A time to learn “Scott Pelley interviews them all--the developer, the Imam, and the blogger, now all big names in what has become a national debate.”
On the back of the cover of the DVD I’d purchased from 60 Minutes, The People Behind The Mosque, I’d read that synopsis and the air date, 9/26/10. Almost a year later, I was showing the DVD to my class at our Community College. Following it would be Pamela Geller’s response (along with Robert Spencer), her DVD, 9/11, The Second Wave.
In the year since The People Behind The Mosque had been aired on national TV, Geller and Spencer had become media targets. They were blamed for inflammatory right wing sentiments that had wrought murderous havoc. Their blogs, Atlas Shrugs (Geller) and JihadWatch (Spencer) had been attacked for tarnishing America’s image as a tolerant nation that protected freedom of religion. In addition, they were openly in opposition to Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama, two of many who favored construction of the Ground Zero mosque.
Although I’d heard both the President and the Mayor tell their constituents that building the Ground Zero Mosque had to do with religious freedom and tolerance, I’d found fault with their arguments. Where was the reciprocity? Why were there no churches in most Islamic countries? Why were there no Jews and so few other religious minorities in those Muslim countries that sponsored mosques in America? And why were non Muslims treated so poorly?
Scott Pelley left many questions unanswered. Nonetheless, his documentary did reveal that the developer of the mosque had help; most of the money for the building had come from a rich Egyptian now in America. What he didn’t say was that the same developer turned down Donald Trump’s offer to buy the property at a much higher price than was paid.
Spencer noted that the Ground Zero mosque (originally called the Cordoba House, see Cordoba House mosque near Ground Zero slaps new name on ...
The Cordoba House is now Park51.Developers behind the controversial 13-story Islamic community center and prayer space near Ground Zero announced Tuesday a ...
articles.nydailynews.com/.../local/...space-cordoba-house) is another “triumphal mosque,” one among more than a thousand that are meant to attest to Islam’s supremacy over all other religions as did the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount.
My students paid rapt attention to both documentaries. Just two weeks before, the same class had answered a diagnostic quiz that included the question, “What do you know about Islam?” Not one claimed to know anything at all. Suddenly, they were curious, desirous of knowing more. Eight of them wrote responses that I promised to send to Geller. Only one supported the mosque.
Six remained after the class ended emotionally. One of my students, usually quiet and attentive, answered my call for comments just before the class ended.
“9/11 is why we left New York,” she said, obviously distressed. I stood closer to her, hoping my presence would lend support to her as she struggled to continue. “The smell was terrible, terrible,” she said. She’d started to cry. “We used to have such a diverse neighborhood, Christians, Jews, Muslims. We got along. Then 9/11 happened. We had to leave.”
For a moment, I stood beside her. When I returned to my desk, I told the class, while looking at her, that those stories must be told. She nodded her agreement. I told everyone that I’d see them next week.
That’s when I pointed to my computer to show the remaining students a message they’ll never forget. Before my class had begun, I had e-mailed Geller and Spencer that I would be airing the Second Wave video in my class that morning. Pamela Geller had responded. Along with me, my students read her message. Some cheered. One of them handed me her two sentence reply to the documentary. It stated, “Your blog [Atlas Shrugs] has opened the eyes of so many. Thank goodness they can’t shut you up.”
Pam’s message follows.
Friday, September 16, 2011 10:09 AM
You are amazing. Your work is so important as the leftist/Islamic inculcation of American young minds in our universities is overwhelming. Thank you.
Yours in liberty,
Editor, Publisher Atlas Shrugs
Executive Director, AFDI/SIOA
- Koplen 9/20/11