targeting ALL muslims. The article states this. The politicans state this. The only people who arent stating this are those that can make some good money off of it......which are the professional protestors!

      The somalian community up here in the Twin Cities has seen at least 40 of their young kids go overseas to become radicalized. They have asked the FBI, CIA, and congress to look into these disappearances.

      Radicalization is real. And engaging in political correctness isnt going to solve anything. Not all muslims are bad.....but why should we not adopt a strategy that allows us to rid the world of radicalism? Do you think Al Queda is going to listen to a White American? Or will they perhaps listen more to someone of their own faith? Take a guess.

      Both liberals and conservatives are just out of their minds on this issue. USE YOUR BRAIN!

      March 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Javed

      May I know under which "sword" Mohammed Ali , Malcom X , Yusuf Estes , Cat Stevens , Yvonne Ridley , Michael Wolfe embraced Islam

      And say: "Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish." [Qur'an 17:81]

      March 7, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • sameeker

      javed – Read what I wrote and think a little. I can dumb it down for you if you need me to.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Kraznodar

      If we really want to fight extremism then Pat Robertson has to die. The commentators on MSNBC and Fox News have to die. Rush Limbaugh and any other extremist needs to be rooted out and exterminated.

      I find it funny that a country founded by terrorists (yes, learn the history of the USA and how England reacted to the atrocities the colonists committed) is now so desperate to be the monolithic oppressor actively crushing those underdogs that resist our empire.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  20. sameeker

    No hearings. Just do like we did in the cold war. Target Mecca and the Middle East countries ti our ICBMs and let it be known that we will launch during the next terrorist attack. It kept us out of war with the USSR for 50years. The kings and clerics will think twice about ordering or financing an attack if they know that they themselves will cease to exist 30 min later.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Darth Vadik, CA

      Not too bright are we??? Just point ICBM's at the whole middle east because a few of them who are looking forward to die as martyrs will suddenly back off. And the other 99.999% of Muslims, well they are just collateral damage...

      This goes to show why a Republican must never ever be in charge, not that 8 years of Bush taught you crazies anything...

      March 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Boheme

      It always cracks me up when someone whose foreign exposure extend only to the nerest shopping mall comes up with a solution...

      March 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • sameeker

      OPEN YOUR EYES! Saudi Arabia has given us terrorist and funding for decades. We were willing to kill millions of Russians because of the actions of a few elite leaders. How is that different. By the way, I am a democrat. You sound like a repug, kissing up to Saudi Arabia.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • kumar70

      I agree. Muslim invaders did the same in south asia by destroying the hindu and buddhist temples and statues. They forcibly converted 1/3rd of the population to Islam.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • sameeker

      Death Valley and Boheme – sleeper cell muzzies.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Shasta

      @Darth Vadik I agree with you but I don't know why you have to bring political parties into this. I'm an independent and hate it when people on either side make statements you like just made about Republicans. It's just divisive and keeps the animosity going. Great work if that's your intention.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • stormsun

      This is not about Republicans and Democrats. It is about Americans. In case you have forgotten, Lyndon Johnson got us into Vietnam up to our eyeballs, and Richard Nixon (not my personal favorite) got us out. Ronald Reagan successfully brought an end to the Cold War, favorable to the U.S. and, unquestionably, to the whole world. He was a Republican. But that isn't the point. We have to have goals and strategies that transcend the endless partisan rhetoric. We have to put our interests as a society ahead of the party's (either one) campaign strategy. I disagree with the idea of pointing nukes at Middle East countries and threatening whole nations for the acts of terrorists. But it is perfectly legitimate to be concerned with the acts of terrorists on U.S. soil, and to use profiling as a tool to identify potential threats to our security. I also think it is very telling that Muslims turn out in droves to protest these hearings, but have been very quiet collectively about the atrocities and outrages commited by their extremist bretheran in their sol-called 'holy war.'

      March 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Commandrea

      stormsun: Reagan didn't bring an end to the cold war. The Afghan mujahideen did!

      March 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Turning Texas Blue

      @ Shasta: Sorry. But, sameeker's comment sounds like typical Teabag/Republican/Right wing rhetoric. It just does. You read these posts often enough, and you begin to recognize it...

      March 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
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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.