Sunday, September 12, 2010

Protest & March to Support Islamic Cultural Center

At the invitation of Miriam R., one of my former fiction students, I joined her and a friend of hers at the rally, at City Hall Park yesterday, on behalf of the Park 51 Islamic Cultural Center, which originally had merited little commentary or negative reponses, until blogger Pamela Geller, disgraced former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, fanatical talkshow host Sean Hannity, and others demagogued the issue, mischaracterizing both the center (which is not a mosque, or masjid) and its location (not at Ground Zero, the former World Trade Center site, under which I passed at least 2-3 days every week this summer on my way to the 4, 5 or 6 trains and thus the New York Public Library's Research Branch at Bryant Park, but two blocks away on Park Place), thereby provoking a racist, anti-Muslim furor that has not yet fully waned. Believing strongly in the principles of religious freedom, free speech, and separation of church and state, I decided to commemorate 9/11 by attending the rally, which was only a block north of the memorial for the victims but several blocks away from the anti-Islamic Center protests, and am posting a few of the photos from it and from my post-rally gambol around the area with Miriam below.

The Park 51 site
A 9/11 truther, just outside Ground Zero
At the rally, before the march
A veteran, supporting the Islamic Cultural Center
People raising placards and signs as an anti-Islamic van drove by
A reporter waiting to deliver her remarks
Reporters from a Japanese news crew
Fashion-forward photog
A fashion-forward photographer
Young man being told by cops he must take a different route
The media
Gathering on the State Court House steps
Some people after the march, gathering on the State Court House steps, at Foley Square
A friendly young Christianist we encountered after the march
Anti-Islamic Center protesters
A Christianist with hateful sign

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