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. SpreadJustice

    Peter King a.k.a modern day wannabe Hitler is the new leader of the bigots and racist people of this country. This pig looking human will do nothing with his position but create a bad name for nyc and his own sorry self.

    March 7, 2011 at 12:02 am |
  2. wtcmedic911

    As long as this religion is killing or attempting to kill those that do not believe or follow their ways it needs to be kept under observation.

    March 6, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  3. Gorilla

    I bet it smelled pretty badly over there.

    March 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  4. Iqbal Khan

    What the congress and senate should do is to solve the real problems of this country instead wasting time in....such as...

    .Cost of War in Iraq & Afghanistan

    March 6, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  5. sherri

    There is a big difference between tolerance and stupidity. When it comes to Muslims and Islam, too many people just don't get it. And I'm afraid until that happens, another 9/11 will happen...on a much larger scale.We gotta start doing a better job watching these people.

    March 6, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  6. Yeaux

    Haven't seen the Muslim protest against their "radicalized" ilk? Where's the outrage at killing those that leave Islam or insult Mo? Where's the outrage at the deafening silence of the so-called moderates?

    March 6, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
  7. Iqbal Khan


    March 6, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  8. Stopoil1


    March 6, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
  9. Iqbal Khan


    March 6, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  10. Chris

    I could care less what the muslims think about the hearings. Grow some balls and get over it. You live here, you follow our rules and deal with it. Islam must reform or perish as a way of life for it is dangerous and divisive as is every other religion including Christianity as i might add.

    March 6, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • JLO

      Amen Chris. Thank you!

      March 6, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  11. Iqbal Khan

    And watch all 5 parts..


    March 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  12. Iqbal Khan

    Peter King is an ego meniac and know nothing about Islam more over he should re-investigate and find who was really behind
    9-11, to start he should check the following link...
    and also see on youtube what Alan Sabrosky is saying, as well as who was Dov Zakhiem and missing Trillions

    March 6, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  13. Robert

    So all these peaceful muslims will turn into radicalized muslims because of some hearings that have no hope of uncovering anything? Must not be a long distance between being a peaceful and radical muslim, if that is all it takes.

    March 6, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Cindy

      All it took was 19 terrorists to turn you against some of your own fellow citizens.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Robert


      Muslims have been pushing their Islamic Supremest ideas and killing non-Muslims for over 1400 years.

      March 7, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  14. 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 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Javed

      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

      All along – i was thinking that it was F16 and B52 bombers that were dropping bombs .My bad – didn't realize it was Iraqis who were actually flying those B52 bombers and dropping them for fun 🙂

      The stuff that you have copied and pasted is a joke really

      March 6, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • JLO

      Yep, criticize people with numbers and facts...... carpet bomb them. They wouldnt even hesitate to kill us, but lets be nice and try to make friends with them so we all sleep better the night they take us out of beds and lead us to their video taping of our beheading..... you're an idiot.

      March 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • GV


      Ridiculous comeback. Even if those numbers you put up were to be taken at face value, it still doesn't compare to Islam's historic record.

      March 7, 2011 at 4:23 am |
  15. Richard B.

    I rather skin out a pig and wrap a pagon muslium in the skin of a pig.Because they beheaded a dear friend of mine,his name was Jack Armstrong.

    March 6, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • JLO

      My condolances..... They blew up my best friend. His name was James. The best man I have ever known.

      March 6, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Dave Dawson

      I understand your anger but its that is the chain that needs to be broken.. Your dear friend Mr Armstrong clearly never deserved that fate but niether did the thousands slaughtered in the Christian crusades.. A true educated man of faith would never take another life short of self defense in my opinion and I have learned that there is evil in ALL faiths.. I am so sorry for your loss but hate the killer and his misguided and sick twisted view of his beliefs, not the faith itself.. It is only then we can finally find peace..

      March 6, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • JLO

      The crusades were over a thousand years ago, suffered by people who have long since died. Stop using this for a reason to kill.

      March 6, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Javed

      Sorry to learn about your friend .Biggest sufferers of hate mongerer and Global Imperialism are ordinary people

      To put it in perspective :

      "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.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  16. Stopoil1

    Al Qeda, Hamas, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hezbollah.... is proof of the threat of Islam, it is not a religion of peace. America's freedom was secured by others and not our to throw away. Moderate Muslims are very vocal to protect Islamic rights but very silent about the radical actions of Muslims and Shariah law. America has the obligation to stand up to Islam.

    March 6, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Wolffie

      Most folks do not understand Islam for what it is. It is a militant religion and an entire way of life. The Muslims who say they are moderate are creating an oxymoron. Moderation is not allowed in Islam. The Qur'an does not provide for moderation nor do the hadiths or the suras. There is no such thing as moderate Islam. That is why those who claim to be Muslim but are lax in their beliefs do not protest the violence that Islam invites. To do so they would admit to being against Islam and that is apostacy and is punishable by death as so directed in the teachings of Mohammed. Don't let anyone fool you, especially the Muslim apologists....they make nice because they are accepting of Islam because they do not read about it on their own and they only know what they are told. They do not understand the militant nature of Mohammad's words...all Islamic countries are Dar al Islam..House of Islam. All non-Islamic countries are considered Dar al Harb...House of War. It is in Islam's very foundation to convert all to the house of Islam. From the disabled Muslimah Mona Ramouni who would not accept a guide dog because dogs are unclean and changed municipal code in her city (Dearborn) and was allowed to have a guide pony (in a place of business and on public transportation) because that is acceptable. This is a subtle example and one that must not be ignored. Read the Islamization of Paris by Dale Hurd, anything by Ayaan Hirsi Ali...know what is inside Islam and the beliefs that drive the motivation.

