Rival rallies over Islamic centre mark 9/11

Saturday, September 11, 2010

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - As America observed the ninth anniversary of the Sep 11, 2001 terror attacks that shook the world, thousands of rowdy protestors held rallies in Lower Manhattan for and against a proposed controversial Islamic centre near Ground Zero.

Both sides drew large, boisterous crowds with about 3,000 pro-mosque demonstrators marching from City Hall to the Federal Building Saturday and 2,500 anti-mosque protestors rallying near the controversial Park Place site of the proposed Islamic Centre.

No arrests have been reported, though things got heated when several college kids agitated a group of anti-mosque demonstrators, according to New York Post.

Anti-mosque rally leader Pam Geller opened the demonstration with a moment of silence - but it was loud and rowdy from there on, the daily said.

A trumpet player played TAPS, the crowd sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” waved American flags and chanted U-S-A.

In another earlier display, a solitary, wild card protestor walked up to the intersection of Murray and Church streets and started tearing out the pages of a green Koran he was holding, eventually burning a few of the pages, the Post said.

The man said nothing as he was escorted to safety by the police and left the scene via the Path Train. He later told The Post his protest was about freedom of speech.

“People have the right to build that mosque,” the bizarrely calm man said, refusing to identify himself. “They own that property. I wanted to show that I have the right to free speech. Rights are a two way street.”

The display was apparently prompted by Florida Pastor Terry Jones’ aborted plan to burn the Quran

In Washington, a handful of protestors walked across the street to the White House and tore some pages from a Quran to denounce what they called the “charade of Islam” on the anniversary of 9/11.

“Part of why we’re doing that, please hear me: the charade that Islam is a peaceful religion must end,” said Randall Terry, a leading anti-abortion campaigner.

Another activist, Andrew Beacham, read out a few Quran passages calling for hatred towards Christians and Jews, and then ripped those pages from an English paperback edition of the Quran.

“We are exercising our freedom of speech and we will not live in fear of Islam. There’s only one religion and it’s Christianity,” he said.

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