A grassroots coalition of groups opposing the Cordoba House Islamic center and mosque’s placement at Ground Zero will protest its construction Sunday at 11:00 a.m. in front of the Park 51 site, on the northeast corner of West Broadway.
Beth Gilinsky, an organizer for The Coalition to Honor Ground Zero and founder of the Jewish Action Alliance, is coordinating the rally. Gilinsky told The Daily Caller that the movement has come together so quickly, organically, and with such enthusiasm that she can hardly keep all the groups and people who are participating straight.
The protest is meant as an expression of the displeasure and frustration the American people feel toward the project. “We want the Cordoba mega-mosque at Ground Zero to be moved from that location, not because it is a mosque, but because of the affiliations of the people involved and the questions surrounding the mosque’s funding,” Gilinsky told TheDC. “Not to mention it is insensitive and we believe it is being put there as a triumphal symbol. That in and of itself is concerning…There are some very troubling questions about this entire project.”
With a long list of groups and people planning to join in, Gilinsky is expecting a large crowd: “It’s going to be a great event. We are going to have construction workers, first responders, 9/11 families, motorcyclist, all kinds of people. I think it will be a strong turn out, people are very worried and upset about this issue. ”
Among the long list of expected group participants, which can be seen at the Stop The 911 Mosque website, are 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America, The Bravest, Blue Collar Corner, Women United International, Stop Shariah Now, ACT! For America, Congress on Racial Equality, Alliance for Interfaith Resistance, Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam, The Peace through Strength Institute, Free the First Amendment Committee, Veterans United to Save America, and Christians and Jews United for Israel.
Debra Burlingame, the sister of Charles Burlingame III (the pilot of the hijacked American Airlines flight flown into the Pentagon on 9/11) and co-founder of Keep America Safe, will be speaking at Sunday’s rally. Burlingame told TheDC the mosque has really struck a nerve. “Ordinary Americans who experienced 9/11, who haven’t forgotten what happened that day and understand that the country is at war with extremists who are trying to hurt this country and bring Sharia law to our land,” she said. “They understand that Ground Zero is a battleground”
She questions the instigating Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf’s, motives. “This Imam actually said, ‘we want to own 9/11, we are going to use that site to turn the narrative around.’ He wasn’t talking about peace, he was talking about ownership and territory,” she said. “We know he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose objective is to take America down from within — infiltrate their institutions, government, military, media, education, cultural institutions and bring Sharia to America from within.”
Ted Sjurseth, co-founder and president of America’s 911 Foundation — a group of motorcyclists who ride for and fund a college scholarship program for children of active first responders– is leading a group of over 1,000 motorcyclists to visit and commemorate each 9/11 crash site this weekend. The group will finish their journey by participating in the rally Sunday morning.
“The ride raises money for active duty EMTs, police, and firefighters, that’s what we do,” Sjurseth told TheDC. “The protest has been organized by other people, but we are participating because the foundation disagrees with building a mosque within sight of the World Trade Center.”
He continued by saying that the mere prospect of the Ground Zero mosque is insulting. “I think it is a stick in the American people’s eye and they’re just twisting it to see how much we’ll take. If they have sympathy, then they would be building it somewhere else.”
“These groups and people come out every year on 9/11 to honor and pay respect to the site, but this time we are coming out with an added purpose, to demonstrate that, ‘no, no, no, we are not going to cede this hallowed ground to people who want to take the country down,’” Burlingame said. “And if our leaders in Washington don’t get that, the people that they are supposed to serve certainly do.”
According to Gilinsky, some of the confirmed speakers at the rally include Tim Brown (a 9/11 firefighter), Debra Burlingame, Dr. Herbert London (president of Hudson Institute and a neighborhood resident), Simon Deng (former Sudanese slave and human rights activist), Roy Innis (chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality), and James Lafferty (chairman of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force).