      March 6, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Javed

      " ... If anyone slew a person unless it is for murder or for spreading mischief in the land it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole humanity." The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 5, Verse 32

      The first caliph of Islam, Abu Bakr is reported to have commanded about the rules for war:

      "I command you to do ten things: you must not kill a woman or a child, or an elderly person; do not cut down trees, or vandalize homes, or wound a sheep or camel except if you must eat it; do not drown a palm tree, or burn it, do not be treacherous; do not be cowardly; and you will pass by people who have devoted themselves to monastery life: leave them alone with their devotions." (Book Tarikh At-Tabari, V.3, p.210)

      "And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you. But do not transgress the limits. Truly Allah loves not the transgressors" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verse 190.

      "Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion, nor drove you out of your homes. Indeed, Allah loves those who deal with equity" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 60, Verse 8.

      James Michener in ‘Islam: The Misunderstood Religion,’ Reader’s Digest, May 1955, pp. 68-70.

      "No other religion in history spread so rapidly as Islam. The West has widely believed that this surge of religion was made possible by the sword. But no modern scholar accepts this idea, and the Qur’an is explicit in the support of the freedom of conscience."
      “Like almost every major prophet before him, Muhammad fought shy of serving as the transmitter of God’s word sensing his own inadequacy. But the Angel commanded ‘Read’. So far as we know, Muhammad was unable to read or write, but he began to dictate those inspired words which would soon revolutionize a large segment of the earth: "There is one God"."

      “In all things Muhammad was profoundly practical. When his beloved son Ibrahim died, an eclipse occurred and rumors of God 's personal condolence quickly arose. Whereupon Muhammad is said to have announced, ‘An eclipse is a phenomenon of nature. It is foolish to attribute such things to the death or birth of a human being'."

      “At Muhammad's own death an attempt was made to deify him, but the man who was to become his administrative successor killed the hysteria with one of the noblest speeches in religious history: ‘If there are any among you who worshiped Muhammad, he is dead. But if it is God you Worshiped, He lives for ever'.”

      March 7, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  17. geckopelli

    One question: martyrs or muderers?

    When their leaders answer that, we Americans can move ahead.

    It's that simple.

    March 6, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  18. Dave Dawson

    Dont panic people but the war on terror IS being won.. not with bombs and violence but with education and the internet. The more people learn about what the REAL world is about, the less radicalism will exist.. Lest we forget us poor christians were terrorists to many an innocent peoples many centuries ago in the name of Christ. Now the uneducated extremists kill in the name of their prophet.. The wave is changing people and despite the news, the future is bright. As a white christian Canadian man I have never been greeted with hostility from a true muslim as we are an educated society. The USA is no differrent, Just larger.. What we are seeing in the news is no different than the youth movement of the 60's when the youth said enough is enough.. The relics of hatred in the small percentage of the Muslim faith will rapidly become as extinct as the dinosaurs. Just my 2 cents.. Canadian funds 🙂

    March 6, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  19. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    What is really going here? King has ambitions for the Senate in 2012, that's what. I mean, there is absolutely no good reason to do these hearings – they have no real hope of uncovering much of anything. The vast majority of the very few Islamic terror-related incidents were perpetrated by non-Americans. The number of internal Muslims actively becoming involved terror activities is incredibly tiny, and generally they are lone wolves or in very small groups unconnected to any larger organization.

    King is using the rubes to advance his own career. He has no hope of finding anything, but the hearings themselves cannot help but intimidate and radicalize Muslims. This has been the constant tactic of the right recently – get their followers into an absolute rage with wild exaggerations and outright falsehoods (like death panels and weapons of mass destruction), and they will do whatever they are told. This stuff makes millionaires out of Limbaugh and Beck and Palin, and now King.

    Get your money ready, you King supporters! Lucrative book deals and speaking tours soon to follow.

    March 6, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Peter

      @Bluengreene... You are one who fears to act fearing that things could get worse and more Muslims would be radicalized. This is exactly what every radical Muslim tries to achieve by threats. It was Feisal Abdul Rauf who also uttered the same threat when he said that if he backs-off from his peaceful plan to build the mosque close to the 9/11 site, America will witness an increase in terrorism.
      This is the right time for the US to start tackling this problem as this is getting out of control. Nations in Europe and elsewhere have already started to do so before it is too late for them. America should thank Feisal Abdul Rauf for triggering this conscientiousness in us as it could prove to un-radicalize these terrorists. In the long run some good may come out of this and some Muslim-American Pakistani could reveal where they have hidden their friend Bin Ladin.

      March 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  20. InEarnest

    It sounds like a form of McCarthyism from the 50's. Then it was Communism and now it's the Muslim community most of whom ARE Americans.

    March 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Jon

      Well Put. King is making Long Island and the US look bad.

      March 6, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Granite Sentry

      The thing the Left always forgets to mention when it starts throwing the charge of McCarthyism around is that there really were communist spies at work in America. Alger Hiss? The Rosenburgs? http://www.granitesentry.com

      March 6, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Aaron

      The crowd in the picture looks radicalized already.

      March 6, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Cindy

      Some people on this forum sound radicalized too. Peter King's radicalized mob of haters.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Javed

      @ Aaron : Yes they are dressed like Mary – the mother of Christ PBUH .Go and take a look at Roman Catholic Nuns ..

      March 7, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Peter

      I don't see their men folk in the picture. Where are they? Are some of them hiding in Burkas?
      In practicall all demonstrations you see women in the majority.

      March 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
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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.